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Perks
10-13-2007, 04:28 AM
I don't think I've seen this brought up here, and I was curious about what you guys think of this situation:

In my daughter's school (she's in the third grade) the bus driver gives them candy on Friday if they've been 'good'. In the classroom, they get a piece of candy for good behavior, if they get 100% on their reading test, and now, since there was a problems with kids not returning their signed report cards, for complying with that rule as well.

I find this to be a complete bastardization of 'positive reinforcement' and my problem with it is two-fold. We already know that Western culture in these 'lands of plenty' have food issues. Linking a sweet taste in the mouth with achievement is setting the kids up for all sorts of diet related problems. Doing a good job is its own reward and while we may celebrate a job particularly well done while eating, I think it's a bad idea for the food to serve as the trophy.

But even more than that, I object to rewarding (and conditioning them to expect a reward) for actions and behaviors that should be the norm. I don't get a cookie every time I remember to put my pants on in the morning and I think that sitting quietly and respecting their teacher should be a baseline, not a laudable accomplishment. I think it's a subtle, but very dangerous mindset to encourage. Our society's pervasive attitude of entitlement is repulsive enough as it is and I think I'm beginning to see what the seeds of that philosophy look like.

Any thoughts before I pen a strongly worded letter and get on my high horse with the school people?

SpookyWriter
10-13-2007, 04:48 AM
Just remember to wears your spurs.

Perks
10-13-2007, 04:49 AM
You are very helpful, Jon.

Joe270
10-13-2007, 04:59 AM
I'm with you on the rewards deal. It seems to be wrong to give rewards for something expected of them. Plus, it can backfire.

This happened last week, I think. My friend across the street has a son in the fourth grade. He came home with some Jolly Rancher candies that, as he explained to his mother, he bought with his 'behavior bucks' at two bucks apiece.

The fourth grade teachers give out behavior bucks to the kids at the beginning of each week, and take away bucks for bad behavior. At the end of the week the kids get to 'buy' stuff from a treasure chest.

So his mother says, hey, I can buy a big bag of Jolly Rancher candy at Costco, so you can save up your 'bucks' to buy something better. And she did.

So the next Friday he came home and said, 'Look, Mom', and opened his backpack to reveal hundreds of behavior bucks. Seems he was selling Jolly Ranchers at a buck a piece. Hey, the kids got a deal, Jolly Ranchers at half price.

I told his mother that he'd be driving home a Buick before the end of the year.

SpookyWriter
10-13-2007, 05:02 AM
Perks,

I completely agree with your position. I need not go into a tangent about how the actions of school persons are misrepresenting positive re-enforcement. You are a parent, I'm a parent, and I think you know what is best for your children. So go to school and tell them what you believe is an appropriate reward for doing good.


I object to rewarding (and conditioning them to expect a reward) for actions and behaviors that should be the norm.

Jon

Perks
10-13-2007, 05:03 AM
This happened last week, I think. My friend across the street has a son in the fourth grade. He came home with some Jolly Rancher candies that, as he explained to his mother, he bought with his 'behavior bucks' at two bucks apiece.

The fourth grade teachers give out behavior bucks to the kids at the beginning of each week, and take away bucks for bad behavior. At the end of the week the kids get to 'buy' stuff from a treasure chest.

So his mother says, hey, I can buy a big bag of Jolly Rancher candy at Costco, so you can save up your 'bucks' to buy something better. And she did.

So the next Friday he came home and said, 'Look, Mom', and opened his backpack to reveal hundreds of behavior bucks. Seems he was selling Jolly Ranchers at a buck a piece. Hey, the kids got a deal, Jolly Ranchers at half price.

I told his mother that he'd be driving home a Buick before the end of the year.That is hilarious! That boy is a genius and his mother need not worry.

Perks
10-13-2007, 05:05 AM
Perks,

I completely agree with your position. I need not go into a tangent about how the actions of school persons are misrepresenting positive re-enforcement. You are a parent, I'm a parent, and I think you know what is best for your children. So go to school and tell them what you believe is an appropriate reward for doing good.



JonThanks. I'm just wondering if someone has another angle I might be missing on this scene.

And plainly, it's not working. The kids are little shits by and large.

SpookyWriter
10-13-2007, 05:08 AM
Thanks. I'm just wondering if someone has another angle I might be missing on this scene.

And plainly, it's not working. The kids are little shits by and large.Perks, I don't suspect there are other motivations involved. When I was a kid we used to get gold stars for doing good. I didn't grow up to become a gold star, now did I? So, I don't think this innocent attribute will re-enforce eating sweats with doing good.

Real behavior modification would involve the NSA and require you to sign a waiver.

astonwest
10-13-2007, 05:20 AM
But even more than that, I object to rewarding (and conditioning them to expect a reward) for actions and behaviors that should be the norm.We just finished attending a series of parenting classes, in which they taught us this same method to reinforce behaviors.

Generally, however, this is supposed to help when the behaviors are bad off in the first place...or when a child is first learning the behavior.

Siddow
10-13-2007, 05:26 AM
I have a son in kindergarten, and he comes home with a 'reward' every Friday. At least ours is a small toy (think 10 for $1), but yeah, I'm with you.

I'd much rather he lost privileges for bad behavior, and be rewarded for exemplary behavior, and just get a nice smile for behaving as he should.

