Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Should you Reward your Children? I

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 2:46 PM
Rewards, incentives, and positive given to children for motivation for children to make good choices is not just okay, it is an important part of effective parenting. There is a lot of debate these days about using incentives and rewards in parenting. Some believe that children should do what they are asked to do and should do because it’s the right thing to do. They believe that rewards for good behavior or completing tasks provide outward motivation, which is not the goal. We’ve already discussed that we want our children to mature and develop internal motivation. This is true for making right choices, as well as for things like working hard. However, as I discussed previously, our job as parents is to provide outside motivation until our children become internally motivated. If we take a step back and look at our children in a little different light, it may help us in understanding clearly what rewards, incentives, and bonuses are and why they are important.

First, it’s important to look at the nature of our children. There are different perspectives on human nature. One theory believes that people are inherently good and are corrupted by circumstances. One believes that children are blank slates and develop according to their environment. Another believes that people are inherently evil (sinful) and need to be trained to be good. A Biblical perspective tells us that we are born with a natural inclination to sin, a result of the fall in Eden, have a unique personality that effects how we interact with our environment, and are effected by our circumstances. In essence, this means that children do not naturally lean toward righteousness, need outward motivation to do what is right, and interact with how they are parented according to their God-given personality.

Second, it’s important to recognize that God models rewards and incentives for right behavior. As we discussed in the beginning of the chapter, we talked about the importance of obedience and how God rewards obedience and punishes disobedience. The Israelite nation is given rewards in prosperity and peace when they obey God and worship Him. We are promised the reward of the fruit of the Spirit as we seek God, love, worship, and obey Him. In the parable of the talents Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a man who rewards his servants with added responsibility and shared happiness.
“His master replied ‘Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23
Paul tells us in Romans that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (8:28a)
John tells us that “God’s love is truly made complete” in us when we obey God’s Word, of which being filled and complete in God through Christ is the ultimate reward. (1 John 2:5)

Looking at God’s Word not only tells us that rewarding obedience is not only an essential part of parenting, but also what those rewards should focus on. There are times that God rewards us materially. He does want us to prosper in the sense that we have everything we need materially and often even more than just what we need. But He most definitely does not want our material rewards to become our focus or motivation for righteous behavior. God is much more concerned with the state of our heart and His Word talks much more about a prosperity of spirit. God rewards us with healing of body and spirit, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, joy, strength, endurance, self-control, spiritual gifts, and, of course, eternal life. This list could go on and on. It only takes a small amount of time in scripture to recognize the rewards God gives us “pressed down, shaken together and running over.”(Luke 6:38)

If God rewards us, why would we ever withhold rewards from our children?

0 comments on "Should you Reward your Children? I"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Should you Reward your Children? I

Rewards, incentives, and positive given to children for motivation for children to make good choices is not just okay, it is an important part of effective parenting. There is a lot of debate these days about using incentives and rewards in parenting. Some believe that children should do what they are asked to do and should do because it’s the right thing to do. They believe that rewards for good behavior or completing tasks provide outward motivation, which is not the goal. We’ve already discussed that we want our children to mature and develop internal motivation. This is true for making right choices, as well as for things like working hard. However, as I discussed previously, our job as parents is to provide outside motivation until our children become internally motivated. If we take a step back and look at our children in a little different light, it may help us in understanding clearly what rewards, incentives, and bonuses are and why they are important.

First, it’s important to look at the nature of our children. There are different perspectives on human nature. One theory believes that people are inherently good and are corrupted by circumstances. One believes that children are blank slates and develop according to their environment. Another believes that people are inherently evil (sinful) and need to be trained to be good. A Biblical perspective tells us that we are born with a natural inclination to sin, a result of the fall in Eden, have a unique personality that effects how we interact with our environment, and are effected by our circumstances. In essence, this means that children do not naturally lean toward righteousness, need outward motivation to do what is right, and interact with how they are parented according to their God-given personality.

Second, it’s important to recognize that God models rewards and incentives for right behavior. As we discussed in the beginning of the chapter, we talked about the importance of obedience and how God rewards obedience and punishes disobedience. The Israelite nation is given rewards in prosperity and peace when they obey God and worship Him. We are promised the reward of the fruit of the Spirit as we seek God, love, worship, and obey Him. In the parable of the talents Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a man who rewards his servants with added responsibility and shared happiness.
“His master replied ‘Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23
Paul tells us in Romans that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (8:28a)
John tells us that “God’s love is truly made complete” in us when we obey God’s Word, of which being filled and complete in God through Christ is the ultimate reward. (1 John 2:5)

Looking at God’s Word not only tells us that rewarding obedience is not only an essential part of parenting, but also what those rewards should focus on. There are times that God rewards us materially. He does want us to prosper in the sense that we have everything we need materially and often even more than just what we need. But He most definitely does not want our material rewards to become our focus or motivation for righteous behavior. God is much more concerned with the state of our heart and His Word talks much more about a prosperity of spirit. God rewards us with healing of body and spirit, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, joy, strength, endurance, self-control, spiritual gifts, and, of course, eternal life. This list could go on and on. It only takes a small amount of time in scripture to recognize the rewards God gives us “pressed down, shaken together and running over.”(Luke 6:38)

If God rewards us, why would we ever withhold rewards from our children?

0 comments:

 

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