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Podcast Episode 260: Why You Shouldn’t Reward Your Kids for Good Grades Transcript

Please note: Transcripts for the No Guilt Mom Podcast were created using AI. As a result, there may be some minor errors.

JoAnn Crohn: when you offer to pay for grades, it’s thinking that the problem is just this lack of trying hard enough. And if you dangle this carrot in front of them, then they’ll try hard enough. When really, when the kid is pulling bad grades, that’s probably not the issue at all. there are so many issues that could be causing this. 

Welcome to the No Guilt Mom podcast. I’m your host, JoAnn Crohn and joined here by the lovely Brie Tucker.

Brie Tucker: hello. Hello, everybody. How are you?

JoAnn Crohn: We have such a great episode for you today. It’s a little controversial. It is.

Brie Tucker: that’s my evil laugh. Whoa.

JoAnn Crohn: It is all about paying our kids for grades and I don’t know where you fall on this, but I, when I posted on my Instagram, Oh my gosh, did I get an earful from some people? So we’re going to really get into it exactly. Like why we don’t condone it as a practice and the other things you can do instead. It’s going to be so good. So I like, I’m excited to get into this. I’m so excited.

Brie Tucker: yeah, so am I for sure. Cause this is a big, this is a big like thorn in my side too in my family because, uh, my ex does occasionally, I don’t think it’s consistent from what my kids have said, but he does sometimes pay for grades. And I don’t. So I, it’s, it’s funny. Like, I can’t imagine like a lot of kids have that scenario where like one parent will do it and one parent won’t. So like, yeah, this is, I have a lot of opinions on this.

JoAnn Crohn: it’s, it’s a lot of opinions is backed by some research though. And exactly like what raises kids to actually be intrinsically motivated, you know, motivated by wanting to do well, instead of extrinsically motivated by like having little rewards dangled in front of them. So we’re going to get into that, but we wanted to share something with you. Brie, like, as soon as we got on, you read an email that you got this morning.

Brie Tucker: Yes, I got the cutest. So like, I, I woke up and my, my cell phone was saying that I had a Facebook message and I do not get a lot of Facebook messages, so I was all like, what’s up with that? And I look at it and it is from an old friend of mine. my friend is Jared, Jared, Brian, shout out to you there in Columbia. I’m going to actually Ashland, Ashland, Missouri. Uh, so. I knew Jared back in the day, he was the little brother of my college sweetheart, so I haven’t talked to him

JoAnn Crohn: So way back.

Brie Tucker: way back. Like I think the last time we spoke was like 2015 and he sent me the cutest little message this morning. So I’m going to read it because I just want to share it because it like so warmed my heart and that I read it to you and you were like, Oh my goodness.

So this came from Jared in Missouri. He says, I know you’re a busy individual, but I just wanted to reach out and say, thank you. I’m probably not your typical podcast subscriber, but as a parent, I have benefited greatly. You and JoAnn have helped me look at a different parenting technique. In addition to, I have made to become a more supportive parent, husband for my wife, keep up the good work and thank you so much, Jared. That was so, so kind and thoughtful. And it was funny. Cause I even told JoAnn, I’m all like, I was, I was taken aback. I’m like, Oh my gosh. I forget that sometimes people listen to our podcast.

JoAnn Crohn: Because we’re just talking to each other here. It’s what happens. But yeah, you totally forget what you put out there. And sometimes, like, I get a little scared. I’m like, Oh, they heard that?

Brie Tucker: I know. Right. Well, I, I already know, I told you like this before, like, I already know that my sisters and my family drop in occasionally. They’re not all all time listeners. And my husband tries to catch every episode, but he is a couple of weeks behind normally. But like my sister caught one episode and took something I said, like way out of context.

And now she’s like concerned that, that there, it was me saying, well, you and I were talking about being like that different. Uh, placements in the family and how I’m the baby and I’m like, I’m the baby, I get to, I get away with everything because I’m the baby at 44 and, uh, she took that as like, they needed to be nicer and chiller with me. And I’m like, no, that’s not what I was saying at all.

JoAnn Crohn: take that, Brie. I would

Brie Tucker: Well,

JoAnn Crohn: be like

Brie Tucker: don’t, I just, I did tell the, I told my oldest sister, I’m like, Hey, I’m not going to complain. Like y’all want to keep not giving me responsibilities. I’m cool with that. Like I’m totally fine with the fact that every family potluck, I bring the rolls and the salad.