Here's something you can take to the school: what if a kid has diabetes? Or an allergy to peanuts or chocolate? Is the bus driver aware of the medical conditions of all the children?

Silver King
10-13-2007, 05:28 AM
...Any thoughts before I pen a strongly worded letter and get on my high horse with the school people?
Tell them your daughter isn't a dog and doesn't need a treat not to piss on the floor.

Besides that, they're encouraging her to eat candy, which isn't good for her anyway. What if she were diabetic, or allergic to other ingredients in the treats (such as peanuts)?

They have a lot of nerve, really. If they want to reward positive behavior so much, they should give out money, and then you could start a nice little bank account for her.

Magdalen
10-13-2007, 05:31 AM
I agree with you, Perks, about the candy being a bastardization of positive reinforcement. My son's 3rd grade teacher awarded "tickets" that could be redeemed for school supplies and some candy, but that was the only year. Maybe it has something to do with 8 year olds?

RumpleTumbler
10-13-2007, 05:33 AM
My daughter got off the bus a couple of years ago with a pirated CD. Every kid on the bus got one. The driver made them. I went nuts but of course nobody I spoke with could understand what bothered me about it. When the culture is conditioned that stealing is the norm then when folks bitch they are looked at as the bad ones.

Pat~
10-13-2007, 05:35 AM
I'm with you, too, Perks. As a former school-teacher that Pavlovian conditioning method always bothered me, (esp. with candy). Used too much, you end up with a kid who won't do anything unless there's something in it for him.

robeiae
10-13-2007, 05:43 AM
My daughter got off the bus a couple of years ago with a pirated CD. Every kid on the bus got one. The driver made them. I went nuts but of course nobody I spoke with could understand what bothered me about it. When the culture is conditioned that stealing is the norm then when folks bitch they are looked at as the bad ones.

Can I get a copy of that?


As to rewards, I think they can be used from time to time, but they shouldn't be used as a basis for a system of discipline. That's stupid. What you get from that is a a realization that acting bad is okay, since all that will happen is you won't get the reward. But if you stop acting bad, you can get the reward. So, discipline is hoped for, not insisted upon. Imagine if the Army ran basic training this way. what would you have, besides fat soldiers?

Of course, yours is likely to be a voice in the wilderness, Perks. A problem here, in my experience, is that when a teacher eschews this system in favor of one insisting on discipline, the teacher is more likely to be criticized than praised. Maybe we should give the teachers candy...

astonwest
10-13-2007, 06:24 AM
Negative forms of behavior modification are bad for a child's self-esteem, so they say...

Hillary
10-13-2007, 06:25 AM
Well, where I nannied in Tennessee, they paddled children who were out of line, and no one came home with candy. I'm pretty sure every school will have behavior problems no matter what they do, so really, let's not waste perfectly good candy or perfectly good paddles. We adults should steal the candy and paddles and get together and have a giant BDSM/Halloween party.

WHO IS WITH ME?!!?

Perks
10-13-2007, 06:26 AM
Tell them your daughter isn't a dog and doesn't need a treat not to piss on the floor.

That's fantastic! I'm gonna use that, I just know it. Darn you, Silver King!

Perks
10-13-2007, 06:29 AM
I agree with you, Perks, about the candy being a bastardization of positive reinforcement. My son's 3rd grade teacher awarded "tickets" that could be redeemed for school supplies and some candy, but that was the only year. Maybe it has something to do with 8 year olds?I wish. This school's being doing it since kindergarten, but they keep adding ways to 'earn' goodies.

If the teacher says, "You need to bring your report card back, signed by a parent." then that's what you need to do. After several students did not or 'forgot', then she said, "If you bring it back, I'll give you piece of candy." whereas I'd be much more likely to say, "If you don't bring it back, signed, and do it by tomorrow, I'll be making a phone cal to your parents tomorrow night."

Perks
10-13-2007, 06:32 AM
Negative forms of behavior modification are bad for a child's self-esteem, so they say...Self-esteem is the most abused concept in modern child rearing. These little darlings are so bursting with self-esteem that they're repulsive. I'm up to the back teeth with self-esteem.

Mandy-Jane
10-13-2007, 06:41 AM
I struggle with this myself. Of course we want to encourage good behaviour, but I don't think a reward system is really all that helpful. Rewards for good behaviour just get children into the mindset of "What will I get, if I'm good?" And as time goes on, they want more and more. What happens when the reward goes away? So does the good behaviour.

I have to admit, I've used it with my own kids. I can't count the number of times I've said things like "if you tidy up your room, you can have ice-cream." Or "if you behave in the shop, I'll buy you something." And every time I say it, I say to myself "shut up with that!." It's not a good way to encourage positive behaviour, but I'm still trying to work out what is.

My daughter's school has a thing called "Student of the Week". Each week, two kids from each class get awarded it. It's more for academic achievement rather than good behaviour. It might be for good work in writing or reading, or something like that. At first I was really against this. What happens to the poor kids who don't get Student of the Week? How do they feel? I think the school's just trying to encourage scholastic effort, and maybe it works. Maybe it doesn't.

But the candy thing is just wrong. No doubt about it. Especially the bus driver. What's it got to do with him?

