TODAY

TODAY   |  April 17, 2013

How to reward your kids for good behavior

Stacy Kaiser, host of true-crime series “Fatal Vows,” and family therapist Argie Allen discuss when it’s appropriate to use a reward system for your kids, and explain why giving them tangible rewards isn’t always best.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> in today's moms, it's something most of us have resorted to at some point or another, promising some kind of reward to motivate your kids to clean that you are rooms or do better in school.

>> whether it's candy or money or a trip to the movies, some rewards teach good behavior while others could be harmful in the long run. here to sort it all out is stacy kaiser, host of "fatal" -- since when?

>> r.g. is here, a family therapist . good to see you again.

>> you're very busy.

>> i love to hang out with you guys.

>> i think parents wants to take the path of least resistance . they know the way to get it done is if you put a carroll in front of your child, boom, less conflict.

>> you're slightly right, but that carrot teaches them to taste the carrot, basically.

>> and they know how to take advantage of the situation, too, with one parent against the other, don't they?

>> yes, and that splitting behavior, that doesn't really work. at the end of the day , you're not teaching them responsibility, you're teaching them entitlement.

>> that's the question, isn't it? do we reward them for what is expected or reward them for going beyond what is expected?

>> i expected my kids to do their homework, brush their teeth. that kind of stuff. when is a reward the right thing?

>> when it's a celebration. it isn't to incentivize you or bribe you, but to celebrate what you're doing. you got the big report card and then the big celebration. we're going to do a special movie or family night, because you worked so hard.

>> what's wrong with giving the child $5 per "a."

>> i don't agree with that. to a certainly degree, it's like -- it's what they're supposed to. it's what's expected of them. but money is not the only form of commerce. there are other ways to incentivize. they can have sleepovers, earn credit, hang out with the friends, lots of things the kids want, saying let's celebrate you doing a great job without giving you money?

>> i think praise is the best thing. who doesn't want to be told like you worked hard, it's smart, it makes them grow up with a sense of character and confidence way better than an ipad will.

>> kids sound like stickers, so you give them a sticker and they feel like they have gotten a prize.

>> like the happy face, or my attitudi fruit -- tuttifruittis that i got? nothing wrong there.

>> how about the fact we've become a nation that wants to treat everybody exactly the same?

>> i don't like that. first of all, we're all different. we need to celebrate our uniqueness. if you tell someone you're a winner they they may not work as hard.

>> i think you have to focus on the individuality of each child. you shouldn't compare to the other sibling. when you're saying that susy did better than you, that won't work well for your child.

>> absolutely graciously, too. and thanks, ladies, a lot of wisdom