I cannot remember if I ever asked my parents that! When we were growing up, there were rules and duties that we had to adhere to or were assigned and it had to be done. And nothing was ever promised in return. Nor did we expect it.
It seems to be a different game altogether now. Tell a child to do something and often enough , the child asks ‘so what do I get?’ If ever we had done that, I am sure it would have been a sound spanking.
But I guess one has to change, this is a world that moves on incentives, perks and rewards.
And therefore this column by Gouri Dange was interesting. It was about the distinction between bribing or offering incentives to a child. Ms Dange says there is a very thin line between the two and she cites an example from the adult world.
An organisation may offer an incentive for every job that is completed well and on time. And this serves as a motivation to work and finish by the given deadline. If the organisation, on completion of the project, sends a special box of sweets or takes the employees out for a meal that is a reward. If on the other hand, the employee will undertake the job only after a payment is made, then that would be a bribe.
And the difference essentially is that an incentive and reward is made when the work is completed whereas in the case of the bribe, the work does not get initiated unless the bribe is made.
And she therefore counsels that when bringing up a child, the incentive and reward can be encouraged, but bribing the child to study, eat, play or behave is like being held to ransom where nothing will move without the ‘bribe’. And she concludes that children of parents who bribe have never been taught the intrinsic value of doing something, whereas those who receive an incentive or reward realise that some jobs need to be done even if they are not fun, and that makes the parents happy to give him a reward.
But, I am not totally convinced that it is essential to give children incentives and rewards all the time. Especially when they are young. The corporate world is a different situation altogether. But a word of appreciation should serve as motivation enough for a child without him/her having to expect something for every job done. Some activities should never, in the first place, be considered a 'job' like behaving well, cleaning up their room, completing the homework. We grew up fine without these rewards and that is still the better way of bringing up children.