Kids shouldn't have to make behavioural choices based on reward or fear or guilt.

JLCwrites
10-13-2007, 06:51 AM
Having studied child development, and spent a few years working with children ranging from 3 - 18, I completely agree with your feelings.

Right from the beginning, children are born with the innate desire to learn, explore, and accomplish goals. By using constant material rewards, self-motivation eventually breaks down.

JLCwrites
10-13-2007, 06:57 AM
Self-esteem is the most abused concept in modern child rearing. These little darlings are so bursting with self-esteem that they're repulsive. I'm up to the back teeth with self-esteem.

I think a lot of people today don't understand the difference between building self-esteem, and making children responsible for their actions. It IS possible to build self-esteem while making a child responsible for poor behavior. Disciplining a child should be connected with the wrong behavior. (Ie... painting the walls results in cleaning those walls.)

Perks
10-13-2007, 06:59 AM
Yeah, the most recent one was very strange and it's what prompted me to maybe go to the school about it. They have this reading program in which the children pick a book, then take a test on it on the computer. It's an interesting program, because the children pick their 'goal' of how many points they want to earn in any given period. Each test score is counted toward that goal.

So, out of the blue, the teacher ups the ante this week so that not only do the test scores go towards the goal, they'll get a piece of candy if they make 100% on any given test.

Perks
10-13-2007, 07:04 AM
I think a lot of people today don't understand the difference between building self-esteem, and making children responsible for their actions. It IS possible to build self-esteem while making a child responsible for poor behavior.Absolutely. I think part of the problem is too strident an effort to make everyone feel that they are equally as good at everything as everyone else. That's just not the way the world works.

My nine year old nephews were on a baseball team, where each child walked the bases every time they were up to bat, no matter what happened. There were no 'outs' and each team got the same score for each game and at the end of the pseudo-season, they all took home the same trophy.

Now for very young children, I understand not keeping score and focusing on technique and rules and whatnot.

But I believe that real self esteem comes from finding what you do well and being okay with what you don't.

JLCwrites
10-13-2007, 07:05 AM
Somehow, word has gotten out that this should be a school wide system. New principal maybe? If enough parents complain, something will get done. Parents are the most powerful voice with administration. You should approach them with this complaint. But approach the teachers first...then if nothing is done, approach administration. Teachers hate it when parents automatically jump over their heads.

RumpleTumbler
10-13-2007, 07:05 AM
Weed is not bad on the teeth and eliminates the need for anti-depressants and or ADHD dope.

Lunch's might need to be improved upon for that idea to work.

Perks
10-13-2007, 07:06 AM
You are a very bad man.

Joe270
10-13-2007, 07:07 AM
Self-esteem is the most abused concept in modern child rearing. These little darlings are so bursting with self-esteem that they're repulsive. I'm up to the back teeth with self-esteem.

I fully agree with you. I consider the 'self-esteem' movement dangerous. There is a huge difference between 'self-esteem' and 'self-confidence'. Self-esteem is fluff, 'oh, you're the best' all the time, giving all the teams the same trophy if they are first or last, it is detrimental to a child's development, and leads to resentment when the kids get older and discover they must work hard to get a step ahead.

Self-confidence, on the other hand, takes risking failure, enduring failure, persevering on, practicing hard to succeed. That gives a child an appropriate life lesson.

I've seen both in practice, and the difference is night and day.

Sure, it's important for a child to be praised and rewarded for hard work, participation, etc which results in their failure. But they need to learn with harder work, more practice, more study and they can get that big trophy.

JLCwrites
10-13-2007, 07:09 AM
But I believe that real self esteem comes from finding what you do well and being okay with what you don't.

May I put this in my signature? :D

Perks
10-13-2007, 07:09 AM
May I put this in my signature? :DIt will increase my self-esteem if you do. Please be careful.

Azraelsbane
10-13-2007, 07:11 AM
Well, where I nannied in Tennessee, they paddled children who were out of line, and no one came home with candy. I'm pretty sure every school will have behavior problems no matter what they do, so really, let's not waste perfectly good candy or perfectly good paddles. We adults should steal the candy and paddles and get together and have a giant BDSM/Halloween party.

WHO IS WITH ME?!!?

Oh Hillary, why in the world do you have to live so far away from me? :cry:

paprikapink
10-13-2007, 07:12 AM
Well, where I nannied in Tennessee, they paddled children who were out of line, and no one came home with candy. I'm pretty sure every school will have behavior problems no matter what they do, so really, let's not waste perfectly good candy or perfectly good paddles. We adults should steal the candy and paddles and get together and have a giant BDSM/Halloween party.

WHO IS WITH ME?!!?

First of all -- Hillary, you're brilliant.

Second (of all) -- Perks, you're totally right. But tell em nicely. You'll still be just as right, no need to put anybody down or make them feel bad. They're in a tough situation doing a tough job and mistakes are pretty much part of the territory. It's probably a safe assumption that they are trying as hard as they can to do the best job they can. They'll still mess up sometimes. (I'm talking about the teachers and the bus driver ; I guess I could be talking about the kids just as easily. ) Maybe they could have read-aloud time with a favorite story for kids who perform well, or a few minutes of extra recess. Or some of those collectible cards of local police officers. There are lots of possible bribes I mean rewards besides candy and junkie toys.

