Posts Tagged ‘parenting’



OK some of you may have seen the article in the Mail Online this week about me paying my son to revise. I have offered him £7 a day, to do an hour of Maths at the dining table, not in his room.  From the point where he started there was the possibility for him to earn a maximum of £350 over a period of 50 days. There were some interesting responses to it and I really felt like I wanted to talk about my reasons in my own words.

First of all, this is the absolute first time we have ever done anything like this. Mainly because we have never been able to use money as an incentive with our children before, we didn’t have any. We looked into hiring a tutor but its £25-£35 an hour. Instead we opted to pay my son £7 per day, for an hours Maths revision in front of us (to prove he had done it). During his GCSE’s my son assured us he was revising but his results told a different story. He did OK, I wont go into his actual grades but they were definitely disappointing. We felt we should have pushed harder – but weren’t sure how to do it. We had countless conversations on why it was important and how he would only be letting himself down. My son doesn’t respond well to pressure.

When my son joined his school, a local grammar school (there are 4 in our area) they do an entrance test to predict the childs possible grades at the end of the GCSE’s – at every parents evening the teachers commented on how well my son had done at his entry test, one teacher told us it was the highest score in the year – this doesn’t surprise me – he is really clever.  As a result though my son was always being told he wasn’t quite living up to his potential, I think rather than giving him an incentive it made him feel like he wasn’t doing well.

I’ll talk about my son a little. He’s lovely. He does loads around the house, in fact, ask him to do anything and he will do it without having to ask twice. He cleans, he makes all the cups of tea and he’s generally very useful. He goes out of his way to help other people and I’m very proud of who he has become. He never asks for anything and he is always grateful for anything we give him. When it comes to studying though, he kind of slacks off.

I didn’t do so well at school. I went to several different schools in different countries within a few years and I have always struggled with exams, I got my GCSE results by the skin of my teeth, I never revised, I’m not sure i really understood the concept of reading through stuff I already thought I knew. My A’level results were utterly abysmal – I thought that was because of my tumultuous schooling but I see the same attitude in my son, who has had a very consistent school and home life. For those who say education is its own reward- of course it is, but try telling that to a 17 year old – I know that certainly wouldn’t have worked on me.

We didn’t want to wait until after he got his results to figure out he hadn’t done enough revision, there wouldn’t be much point then. Most universities will only accept the first result of an A level, so retaking it if he didn’t get the result he needed wasn’t an option. We were also hoping that after seeing the results of his revision, he might make more of an effort next year when he actually has 3 more A levels to complete. Talking didn’t seem to be working, we had explained over and over again how important it was, it didn’t seem to have any effect. We didn’t want him to feel like he had let himself down after his exams. This was not our first resort, it was our last.

I have heard several people say its a bad thing and that it will make him lazy in the future. Well, no, he’s already lazy when it comes to studying – trying to motivate him with money at the end of the road was never going to work, it had to be something instant.  As for the headmaster Ben Radlett, who said in the article that good results were their own reward – well yes I know that, but this isn’t about results, this is about getting him  to do the work beforehand. “What about when he gets a job? Will he expect to be rewarded?” – um yeah – most people do , its called a salary. I’m pretty sure Ben Radlett doesn’t work for free…

Even with this incentive he still doesn’t revise every day. He’s only revised about 75% of the time. If he misses 3 days in a row then I make sure I mention that he has missed out on £21, that usually gets him going again. Every child is different and this seems to be the thing that has worked for him. I don’t want him to spend his life playing catch up.

We didn’t want to offer him money based on his grades, I thought that would be too much pressure, its never been about grades for us, just doing the best you can do.



Coming September 21st 2017


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