JoAnn Crohn: That’s a good way to You roll in with the rolls and the

Brie Tucker: Yes. And sometimes, sometimes the mixed cocktail, that’s about it. That’s, that’s, that’s Brie’s contribution to the family. Get together. So, but Jared, I just, yeah, Jared, I wanted to tell you like how sweet your words were. And I’m hoping that you’re not like that. I’m hoping that there are more dads that are out there and are listening to the podcast. Because,

JoAnn Crohn: us know, please. Like direct message, like the no guilt mom, Instagram,

Brie Tucker: a review,

JoAnn Crohn: see everything, leave a review. Like we love that. Um, we’re, we’re really just excited over here at the no guilt mom podcast. Cause I don’t know you guys, if you know, but we’re like, we’re climbing the parenting podcast charts at Apple podcasts.

It was really all due to you. Like it’s all due to you sharing the podcast. It’s all due to you telling your friends, because like we’re number 80 now we’re like, It’s amazing to me that we’re number 80 out of like all the parenting podcasts on Apple. So thank you. Thank you so much for everything that you do to, to share this and to give everybody these parenting techniques.

Cause truly like if we change how we parent, not only do we create better mental health for ourselves, which is very important, and we also create it for our kids as well. And so talking about that, let’s get into this discussion on paying for grades. and now on with the show. so let’s talk about this. Let’s talk about this whole thing. So for starters, this all, this episode got inspired by, it was funny, like, cause you and I don’t get to work together in person all that much. And I was over at your house one day and we were working and you were like, Brie, I’m Should I title my, my real this or this?

Brie Tucker: And I’m like, what’s the real about? She’s like, you’re like, just which one should it say? And I’m like, uh, use this wording. And I, cause people get all upset about the whole, like paying for grades thing. And sure enough, it blew up. Like your, your Instagram post was like how as a national certified board teacher. You do not reward your kids for good grades. And that, oh man, that kicked a bees ness like no other. Like people

JoAnn Crohn: a lot of comments and I like, you could guys hear it. You could hear. I just started playing it right there. Cause I’m looking at the comments for it. And, the comments are something like, I don’t know, I feel like not having your achievements celebrated as a child is kind of bad, to, um, let’s see, what was another one that.

Brie Tucker: somebody said like, okay, you just go on and do your thing while I go over and, and, and pay my kids and they do really well because that’s what research says.

JoAnn Crohn: yeah, yeah, and it’s like all equating this thing to being like paying for grades is celebrating your kids accomplishments and it’s not.

Brie Tucker: Right, like aren’t,

JoAnn Crohn: just want to take that out right now. It’s not. No.

Brie Tucker: something that we don’t just, you know, laissez fairely talk about. Like, yes, part of it is, it just so happens that we have the exact same opinion about this, and that we had this opinion, but, It also did come from speaking to so many experts in the field, reading articles about motivation for kids and, and all of that stuff.

So, the first thing I want to throw out there is that, like, studies have actually shown that paying your kids for grades is not a long term motivator. And Right? Like, and so, like, I, I get that in the short run, in the short, and, and I had friends in high school that were my, one of my best friends, her uncle was a radiologist, and I, I, I don’t know if I had, I don’t know why I’m saying that, but he, he would give them, like, he gave his nieces and nephews, like, paid them for grades, and it did motivate her to some extent, but, I mean, I didn’t see her try any harder. Because she was, she was like, I’m she, in her case, she was naturally smart. She was going to get A’s even without trying. So

JoAnn Crohn: school is probably easy for her. A lot like my daughter. Like, my daughter talks to me about this all the time. And she’s like, Mom, I wish you would pay for grades. Because my daughter wants, like, more spending money. it’s nothing about, like, motivation. It’s nothing about celebrating her hard work. She just wants paid. And I mean, I can’t blame her. Everybody, everybody wants paid.

Brie Tucker: that’s life.

JoAnn Crohn: So one of the things, though, about paying for grades is, uh, like one of the common pushbacks that I get whenever I’m like, yeah, we don’t pay for grades, is that people are like, well, kids need to know that when you’re in the working world, like this is how it works. You get paid for your work, and you don’t get paid if you don’t do a good job.