Perks
10-13-2007, 07:17 AM
First of all -- Hillary, you're brilliant.

Second (of all) -- Perks, you're totally right. But tell em nicely. You'll still be just as right, no need to put anybody down or make them feel bad. They're in a tough situation doing a tough job and mistakes are pretty much part of the territory. It's probably a safe assumption that they are trying as hard as they can to do the best job they can. They'll still mess up sometimes. (I'm talking about the teachers and the bus driver ; I guess I could be talking about the kids just as easily. ) Maybe they could have read-aloud time with a favorite story for kids who perform well, or a few minutes of extra recess. Or some of those collectible cards of local police officers. There are lots of possible bribes I mean rewards besides candy and junkie toys.Hillary's a perv and I already congratulated her on it.

And yes, I won't go in with guns blazing. But I'm leery of suggesting a substitute bribe. I'm not anti-candy. I quite like some candy. Especially if it has coconut in it.

And I'm all for rewarding special achievement and celebrating successes. I just don't think anyone deserves a tangible prop for doing what they're supposed to do. A good job is it's own reward. The implications of doling out kudos for standardly decent behavior is bothering me way more than the spectre of tooth decay.

JLCwrites
10-13-2007, 07:21 AM
http://www.hersheys.com/products/details/images/flavors/pf_Ajoy_stdbar.gif
http://www.hersheys.com/products/details/images/flavors/pf_mounds.gif

If you rep me, Ill give you one as a reward!

Perks
10-13-2007, 07:23 AM
You will not. You can't PM chocolate. I've tried. You lie and that's bad behavior. If you stop lying, I'll give you some candy.

wordmonkey
10-13-2007, 08:08 AM
Perks, I am so glad I'm not your kid. What would my life be like when word gets around that it was my mom that cut the candy-pipeline for all the kids on the bus. ;)

'Cos you know that's what's gonna happen. They'll just do a blanket ban.

OK, now a serious comment. My Second Grader just started with a teacher who has a rewards bin. It's full of the kinda stuff like you'd get with a Forced Happiness Meal at any Greasy Food Franchise. He's a smart kid, in the advanced program, loves school and learning, we worked on all our kids that if they do good, the standard reward is a book (our four-year-old ran into the book store last visit, like he was Maria in the Alps at the start of The Sound of Music proclaiming loudly, "I JUST LOVE BOOKS!").

Anyways, Second Grader comes home almost every day with some knick-knack, occasionally candy. Almost every day he passes them off to his younger brother. He doesn't care. The fact that he got a reward is a bit of buzz, but the actual "prize" he could care less about.

Now give him a star-sticker, man he is all over that.

Not sure what that has to do with anything, but I think, if we as parents can help our kids filter these things, the odd bit of candy doesn't matter. And while my kids don't really eat much candy (the Halloween stash will last until well after Christmas - one year we gave out candy our kids had collected the year before and it wasn't due to a massive haul the previous year either (WHAT? It's basically sugar! Not like sugar goes bad!)) if my kid gets a reward, I know he's doing what he should. I know he'd do it anyways, but there are plenty of kids who wouldn't, and if this pulls them in line, better a lump of candy than a belt-buckle to the rump, right?

I know. Lowers standards, expectations, society as a whole, but seriously, cutting the candy/treats here is not gonna make all right in the world. I'm actually not wild about the rewarding thing the way it's done or was mentioned by Perks. But I also know that when I was at school, we had corporal punishment and the kids that took a licking from the cane every now and then were still the ones who sniffed glue, stole cars, got stabbed, stabbed, or ended up in prison.

All of the above is why I shouldn't post after midnight.

Seacrest out.

Unique
10-13-2007, 03:04 PM
Well, Perks... Reason #501 and plenty of others.

Monkey's right, you know. But I agree with the idiocy of passing out candy.
Here - they have 'treasure boxes'. :rolleyes: {toys, erasers, pencils, gizmos}

As if!

The kids who get off on that kind of thing - yeah, it might change their surface behavior but then you'll get a kid ... (like mine)

who'll say, 'Who gives a flying ****? I got candy at home and better toys, too!'

Kids will act right and do right because they want to - or it really doesn't matter anyway. That behavior is learned at home or in the homes of their peers.

If it isn't, no school is going to teach them that satisfaction of a job well done is its own reward. It just ain't happenin'. If the kudos and praise of their teachers or parents isn't enough ... no trinket is going to do the job.

(Can you tell I think bribes are stupid?)

aadams73
10-13-2007, 03:16 PM
It's really disconcerting that they're handing out candy. Like too many kids aren't fat enough already these days. When I was a wee lass we used to get gold stars or some other neat sticker. And that was for when we excelled at something, or were extra helpful, not--like Silver King pointed out--for not pissing on the floor.

Perks
10-13-2007, 04:01 PM
I guess it seems weird not to say something if I think it's fundamentally wrong. And of all people to hear it from that I should let it go 'cause it won't change anything, Unique! Lol! That I did not expect, but I'll think on it.

Perks
10-13-2007, 04:14 PM
It's really disconcerting that they're handing out candy. Like too many kids aren't fat enough already these days. When I was a wee lass we used to get gold stars or some other neat sticker. And that was for when we excelled at something, or were extra helpful, not--like Silver King pointed out--for not pissing on the floor.That's what I mean. I wouldn't even mind so much if candy was given for special achievement. I just don't think that managing to not backtalk the teacher or returning requested materials or not defacing school property warrants any sort of celebration.

