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Incentives for Good Grades

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: Which is correct: Insist on a grade of A or B or privileges will be withdrawn or ask that the student does his best indicating that an A or B will result? My child is in middle school.

A: I would not recommend either approach - punishment or requiring certain grades will not result in his doing his best. Punishments and rewards have no place in encouraging a child's learning and education (read Punished by Rewards, by Alfie Kohn for an insightful discussion on this topic as it applies to all child- rearing practices). In addition, you cannot guarantee that a child's "best" will result in the attainment of certain honor grades.

Valuing education in your family, being actively involved in your child's education, and creating realistic expectations for his academic efforts and success are cornerstones for a worthwhile educational experience. Encouraging your child to expect the best from himself and honoring all genuine efforts will go a long way toward having him establish high standards for himself.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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