By bro Lee Tian Seng
What do you think about motivating your children with rewards? Some parents think that giving rewards will make their children behave only when you dangle a reward. They prefer to teach their children to behave, simply because it is for their own good. At the same time, they think that punishments are necessary. What would your children think if they are punished for their bad behaviours but are not given any reward, even a praise, for doing the right thing? They might grow up feeling that they are always not good enough or might crave for praises and affirmation for everything they do.
Perhaps, what is important is how rewards and punishments are served. It will be purposeful and good if parents use rewards to encourage good behaviours, but not to entice the children and to make them greedy. Similarly, parents should use punishment to correct their children, but not to instil excessive fear.
Our Heavenly Father, God, uses punishment on His godly children. It is like a father who disciplines his children. Thus, we believe that God expects parents to punish their children.
Hebrews 12:7-8 - If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
Besides punishment, God also rewards His godly children who are faithful to Him and seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6 - But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
In Christ, God gives us all spiritual blessings.
Ephesians 1:3 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
If we are to remain faithful to Him till the end of our lives, He will reward us with eternal life (Revelations 2:10).
Romans 2:6-7 - Who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality.
How can parents reward their children to motivate them to do good or to reinforce their good behaviour?
Parents can praise their children or show their appreciation for their good effort and behaviour. If your children clean up the dishes after a meal without you asking them, you might want to specially mention it and say “thank you.” It is right to show honour when honour is due.
Romans 13:7 - Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
A reward could also be in the form of giving your children some privileges. If your children do well in a class test, you could allow them an extra hour to play their computer games. It could also be a gift or a treat to their favourite restaurant. In fact, a reward could be anything your children consider as valuable and rewarding.
As parents, we need to remember to use reward to motivate our children, not just using punishment only.