Unique
10-13-2007, 04:21 PM
Well - not so much 'let it go', Perks as 'bring it to their attention' that candy is not a good option for a variety of reasons.

* health
* tooth decay
* hyperactivity to those prone to sugar highs
* feeding the bears w/o parental permission
* bribery in general is a bad idea

blah, blah, blah.... YMMV

I guess what I meant by the 'let it go' feeling you got is this:

Bureaucracies are brainless entities even though they are staffed by humans. Persuading an entity to do anything - let alone 'the right thing' is an exercise in futility most days.

DL Hegel
10-13-2007, 04:45 PM
i teach martial arts to kids of all ages. i give them stickers for praise. They can earn patches or other rewards. my agenda is to make a positive impact on my students and to support what the parent needs from their child, whether it is better behavoir at home, more confidence, fitness, or whatever. Rewards like anything we have in life should have moderation--but i do believe kids under 6 need them more frequently than older kids. Plus stickers don't rot your teeth.:Trophy:

dl hegel

tjwriter
10-13-2007, 05:09 PM
Hmmm, I have a few thoughts.

First, I agree that rewards should be for extra special things, and not for daily responsibilities.

That being said, I wonder how many teachers find themselves between a rock and hard place enforcing the basic standards in responsibility and discipline. Candy is a cheap and easy reward to help a teacher who otherwise may not have any real footing with some students. Not all, but some.

In a daycare where my cousin-in-law worked, she wasn't even allowed to select a student of the day, someone who had shown good behavior all day, and reward them by letting them lead the line, etc. because that would single one child out and that wasn't allowed. Big load of crap in my opinion. I think the same philosphy applied for punishments too.

Thinking back my school days. My favorite rewards system by a teacher was in 4th grade. We received tickets. You could use a few tickets to get candy, etc. but if you saved them up, he offered really cool stuff like a trip to go hiking at the state park and the ability to have any one of the books from his bookshelf.

I think the kids that are going to do well will do it no matter what the reward, but with the pressures that teachers face to achieve the proper numbers makes it hard for them.

School and achievement came easy for me, so I didn't need the extra push, but it was nice to get acknowledgement every once in awhile.

wordmonkey
10-13-2007, 06:34 PM
I guess it seems weird not to say something if I think it's fundamentally wrong. And of all people to hear it from that I should let it go 'cause it won't change anything, Unique! Lol! That I did not expect, but I'll think on it.

Just because it won't make a difference is no reason to say nothing.

However, when I go up to the school meetings and see the kinda hoops the teachers and the school as a whole have to leap through, just to do their jobs, teach our kids and prepare them for the future, it makes my blood boil. In the greater scheme of things, I find this pretty minor.

And the teachers/bus-drivers are basically paying for these treats/bribes/treasures out of their own pocket. Usually as well as paying for other stuff and equipment in the class.

scarletpeaches
10-13-2007, 06:39 PM
I have nothing to add to this thread but I'm in complete agreement with you there, Perks, especially on the issue of rewarding children (and indeed, anyone) for behaviours that should be the norm.

wordmonkey
10-13-2007, 06:42 PM
Well - not so much 'let it go', Perks as 'bring it to their attention' that candy is not a good option for a variety of reasons.
Yeah, but...

* health
One piece of candy, even every day, is not gonna kill a kid. Sure if the kid is diabetic, but having seen my kid's school, they are very careful about that and the kids are usually VERY aware of their needs.

* tooth decay
Brushing twice a day? Again, I don't think this candy is a real danger here.

* hyperactivity to those prone to sugar highs
Again, not sure that one piece of candy is gonna do much here. Have you see your average elementary school kid? They have energy to spare all the time, I don't think this is likely to spill over the top of the tank.

* feeding the bears w/o parental permission
OK, this is a fair point. Still not sure it's that big a deal, and you can always get your kids (as we do) to bring these rewards home before messing/eating/opening them.

* bribery in general is a bad idea
Definitely.

Zelenka
10-13-2007, 06:48 PM
At the school my mum teaches in, they're not allowed to give out candy of any sort without sending a letter home to the parents first to ask permission. They work more on the principle, 'you misbehave, you don't get the treat that usually happens', things like play time last thing in the afternoon and the like.

scarletpeaches
10-13-2007, 06:50 PM
A quick story about a lady who was a member of a local congregation. She made it her habit to bring in bags of crisps and sweets for the other members' children. It got to the point where kids would run in and head straight for her, to get their sweet treats.

Never mind that it was a place of worship. They were there for the sugar high. They ate them in the middle of the meeting/service/call it what you will, and afterwards treated the place of worship as a playground - sugar high, anyone?

I spoke to a mother about it and asked, "Do you think it's a good idea to train your children to expect sweets when they're supposed to be going for religious instruction?" and she said, "Well **** wants to treat the kids; who am I to stop her?"

I replied, "You're their mother, that's who you are! And look at how hyper they all are afterwards - the sweets distract them from the real purpose of being here!"

Naturally I was seen as the grump who doesn't have kids so what does she know?

