What are your thoughts on rewards? Do you give your kids a reward after they did a good deed or good job? Here are some tips from the book, Home Improvement, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.
We’re often asked the question, “Should I reward my child for a good behavior or should I just expect it to be done?” Sometimes parents are hesitant to give rewards. They feel that rewards teach children to obey for the wrong reasons.
A reward is best used as a motivation to jump-start a new action or behavior and to get the ball rolling in the right direction. The real issue, however, has to do with the difference between internal and external motivation. Internal motivations are those desires to do what’s right. Your son may want to be clean or neat or to serve because it feels good or it just feels right.
When children experience positive internal motivation for achieving or accomplishing something, it often makes them want to try even harder. Those are internal drives or motivation. We all wish our children had more of this.
External motivations come from the outside. All the rewards and consequences you use in discipline are external motivations. External motivations include praise, getting paid, or having a treat; or paying for a broken window, missing a privilege, or seeing disappointment in a parent’s eyes.
External motivations are helpful if they build internal motivation. So even though we may give a star or check mark to a child, we want to talk about character and heart change. “Since you cleaned your room you get a star on the chart. It feels good to have a clean room, doesn’t it?” Or for an older child, “I can tell you’ve been working on being responsible with your homework this month. I can see that you even are feeling better about getting assignments turned in on time. Today I’ll let you watch a movie, but the real reward is what you feel in your heart. You’re becoming responsible”
You may use an external motivation to get over a hump, but at the same time, talk about the character that you see is developing. After all, that’s how God deals with us. The scriptures promise rewards to those who earn them, but the greatest reward that we could ever receive from God is the internal satisfaction that we’re pleasing him.