Have parents succumbed to the same pressure as schools—to push students to get good grades and test scores at all costs? A Time magazine editorial suggests that while more and more parents are paying kids for good grades, they may want to think twice before pulling out their wallets.

Fundamentally, writer Suzanna De Baca asserts, paying for good grades may send the wrong message: that doing well in school is all about financial gain, and not about the learning process. Instead, she suggests, parents need to instill a love of learning in their children, as well as the idea that working hard and applying themselves in school is their responsibility.

De Baca also reveals other potential traps of paying kids for good grades: Do you keep paying once a struggling student has improved his performance? If you pay your daughter to improve her grades, do you also pay her older brother, who always gets straight As, without the lure of a cash payout?

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The author asserts that paying kids for good grades, for chores, or for picking up their dirty clothes from the floor sends a message that these behaviors are optional, and teaches them to “anticipate payment or recognition for doing what is expected”.

Instead, she suggests, reward good grades at report-card time, or at the end of the school year with a shopping spree, a trip to the amusement park or another favorite activity. And don’t forget regular praise for good effort and performance, starting from a young age. That praise and recognition will have greater long term value for your kids than any cash reward you can offer.

Read more at Time Healthland.