But it came about that some other parents decided to ask this woman not to bring crisps and sweets any more. She huffed and puffed and said it was her only pleasure in life. Some parents said it wasn't their only pleasure to have to cope with young children on a sugar high, or be the bad guy by telling their little darlings, "No you can't have any even though your friends are allowed."

So she started bringing fruit and little toys instead.

*sigh*

Eventually she was asked to stop beinging things altogether as the children had been trained to expect rewards from her before the service had even started and they got distracted.

The parents' general message was treats are okay, but for goodness' sake, not every single week on the same day. You could see the drooling, wide-eyed Pavlovian greed on the children's faces and I'm glad they put a stop to it. I'm not kidding. Some were shoving others out of the way to get to the 'sweetie lady'.

tjwriter
10-13-2007, 07:08 PM
Again, not sure that one piece of candy is gonna do much here. Have you see your average elementary school kid? They have energy to spare all the time, I don't think this is likely to spill over the top of the tank.

That's cuz they don't get much recess time anymore and have no way to burn off all their energy or supply extra oxygen to their brain to help them learn.

tj, who's feeling rather snarky today towards the school systems. I've been thinking about this all morning.

rhymegirl
10-13-2007, 07:08 PM
I've never liked the idea of giving kids candy for good behavior. For many reasons, but consider this one: What right do they have giving candy to kids? Some parents don't want their kids eating candy. Some kids have food allergies (to peanuts for one), so that could be a big problem if a child had a reaction. Plus, a kid could reason: My teachers give me candy when I do good, so I think my parents should, too.

When I was a little girl going to school, all we got was a star on our paper for doing a good job. And praise from the teacher, and sometimes from the principal on report card day.

scarletpeaches
10-13-2007, 07:13 PM
I got my name put in the Golden Book - which meant your name was read out at Friday assembly in front of the whole school. :D

Perks
10-13-2007, 08:40 PM
That being said, I wonder how many teachers find themselves between a rock and hard place enforcing the basic standards in responsibility and discipline. Candy is a cheap and easy reward to help a teacher who otherwise may not have any real footing with some students. Not all, but some.

I'm completely confident that this is the case. The behavior in class is astounding. I can remember the third grade fairly clearly and no child would have dreamed of acting up the way these kids do. 'Kids' fits the scenario so well. They wander around and knock things over and disregard adults like they were a room full of baby goats.

Perks
10-13-2007, 08:51 PM
Yes, I'll have to state again, I guess, that it's not the daily piece of candy I object to so much. Although I still think associating success with a sweet taste is a bad idea. Food issues in our hyper-self-conscious society are, so they say, easily triggered.

I mean, think about it even here at AW. We joke about it when we get a rejection - time to hit the Ben & Jerry's; got a request for a partial - mondo! Break out the Ben & Jerry's, etc. With obesity issues, body-image obsession, bulimia, anorexia and all that, I just think it's a subtly bad idea, "you've been good today, you deserve candy."

But all that aside, I'm much more annoyed by getting stroked for not acting like a monkey at school. I'm gonna have to find this article, because it keeps coming back to me, but it was interviews with managers and CEOs from important companies bellyaching at what a bunch of spoiled, overly-entitled jackasses the current crop of twenty-somethings were - always expecting a reward (outside their paycheck) for showing up, warming their chair and mucking around on MySpace all day.

This sort of reward-for-not-making-me-want-to-kill-you has got to fertilize that nasty little garden.

Monkey
10-13-2007, 09:11 PM
My children aren't allowed to have candy or soda pop. Sometimes people will give those things to my kids, thinking they're being nice...but they don't understand what it does to my 3-year-old. He gets hyper, he gets sick, he gets moody. There is nothing good that comes of it.

My teen has beaten his weight problem. He doesn't need sodas and candy, either. And if someone tried to give that crap to my baby... :rant:

You aren't likely to change the policy of the entire school. I would give them a letter that told them that they were not to give candy to YOUR child. They would then have your wishes in writing, and I'd tell them in person, as well. The other parents will have to decide for themselves what is and is not Ok for their own children.

Perks
10-13-2007, 09:17 PM
Yeah, I'm going to talk to the teacher. Like tjwriter said, I'm sure she feels like she needs it because of the shameful lack of discipline. I'm not keen on having my child excluded, and I likely won't change her policy (although I could forbid it to my child, which I wouldn't do.)

I'm thinking it's a valuable discussion to have anyway. Just to talk about the different ways this sort of reward system could be seen and what it could mean in the long run.

scarletpeaches
10-13-2007, 09:21 PM
You're assuming everyone gives a damn about their children as much as you do, Perks. ;)

Seriously, though...not everyone does. You see it with the gangs of kids hanging round outside the shops after dark...I bet if they came to harm their parents (or breeders as I call them) would be the first ones to cry foul.

eldragon
10-13-2007, 09:22 PM
I wasn't happy yesterday when my ten-year-old told me that her teacher had brought in chips, and sold them for .50 each to her students. My daughter had no money on her, but a friend bought her a pack.

If I weren't overextended with things to bitch about ................

What kind of teacher sells chips to her students?????????/

scarletpeaches
10-13-2007, 09:23 PM
I assume you mean potato chips/crisps and not French fries chippy things? Either way...grr!

