Friday, 30 May 2008


This morning I was driving to work and listening to the Morning Express on radio and they were discussing a rather interesting topic, Rewards for kids. They were trying to gather feedbacks from their listeners on whether or not they think it is a good idea to offer physical rewards to their kids. There were of course a whole load of feedbacks from the general public.

Most if not all are in favour of rewarding their kids but while there are some that prefer to offer only non-physical rewards such as love, more attention and time as well as encouragement, others are perfectly fine with a new pair of trainers, an ipod or even cash.

This certainly brought back memories because my mum would offer us gifts should we do well (actually more like okay in my case) in school and if I recall correctly even my Aunt would offer cash. This was certainly an extra bit of motivation to study that much harder for my exams but looking back now I am not sure if I want Isaac to study for the sake of a new game console (ok bad example since he will not have to as I will most probably be buying it for myself anyway) or should he study for his own future and benefits?

A listener added that the good grades obtained from the child’s own effort should be a reward in itself hence they normally celebrate it as a family and no physical gift is handed to this child. FD (host of Morning Express) then asked for his own benefit if this child gets a sense of jealousy when he sees that his classmates are getting new toys for their effort while he did not and in some cases he may actually do better than those that did received some form of physical rewards. I did not get to hear the listener’s response as I had arrived work already. This is an interesting point too and as FD pointed out he just wanted to learn for himself who this parent will tackle the jealousy issue.

Maybe it is due to Isaac’s age now because my first thought was not on his jealousy of his classmates but more on whether or not he will understand that obtaining good grades is for his own good and future and it does absolutely nothing for us (ok, not quite accurate there as we parents do get bragging rights). Will a primary school kid really understand the magnitude of having a good education? I know I certainly did not. Not that I don’t understand that good education equates to good job and ultimately better pay but I don’t think I fully understood the difference in pay and lifestyle between a CEO and say a Manager or Supervisor. Not at that young age anyway.

However I have always heard that children these days are all much smarter than we ever were so who knows maybe Isaac will hunger for education for his own benefit after all.

Another listener said that he will actually offer rewards for his son for doing the right thing and not caving in to peer pressure and also for standing up to the bully as opposed to achieving good grades. He feels very strongly that it is more important for his boy to develop good character rather than just academic results.

Funny thing is the Mrs and I had talked about what schools to send him to but we have not touched on matters such as this. Right now I am actually on the fence on whether or not it is a good idea to offer physical rewards. I guess I do not see the harm if it is saved for the odd occasion otherwise it will lose its meaning.

I do agree that to allocate more time with the children is a much better reward but it is only when they're young. I know the Mrs would like to stick to Sunday being a family day but being a realist I have a strong feeling the kids will want to go out and have their own fun when they're older.

Based on what I heard these days the children are really groomed to be more of an all rounder so does this mean that we may have to reward them for their achievement in sports as well?

I wonder how long can we offer ice cream and sweets as rewards.


Mommy Lose Weight said...

Hi, chance upon ur blog.
Agree with u just how long can we offer sweets & rewards to our children ... so right now, we shld enjoy the process of parenting! hehe! :)

beanienus said...

Gor, you forgot to mention about the cash reward that ah yee used to give us when we do well in exams. I remember it was something like $100 which was a lot those days! Dun you worry, this gu gu here, will not deploy the same tactic towards Isaac. LOL

Interestingly, I actually did ponder over this a few weeks ago and the next thing I knew, I heard it on the radio. I have yet to think of any creative way to handle this man...

missmoon said...

hi there!
like you, i'm a fence sitter on this one. it's not a necessarily a bad thing to give physical reward, once in a while, i think. hah.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi there Ling,

Thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment. I will be reading up on your blog too.

I am currently really enjoying parenting but that is probably due to Isaac's age, only 5+ months. Ha ha ha

A Husband's Voice said...

Actually Sis, I did not forget about the cash rewards offered by her. I did mention it on my post except I said if I recall correctly she did give us.