And I want to stop right there, because actually that’s not how the working world is set up at all. Most jobs, you get a salary, like an hour, like if you have an hourly salary, or if you have an annual salary, you get a salary for being in that position. You really don’t get rewarded for the quality of work you did.

You might get promoted, but. Like there’s many studies and one of our balance members, Marie Chris, who just shout out to Marie, Chris, she posted on this reel. She’s like, actually there was a study from the Harvard business review that said employee motivation goes down when you tie work to pay. And I’ve heard that research as well.

Like pay is not a motivator. it’s a motivator to like a little tiny bit of an extent, but it actually shows that people show more drive, show more ingenuity, show more, show more problem solving when they have a direct purpose, when they feel like their work has a purpose, when they feel like they have autonomy, when they feel like they have control over what they’re doing.

Then you see people’s motivation just skyrocket. Skyrocket. And I think Bri, like that is what we want for our kids. We want them to have like this higher purpose of this thing that they’re fascinated with and this thing that they really want to learn more about. Like that is really love of learning. We don’t want them just to go in and like check boxes, like a factory worker, and then punch the clock card, to go out, which.

Like, that’s not like, I know that if you’re listening to this podcast, you probably don’t want your kids to have that kind of job. I am guessing, I am guessing. And that’s not the kind of job that our world is right now rewarding anyways. So all of this is just, it does not make sense to pay for grades.

Brie Tucker: So, so I, I agree with like 95 percent of that. Like my thing that I would say is that yes, there are some cases where. Your performance is tied to your pay sales commission type positions, but that does not, that does not make up the majority of the work workforce. So let’s start right there. Like, I, do you remember like back when our kids were in elementary school and they had this, uh, apex run and it was a big push for like, kids needed to go around and they needed to solicit donations.

And there was a lot of pushback from our community and the organizers came back and said, well, this is real life, you know, in real life, you have to sell things. And I’m like, no, actually you don’t. it depends on your job and what you do. so that’s where like, I feel like that’s a big thing. If you are only thinking about life in a sales commission type setting, then yes, what we’re saying doesn’t make sense to you.

And we get that, but we also want you to know that the The statistics are not in your child’s favor that that’s going to be their career field. That’s just not what life is going to be like for them. It’s going to be like what you said, like where they’re, they’re working a job and that you need to be looking for that intrinsic motivation. Because again, if you are simply rewarding the effort with pay, then where does that intrinsic motivation continue in their life for things that don’t get paid?

JoAnn Crohn: Well, also, going into the sales, the sales kind of example, um, I think that there’s a little, like, nuance there, where even paying for grades doesn’t even, like, correlate with the sales example. Because in most sales and commission based things, like, you have to sell to get a living wage. Like, this is not extra.

On it, you have to go and get it. whereas paying for grades, it’s like, here’s a little cherry on top. Just for like doing what your teacher says and checking all the boxes. It’s, it’s not like. It’s not the same. It’s not the same whatsoever because when you’re looking at grades, grades are such a subjective thing where I would argue that the way that schools are run today, kids don’t have to use very much ingenuity or problem solving or creativity when it comes to getting good grades.

I mean, I’m just going to say that right there. You basically, you look at the instructor’s syllabus, especially if you’re in high school, you see what they want, and then you make all of Geared to what that person wants. Like that is how you get good grades in school, which admittedly sucks. I’m going to say that right now.

Like that’s, it’s not great. It’s not great. Our education system right now is not great. And this is coming as a former public education teacher, but like in a sales situation. You like as an entrepreneur, especially I’m seeing this even more like you have to go be creative. You have to problem solve. Do you know how much I would love if somebody just came to me and like JoAnn, you know what to do to get revenue in your company this year?

You’re going to have to do this, this, this, and this. And if you do this exactly like I tell you to, then you’re going to have revenue and then you’re going to get to grow your company. Nobody does that ever. I wish, I wish that happened, but it doesn’t. It’s like a totally different skill set that like school doesn’t even prepare us for. And this is kind of like me going off on a side, side, like a little, little curve,

Brie Tucker: a side view a little bit of a side. We’re on we’re on like a feeder road We’re on a feeder

JoAnn Crohn: You got me on the sales thing, but

Brie Tucker: the feeder road

JoAnn Crohn: It’s, it’s just how it doesn’t correlate to real life. That is really what I want you to take away from this. Any argument that says, Oh, paying for grades is like real life.