Perks
10-13-2007, 09:30 PM
I think most people give a damn, but there's this bizarro wave of wanting your children never to be angry at you.

From a very young age, I strongly reminded mine that there were other people in the world. People who had likes and dislikes just like them, and - more importantly - people who have things they need to get done. I just recently read where someone was saying that it's more important to understand why your child is acting the fool, rather than attempt to curb the behavior. I heartily disagree. I find it very important to understand their moods and opinions - are you hungry, tired, out of sorts because you don't understand what's going on? - but only because I care to know my children as people. What's paramount is that they realize that whatever's bothering you, you don't get to inflict your grump or pout or poor attitude on anyone else. When I get hungry and grouchy, I can't slap the cashier at the supermarket or scream at husband because I'm overtired. What we feel is important, how we behave towards others has to have at least a constant bare minimum of manners and decorum.

What's been great is that people enjoy my children. People come up to me and say how sweet they are. People want to talk to them, because they are polite and friendly and fully, even at their young age, aware that the world does not stop for, nor revolve around them.

They'll have to learn it all over again when they fall in love. It's okay, I'll help where I can.

tjwriter
10-13-2007, 10:43 PM
...I mean, think about it even here at AW. We joke about it when we get a rejection - time to hit the Ben & Jerry's; got a request for a partial - mondo! Break out the Ben & Jerry's, etc. With obesity issues, body-image obsession, bulimia, anorexia and all that, I just think it's a subtly bad idea, "you've been good today, you deserve candy."

I think this stems from way back in the days before people gave themselves everything that blah blah was a special thing and that's why you got something special. But it the key word in that sentence: special. It wasn't all time and it wasn't the exact same thing for every special event. It was a celebratory event (or a pick me up) and not frequent.

But, with all the issues you mentioned, I do think it's a good idea to find other rewards.


But all that aside, I'm much more annoyed by getting stroked for not acting like a monkey at school. I'm gonna have to find this article, because it keeps coming back to me, but it was interviews with managers and CEOs from important companies bellyaching at what a bunch of spoiled, overly-entitled jackasses the current crop of twenty-somethings were - always expecting a reward (outside their paycheck) for showing up, warming their chair and mucking around on MySpace all day.

This sort of reward-for-not-making-me-want-to-kill-you has got to fertilize that nasty little garden.

Ha! Which article, Perks? That would my generation of which you speak. And they shame me horribly. It's so bad. All through college I laughed because these idiots weren't going to know what hit them when they had to handle the real stuff.

eldragon
10-14-2007, 12:16 AM
I assume you mean potato chips/crisps and not French fries chippy things? Either way...grr!
Yeah, unfortunately they are the crispy fried crisps - not the yummy, albeit fattening potato french fries.

Still. Who charges kids for snacks?

scarletpeaches
10-14-2007, 12:17 AM
Who FEEDS kids snacks? In school?!

astonwest
10-14-2007, 12:23 AM
Yeah, unfortunately they are the crispy fried crisps - not the yummy, albeit fattening potato french fries.

Still. Who charges kids for snacks?Are you kidding? Have you seen how much teachers get paid? I'm surprised more teachers don't do it, just to boost their retirement portfolio...

:)

wordmonkey
10-14-2007, 06:46 AM
One last thing and then I'm out.

This bus driver in question is, I presume, making a nice gesture to encourage the kids. This is not, I again presume, a system-wide action, but rather someone trying to make the world a little bit nicer and offering, in a very simple way, something to help their colleagues and make the kids experience a good one.

I agree that bribing isn't a great solution, but it's not like we're talking about something like this (http://room210forteachers.blogspot.com/2007/06/new-york-schools-to-pay-students-for.html). I'd be willing to bet that the majority of people here, who had the experiences I had (gold star, 10 out of 10 on the test sheet in red pen, name read out in school assembly at the end of the week, and all those innocent, life-affirming "rewards') are forgetting the fact that teachers used to be able to swat your ass with a cane, ruler, paddle, etc. Stick kids in detention for weeks on end, or dispense punishments like writing lines or 10 page essays entitled "My Life in a Ping-Pong Ball" (that last one is a serious one - I had an eighth grade teacher who liked to toss it out from time to time). And going home with a bad report card was something to fill you with a similar dread to that experienced by the "dead man walking."

Just saying that maybe we should keep this in perspective. And maybe remember that the summers weren't always just the right temperature and cloudless when we were kids.

We had NEW coke and relaunched TAB. Wasn't all good.

Perks
10-14-2007, 09:47 AM
...are forgetting the fact that teachers used to be able to swat your ass with a cane, ruler, paddle, etc. Stick kids in detention for weeks on end, or dispense punishments like writing lines or 10 page essays entitled "My Life in a Ping-Pong Ball" (that last one is a serious one - I had an eighth grade teacher who liked to toss it out from time to time). And going home with a bad report card was something to fill you with a similar dread to that experienced by the "dead man walking."

With the exception of caning and knuckle-bashing with rulers, I think all of these things are far, far more appropriate than being given a treat if you can make it through to lunchtime without disrupting the whole works.

In life, bad things happen if you don't do what you're supposed to do - you act like a moron and pitch tantrums at work? They either call men in white coats to take you away, or just fire you. You hurl abuse at the people around you? You're lonely or at least up to your neck in miserable dysfunction. You don't pay your rent? You find all your toys on the lawn one day, soaked in rain and getting picked over by passersby.

