Punished by Rewards

Do you think children end up being "punished by rewards"?

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Sep 29, 2011
Are Children Punished by Rewards
by: Laura Ramirez

I'm guessing that your question comes from Alfie Kohn's book, Punished by Rewards where he discusses the value of intrinsic motivation over external motivation. Kids who are motivated from within have an internal drive that is not dependent on acknowledgement from others or external rewards. These kids learn for learning's sake ... for the joy of participating in the process. Contrast this with kids who get paid to get A's on their report card. The belief is that external rewards can extinguish internal motivation.

While I do believe that it is possible for children to be "punished by rewards" for instance, if they refuse to do something unless they get something in exchange, I think it's also important to understand that there is a time and place for external rewards. For instance, if you have a job, the pay you receive is an external reward. You work for the money, so you can buy food and provide shelter and other things for your family. Would you do your job if you weren't paid?

Keep in mind that Kohn wrote this book before he had any children of his own, so I would largely consider him at theorist at the time.

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