It’s not, it doesn’t, it doesn’t like match up in any scenario.

Brie Tucker: regardless like all that they’re I have not seen a single study when I was looking through researching for this episode that said that this actually works long term. It’s just a short term thing. And again, like, and with No Guilt Mom, we’re not looking for short term fixes. You’re listening because we are here to talk about the long game.

Like what is going to be the best in the long run? So another issue I have with, rewarding good grades by paying for them is that what about the kid that is struggling in a class? They’re struggling with that concept. And They are already dealing with the guilt and the shame that they’re not going to live up to the expectations that mom and dad have.

And I’m not going to get the reward. And it’s going to be very publicly felt that I don’t get this reward because I’m not getting this money. And I’m not saying that like, everybody knows that you’re paying your kid for grades, but you’re trust me, your child knows, and they know that, you know, and it’s a bigger thing.

Here’s the other thing, if you’re struggling and all you care about is getting that letter grade that gets you that X amount of money, you are going to do what it takes to get there. And sometimes that might be cheating. That might be like finding other means to get there because you are focused on that end reward, that, that end external reward, not learning how to fix it. And your kids possibly not even going to mention that they’re struggling.

JoAnn Crohn: Well, as well as like, when you offer to pay for grades, it’s thinking that the problem is just this lack of trying hard enough. And if you dangle this carrot in front of them, then they’ll try hard enough. When really, when the kid is pulling bad grades, that’s probably not the issue at all. there are so many issues that could be causing this.

There could be a lack of interest in the material. There could be a relationship issue between them and their instructor. There could be like just a uncomprehension of the material because they’re struggling maybe with a learning difficulty. Maybe they have, they’re struggling with dyslexia or anything like you just don’t know.

And so. Trying to pay for grades is almost like it’s putting a band aid on a bullet hole, and if you see that it works short term, yeah, it does work short term, until all the blood soaks the band aid, and then guess what, you still have the same problem, but it’s bigger, and I do that metaphor, grizzly metaphor, on purpose, because I want

Brie Tucker: Very visual.

JoAnn Crohn: that when you think of paying for grades, um, but that’s not to say that, like, Paying for grades is the worst thing ever that like you can never do in your entire life because I want to drop a bomb on you.

that there is a time when it’s okay to pay for grades right after this. So we spent so much time going through all of these problems with paying for grades. And I do want to go through the solution because, uh, first of all, let’s just admit that paying for grades, it’s a bribe, right?

It’s a bribery. It’s like, here you go. Here’s, here’s some money. I want you to try real hard. And. If you have kiddo who is just struggling with this lack of motivation and you’ve tried everything and, you’ve considered all the things that we’re going to go through also with you right now, a little bribe doesn’t hurt anyone if it’s used like once and it’s not used as like your main strategy, like I, I am not against a bribe, but let’s just call it a bribe for what it is.

Brie Tucker: call a bribe a bribe. Alright? Like, I know what I’m doing when I dangle that Dutch Bros. I know

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah, I know what I’m doing when I manipulate the entire environment to get my daughter in a good mood when I pick her up. I mean, do you do this? I like, she comes in the car and sometimes she comes in the car and she’s like, and I’m like, Oh, okay. What’s okay.

Great. And I know like, I can’t ask her anything. And she’s here on her phone. But if I come up and she gets in the car and we have Taylor Swift already playing on the radio, and I’m like, let’s go to Starbucks and get something. Oh my goodness. It’s like, she’s singing along to Taylor. She’s like, Oh mom, today was da, da, da, da, da, da. I’m like, I know what I’m doing. I know. Like,

Brie Tucker: No! It’s using the tools you have. So, so yeah, I 100 percent agree, like, in some cases, it is literally just a case of like, I don’t want to use the word lazy, but it’s lazy adjacent. It’s like, I just don’t feel like putting in the effort,

JoAnn Crohn: which is fine.