Life is not moved forward by 'positive reinforcement' for the bare minimum of conduct. No one's going to stroke you for getting to the office on time. Do it every day for forty years and you'll probably get a nice punch-and-grocery-store-bakery-cake in the breakroom for your retirement party.

Gold stars and assembly recognition for outstanding work is terrific. A passing grade for passing work is normal. A failing grade is what you get if you don't get it or couldn't be bothered. Detention and punitive work for obnoxious behavior is earned. This is real life. This is the function of school. It's a sad testament to the state of modern parenting that my daughter's third grade teacher cried in the classroom on Friday because she couldn't, for all the candy that's be doled out since the start of school, get the little punkasses to shut up and sit still for long enough for her to organize the day's lunch orders.

Self-esteem is what is discovered and meted out (or not) by participating in life, not just showing up with a sullen look on your face.

paprikapink
10-16-2007, 04:57 AM
I was, and my kids are, the kinda kids who can easily sit still in class and pay rapt attention to the teacher. I think we're just lucky. I know that it's a widely applied form of "logic" that what's true for me should be true for others...but I don't ascribe to it.

For a lot of kids, it is a major challenge to sit and listen or do other things that make it easier for grown-ups to control groups of children. Maybe some of these kids are simply wicked little people being raised by evil incompetent adults. That's one of the possibilities. But it is certainly no less possible that they are just little kids who are not able to do what is required of them. And the situation they're in doesn't have a lot of leeway for accommodating anyone who can't toe the line. My kids, even at their artsy-fartsy private school, spend a lot of time paying rapt attention to teachers trying to get other kids to look this way, quit poking the next kid, and pipe down.

I say, if one of those kids manages to still still and shut up for 20 minutes, give him the god damned cookie.*

*metaphorically speaking. gold star, xbox, whatever..

ETA: Philosphically, I think Perks is right. But I also think that most of the time being right and fifty cents might buy you a bag of chips.

Perks
10-16-2007, 05:51 AM
For a lot of kids, it is a major challenge to sit and listen or do other things that make it easier for grown-ups to control groups of children. Maybe some of these kids are simply wicked little people being raised by evil incompetent adults. That's one of the possibilities. But it is certainly no less possible that they are just little kids who are not able to do what is required of them. And the situation they're in doesn't have a lot of leeway for accommodating anyone who can't toe the line.Yeah, I can see where that would be true, right up until I recall that no one ever, ever, acted up in class (en masse) when I went to a city public grammar school like these children do. And it's been three years running.

No, something has changed. (God! I hope it's not organically changed!)

Sunkissed27f
10-16-2007, 06:13 AM
I would just hand them the dentist bill after every cavity that was filled!

Sunkissed27f
10-16-2007, 06:18 AM
Are you kidding? Have you seen how much teachers get paid? I'm surprised more teachers don't do it, just to boost their retirement portfolio...

:)

I know several teachers and their pay is as much as if not a tad bit more than mine and I don't make much of anything.

The norm for a teachers salary is $35k a year.

So, I agree...er some what. ;)

Serenity
10-16-2007, 06:33 AM
Who FEEDS kids snacks? In school?!

For those kids who don't get enough to eat at home, these snacks are essential. Food=energy. Energy=kids learning. (At least in an ideal situation.) But at any rate, if a kid is fed and not hungry, they are more likely to pay attention in class. In the school district where I used to work, the snacks were small but healthy. And for someone like me, who is hypoglycemic, snacks are necessary. They kept me from passing out if my blood sugar dropped too low.


Are you kidding? Have you seen how much teachers get paid? I'm surprised more teachers don't do it, just to boost their retirement portfolio...

:)

Okay. I want to know what district this is, and what the cost of living is in that area. Where I live in Northern Virginia, the average salary for a first year teacher, with a bachelor's degree, is (and I am estimating from memory here) around $37,000. Which with taxes, insurance, etc, taken out, works out to around $2,000/month of usable cash (ALSO an estimation, based on my experience). Take my apartment (smallish, around 872 sq. ft., 2 bedrooms, 1 1/2 bath) runs about $1,100/month. Bills (the essential ones, none are included in my rent) run about $300/month. Depending upon travel you are most likely going to spend about $100-$150 on gas. Figure in another $200 or so on groceries and... the list could go on. But you do the math.

Just how much am I making again?????

Soccer Mom
10-16-2007, 06:37 AM
I think Astonwest was joking that teachers make so little that they have to shake down kids for snack money.

And you wouldn't want to deal with my six year old at two o'clock if he didn't have an afternoon snack. Mr. crabbybritches.

Serenity
10-16-2007, 06:41 AM
Sorry, I guess to actually say something on topic. I do use rewards in my classroom. BUT not as an every day occurance for getting good behavior. It is a special treat given at special times for when I see the children doing something extraordinary, and not necessarily what is expected of them.

Perks
10-16-2007, 06:45 AM
Sorry, I guess to actually say something on topic. I do use rewards in my classroom. BUT not as an every day occurance for getting good behavior. It is a special treat given at special times for when I see the children doing something extraordinary, and not necessarily what is expected of them.
And I would never have a negative thing to say about that.