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Incentives for Children's Good Behavior - 10/3/14

Do you bribe your children in order to get them to do what you want and what’s good for them?  Many people do.  In a recently released survey conducted by vouchercloud, 55 percent of parents indicated that they gave their children bribes, including allowances and other forms of compensation to make them behave or to reward them for certain tasks or achievements. 

At the same time, nearly two thirds of those parents indicated that they would rather give their children less money.  As reported by the Wall Street Journal, many experts in personal finance warn that too many mothers and fathers are utilizing the wrong forms of incentives and may enjoy better success using different incentives.  For instance, experts recommend allowing the child to help choose the reward so they feel more engaged with the process. 

They also suggest that incentives need not be tied to money, but may take the form of a growing set of privileges, like being able to spend time at a mall with friends.  Unexpected rewards also work such as an unanticipated visit to an aquarium, a movie or a ballgame.  Scientific research indicates that unexpected rewards, especially for younger children, can encourage them to translate certain behaviors into a lifestyle.

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.