Brie Tucker: but I, still think a conversation would be good. Okay. You don’t feel like putting in the effort. You’re, you want to throw in the, like, we’re dealing with that right now in my household. It’s funny. I have two completely polar opposite kiddos. I have the one kiddo who is in all AP classes and all honors classes. He’s going to study groups every night, like just. Trying to, like, focusing on all of his tests that are coming up, projects, and all of that.

And then I have the other one, whom I love both my kids dearly, but the other one is like, ugh. I am so done with school. School just sucks. It’s terrible. It’s awful. It’s the worst thing ever. And I’m like, I get it. It is like, we’re recording this mid April. It’s mid April and here in Phoenix, they’re done with school in 30 days.

Like they’re, they are done in 30 days. I’m like, it’s the last month of school. All you have are the projects that are due and studying for finals. It’s a sucky time, but you got to get through it. Like it’s so, so what can we do to make it a little bit better? What can we do? And when I say we, it’s a royal we. It’s a, you know, it’s not just me. It’s not me like, what can I do to make you happy? It’s like, you know, if we talk about what, what friends have you not

JoAnn Crohn: how can we get you through high school so that you don’t flunk out of your finals and regret it later on? Like,

Brie Tucker: right. It’s like we all like, that is part of being an adult. You’re going to have stuff that you have to do that you don’t want to do. You really don’t, but you got to figure out a way to find the best part of it and move through. And, and maybe that’s also like looking forward to the really awesome film class you’re taking next semester that you can’t wait for. Maybe it’s like looking forward to that friend that you have in math class that you don’t get to see very often. Like, and, it’s

JoAnn Crohn: Or maybe planning something and tying it to something else. We do that as adults all the time.

Brie Tucker: Yeah. Yeah. So like you’ve had, I’ll tell you what, every week you make it through the week and there are no missing assignments because I realized that it’s really hard to keep going and keeping that, you know, because we’ve talked before, like Ned Johnson’s been on our podcast a couple of times. He’s written the, self driven child. And, uh, what do you say? Is that what it is? Like, Yeah,

JoAnn Crohn: it’s what you say.

Brie Tucker: and he, he is an expert on motivation, especially for teens. And he talks about like telling everybody, like, as long as you did your best, as long as you did your best. He’s like, who gives their best 24 seven.

JoAnn Crohn: Exactly. I, I get so triggered with that word. I just want you to do your best. I’m like, no. No, that’s not fair for kids. Like,

Brie Tucker: I want you to do what you can to make it through and still have a positive mental health day.

JoAnn Crohn: Exactly, because it’s like one of those things, like I want you to try your best. We cannot possibly try our best on every possible thing we do because some of it is just not worth our best. I mean, let’s just face it, sitting down, paying taxes, not worth my best effort. Really not. Like. Haha.

Brie Tucker: hard like again, Like. nobody Let’s just be honest. Nobody can be 100 on the ball all the time Like, the closest I’ve ever seen are people that are on, like, drugs, and I really wouldn’t want to see them.

JoAnn Crohn: Microdosing.

Brie Tucker: we’re not, we’re not saying that’s a good, yes, we’re on a feeder road again, Brie needs to bring it back, bring it

JoAnn Crohn: but that is basically how our society operates. It’s like, how can you perform at optimal level to be productive all the time? Here, let’s try microdosing here. Let’s like, I get all these ads for like ADHD related products. They’re like, here, you can go from scatterbrain the entire day to like focused and completing your biggest projects by 11 AM. And I’m like, really?

Brie Tucker: I, and I’m also running around, like, Crazy person. You’ve seen me when I’ve had too much caffeine in the morning. It’s not a pretty picture. Like there’s this

JoAnn Crohn: it’s not good.

Brie Tucker: but

JoAnn Crohn: not good.

Brie Tucker: But right. Yeah. So It’s it’s about trying to find what they can actually do and like letting them know that we’re not always going to be perfect.

We’re not, uh, some kids can kid get, and that’s the other thing too. Like the second kid. Okay. So. I just have to throw this out there too. Cause I want to know who I would love to have reviews up for this episode. And tell me if you have either of these kids I have. So like the oldest one who’s in all these really hard classes, he has to study.

He puts in a lot of effort to get the grades he has. And he is very proud of his grades. They are his grades. He is, he has a goal in sight. He wants to get a full ride. To college next year. Well, not next year. I guess it’d be the year after next because he’s a junior. That’s his prize in the sky. That’s what’s motivating him.