As I do not believe that this practice is entirely bad, you are more than welcome to reward Isaac with money but we will put it in his savings account for his future.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Cynthia,

I believe most of us will reward our children with gifts at one time or other. I know for sure I would.

Anonymous said...


I'm really enjoying parenting at this stage too . . .my daughter is 4 mths old only. Sounds silly but sometimes I wish she'll always stay at this stage keke....less things to worry about ...hmm....

btw, she didnt win the Voter's pic (did u vote for her anot??) but she won the Editor's pic :)

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi bebe,

Congratulations for winning the Editor's Pick!!!

Of course I voted but you did not make it easy for me by telling me that you enrolled her in the Baby category when she was actually in the Newborn category. Hee Hee

Anyway since Isaac won everyone who voted has been asking me what did we win and my standard answer to their astonishment is Bragging Rights only! LOL

Be prepared to be faced with the same questions!

Trina said...

In case you think verbal praise is fine (as opposed to physical gifts), there was an article previously on "praise junkies", referring to kids who crave for praise, and work (or study) for the sake of receiving praise.. :p I suppose there's no end to the fine line parents should thread, but i think at the end of the day, do not reward for the end result (scores, grades), but for the effort the kid has put in. For if he has tried his best, it'll be worth celebrating. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Dylan,

I rem my mum telling us that studying is for our own good & our responsibility. Hence, rewards were non existent. Even if we do well, we do not receive much praises too, for fear that we might be too proud of ourselves.

I guess there's no standard way of handling such stuffs. If a child is over confident, then my mum's mthd may help to mellow him/her down. If a child lacks confidence, then rewards in any form may be good.

For me, I prefer to be generous in giving verbal rewards to reinforce good behaviour/deeds. Simple wrds like "good Job" "Well done" can mean a lot to my kids - currently. Future? dunno yet.. shall take a step at a time...hehe...

Anonymous said...


oops sorry. she was "downgraded" to newborn category altho I sign her up for baby category . . . and nvr inform u in case u think im trying to pull votes on your blog. haha. :P

yah, i know wat u mean, I have pple coming to me with "Congrats! So wat did u win?" Hahaha!

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Trina,

I totally agree with you on rewarding them for their effort but I will also reward them for achieving a certain result.

While effort is important I would like to cultivate that result is also important. Guess what I'm looking for is improvement as well.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Nana,

Yeah, a lot depends on the child's character. Whether they're over confident or lack in self esteem.

I think I can safely say that I will be giving praises to Isaac when he does something right but I have not decided on the material stuffs yet. There will probably be the odd present here and there, now and then I guess.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Bebe,

you shouldn't have to worry about informing me on my blog.

Anyway I'm glad Amanda won and trust me depending on how many people you got to vote, you will be asked many times on what you won! Hahaha

missmoon said...

oh, yes, definitely, at some point, there will be rewards. but how often and to what "value" the gift bears, is another debate altogether.

F A I T H said...

"Reward" is indeed a very difficult issue to tackle. I asked my hubby last night (after reading your blog) if he received any reward at all during his younger days when he did well in school, and his answer was NO. My parents did not practise "rewards" as well because it is our "job" to study hard while daddy bring home the bacon. And we all did well at the end of the day, so I do hope this "culture" continue to run in the family. :)

But the part on "jealousy" must be handled with care. We have to be careful not to let our kids fall into the trap of judging a person's worth (including themselves) by his/her material possessions. This is easier said than done but its good to start thinking about it and educating your kids from now, however young they may be. In fact, I think involving kids in community work is a good way to expose them to life expereiences, shaping their character and teaching them about values,etc.

Oops! Guess I got carried away. Sorry... Just my 2 cents worth. :)

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Cynthia,

Ya, besides the reward another thing to ponder over will be the value of the gift.

I have no doubt it will not be an expensive gift and it will definitely have to be appropriate for their age.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Monozygotic Mom,

Interesting thought on exposing them to community work to the children to let them appreciate how lucky they are.

I definitely appreciate your comment and do not think for a moment you got carried away.