That’s what’s keeping him going. It’s great if you do that, if not, we’ll still figure it out, life is still okay. The other kiddo, the one who was like, ugh, I am so done with school. I have never seen that child study anything more than maybe 10 minutes. Like hey, you got a big math test coming up. Oh, I studied, when?

10 minutes ago. Are you serious? Yeah. Like, she shouldn’t, shouldn’t lie much to me. It’s pretty straightforward. But yet, all A’s. And like two B’s that are like high B’s and I’m like, I’ve said to her before, do you realize what you could do if you actually like applied yourself to something that you were interested in and excited about? She’s like, yeah, but I’m not excited about school.

And I’m like, okay. And you just got, and I don’t want to crush it. Right. You know what I’m talking about? It’s this delicate little flower that like one day she was going to find her motivation and she’s going to find something she’s passionate about.

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah, and I totally agree with her, too. And I agree with how you are, because it’s like, when you find something that you’re passionate about, like, you, like, You crush it, you crush it, or you hide in fear because you won’t succeed in it. I mean, we see a lot of that, of people who really want big things, but they’re really scared to go get them because it takes a lot of bravery.

It takes a lot of like, not knowing what the hell you’re doing, uh, when you go after these big things. And it’s not something that’s School provides right now, I guess overall, like, I just think it’s misplaced energy in school. Like I was the kid who, uh, made all of her teachers happy and I was getting like the, the nine stay nines on the test scores and I was getting the A’s and B’s and I went to the college prep school and all of these things.

And yeah, you were too. And then when I got into my career. I felt I was gypped because, like, I didn’t need any of that stuff that I did. Like,

Brie Tucker: It’s like it’s like that, that complex math equation that they’re like, you’re going to need to know, or, or, or for me it was chemistry. going to need to know how to add together the atomic mass and what molecules. No, I don’t. No, I don’t. I

JoAnn Crohn: also, also that whole thing about even how school operates, like, how you had to go to, like, Yeah, sitting regurgitating and trying to make someone else happy, like doing something someone else’s way, like a professor or a teacher, and that’s how you succeeded and in real life, like, yeah, you do have bosses and stuff like that, but the way you succeed is you do have to figure out how to work around them and how to work with it, but you won’t last long anywhere if you are not successful at it, creative if you don’t problem solve, or if you don’t like it, if you don’t like something, you’re going to be miserable for the entire life. I mean, I don’t want my kids ever picking a job or career just because it makes them a lot of money because money alone is not worth it in the long run. People need enough money to survive. They need enough money to live comfortably. And I’m not to say that like, we have a lot to do in this country in terms of what we provide for people, uh, that is a separate story. topic though. But it’s not money alone that makes a good life. Like you need more

Brie Tucker: Not at all. And you know what? And there is a third thing I want to say that is a major negative factor in paying for grades. It’s a, it’s a mental health crisis that this is related to. And we’ll talk about that right after the break. Okay. So this is the last thing I’m going to bring in here that I feel like is another reason why paying for grades, giving, giving a reward based solely on the letter grade your child has received, negating all other factors. It puts an insane amount of pressure on your child. Like you were just talking about how like trying to please people and how it just, this is.

Only going to perpetuate that people pleasing thought process, which has been proven to increase anxiety and mental health issues. Kids are under so much pressure to be the best at everything and to do amazing all the time. They are cracking, they’re cracking all over the place. Like you and I, our kids go to a school district that has a lot of mental health issues, with kids being placed under extreme pressure.

And why do we want to start them with like, when they’re still at home with us before they’ve even had any idea of going off and going to college or trade school or graduate school or doctorate or whatever, and the rest of their life learning, why do you want to crush it and make it this anxiety ridden? If I’m not perfect, if I’m not first, I’m last. Like why?

JoAnn Crohn: exactly. And it’s not shown that those kids succeed either. Like there have been so many So many issues of you know, how there’s the valedictorian and the salutatorian second. And even though the salutatorian is second, like above everybody in their school. The only person they compare themselves to is the valedictorian.

And they’re like, I didn’t make it there. I didn’t do that. And it’s not a great feeling. Like, being second is almost worse than like, not even placing at all. Because, mentally, mentally, and when we’re talking about like, anxiety in our kids, another thing that causes huge anxiety for people is if they get recognized for something they’re not truly worthy.

They are in their being. And a lot of times grades force kids into this narrow box of what is an acceptable human being and what they can be loved and acknowledged for, where there are many things that kids could be loved and acknowledged for. Achievement is not the only thing. , and I think placing such a high emphasis on grades and achievement really messes people up in the long run.

Brie Tucker: it does. It, it really, really does. So, okay. So let’s, so we have focused on all the reasons not to do it. Let’s share some things that they could do that would be beneficial instead.

JoAnn Crohn: So the biggest thing I think is just to be in constant communication with your kids and find out what they’re interested in. That’s the biggest thing and like help them pursue their interests. Like my son right now, he’s 10, he’s interested in planes. And so we go to the airport and we watch all the big heavy planes come in.

And he learns about planes and we travel to go see planes. my daughter has a huge interest in music right now. So she’s taking voice lessons and she is very, very big into Taylor Swift and also like all these other bands coming up. Like she has a list of bands she’s, she’s seeing because this is a new kind of.

space for her. And it’s not the typical school music program either. It’s kind of like this expression of feelings and emotions that is really cool to watch her like experiment with and play with. So like have really great communication with your kids and really try to help them pursue their interests outside of grades and outside of school, I would say.

Brie Tucker: I think, I think that is huge. Like, so, because again, I feel like what people were focusing on was like, well, we’re not allowed to give them anything. Yeah, you, I mean, no, no, you, you are allowed to give them stuff. We’re just saying like, you know, When you’re tying it directly to that grade, it can, it can cause some issues and it makes it harder for them to build those intrinsic, intrinsic motivation. I’m gonna say it one more time for the people in the back. Intrinsic motivation,

JoAnn Crohn: Inside, not the outside. It’s really funny. Like I was listening, this just came up in an armchair expert episode. I was listening to Finneas was on who, you know, he, do you know who Finneas is Billie Eilish, his brother as well as a very talented music producer. And he was an actor as well.

Brie Tucker: I should. Okay. Alright.

JoAnn Crohn: So they were in this discussion about their parents and how Billie and him were raised and he said that their parents never, ever told either of them that they were proud of them ever.

Brie Tucker: Oh,

JoAnn Crohn: No, this is not a okay. Okay. Finneas and Billie have an excellent, caring relationship with their parents and their parents told them the reason for this is they’re like, we don’t ever want our external pride to affect you. Like we don’t ever want to put the pressure on you to make us happy. We want you to go for what makes you happy. And so they’re very upfront with this. And so, and he of course appreciated it and look at them. Billie Eilish is doing amazing as his videos. And, so it just makes me think that like, we don’t have to come along with a good job for every single thing our kids do. They don’t want to be patronized by us. They don’t want our approval. The best thing is if we walk alongside them and we’re there with them for the ride.

Brie Tucker: Okay. So here’s my thing too about that. Cause I 100 percent agree. Like you said, like the whole, like them not saying they’re proud. And I was like, Oh, but then at the same time, immediately before you even said it in my head, I’m all like, but then that puts the pressure of, I have to make mom and dad proud of me.

I have to make them proud of me as someone who was a child of a lot of positive affirmations. And I was definitely the people, pleaser as well. We had the same school experience, I think pretty much just across the country from each other. I. I very much used to seek out the pat on the head, good girl, you did a good job.

JoAnn Crohn: was just about to say pat on the head because that’s how I felt about grades I’m like I brought home A’s got my pat on the head BAM We were all of a sudden focused on the next report card like there was no joy like there was no sustained joy in it

Brie Tucker: For me, the joy was just being told that I was doing well, but, but like you said, what that did to me for many, many years was made it where I was constantly looking for recognition from other people. I, and you know me, I say, so like, so part of what we do in balance, we talk about like, you know, what is something that my mind needs to hear?

And you know, this like my mantra has not changed for the last year. I have discovered, I don’t care. I can’t believe it took me so long to figure this out, by the way. But what my mind needs to hear every day is I am enough. I am enough. I am enough for everybody. I am enough for me. I am enough for my dog. I am enough for my husband, my child, my coworkers, my, my friends, like I am enough for everybody because if I wasn’t getting told constantly how amazing I was, I felt like I was failing.

JoAnn Crohn: mm hmm.

Brie Tucker: And that’s an insane amount of pressure to hold yourself up to. Like that’s not fair to the other people in your life and it’s not fair to yourself. So I feel like that’s kind of where that goes.

JoAnn Crohn: I’ve had that as well. Like if I wasn’t getting recognition, I’m like, nobody appreciates me. Nobody sees the hard work. They’re just, they’re thinking like, I do nothing around here. Like that, that’s the mood I would get into. And I’ve realized now I’m like, no, This is within me, and this is a question of my self worthiness, and this is nothing to do with other people.

And in fact, if I’m feeling this way, then I bet other people are feeling this way too, and I really want to go lift them up right now. And I felt like that, that has helped a lot. Anytime I go into this pattern of feeling like, oh, woe is me, I’m like, you know what? Other people feel this too. I’m going to go and find someone to compliment right now.

I, like, I wrote this big thing to my sister about it and like, she was like, Oh, thank you. and that makes me feel so happy if I can like make someone else happy, which is like, it’s not people pleasing, but it’s like giving other people what you feel like you need actually fulfills that need in yourself. And it’s a. Really interesting way to go about it.

Brie Tucker: It’s like

JoAnn Crohn: So like

Brie Tucker: nice things for others.

JoAnn Crohn: yeah, like coming back to grades, like if you feel like you need to tell your kids how proud you are of them, maybe it’s because you felt like no one was proud of you. And that’s something to really examine because I mean, that’s something that I, I, if I’m speaking personally here, um, I I It’s a, it’s a self worthiness thing.

It’s a feeling that I am enough. And when you look back at that, you might start crying and bawling and being like, oh my God, like. Yes, I was never told by anyone that I was proud of, like they were proud of me. My accomplishments weren’t recognized or anything. And it’s a clue that there’s some work that needs to be done for you, uh, which isn’t a bad thing, which is actually a really, really

Brie Tucker: That’s how, that’s how the healing process starts.

And I would, so with that being said, a couple more things to add on here. So like we talked about having good communication with your kids. Oh my God. I’m laughing because like I just did the thumbs up and now the thumbs up bubble just came on my, my camera. Like that is the weirdest thing. Ah, okay. So anyway, um, so being positive in the communication. Not tying their achievements to your words, like reminding your kid, like, so like one thing we’re talking about right here that I want to like articulate is like reminding your children. How do you feel? How, how do you feel about the fact that, uh, you know, math class is over and how you did this year? Like, how do you feel about it?

JoAnn Crohn: Helping them realize exactly their own like feelings and values and what they want to do well in what they don’t care about Because I mean it could be like I am glad that thing is over and i’m like cool

Brie Tucker: I mean, and we’re not in, you know, we understand it. Like we said earlier, like. There is no one, one size fits all solution for every situation. Like if your child is dealing with learning disabilities or having like really seriously struggling in a class, looking at failing a grade, like you’re going to need to be pulling in a lot of resources for them.

And in those scenarios, paying for grades probably isn’t going to cut it. And then also just saying to them, well, how do you feel about that F in math? Like that’s not necessarily going to cut it. There’s going to be more things that you’re going to need to do. But for the. Average situation with your child.

All of these things are positive. The communication, checking in with them on how they feel, not giving all of this pressure to do amazing and have straight A’s and everything. Another thing too, you and I were talking about, and this is like the last thing I’m probably going to throw in there is that when my kids are showing that they are responsible and they are able to, and again, I have high schoolers, but they are showing that they are responsible.

They’re able to maintain their classes and their studies without me checking in on them. They naturally get the reward from me. I trust you. I trust you. Things are going well. So like when my, my daughter or my son says, I am really like having a hard time this week. I think I want to take a mental health day.

I’m like, sounds great. You’re not failing any classes. Everything’s going well. Like, yeah, you, you deserve a break. You deserve a chance to sleep in. My daughter got to do that like a week ago and she was so excited. She’s like, this is the best day ever, mom.

JoAnn Crohn: But also like, this isn’t like a one and done thing that you do. You have a constant communication going with them. So it’s not like you’re just checking in and like, Oh, I see. Grades are good. I see. This is good. I’m just going to go sit on the couch. You know, like your kids come to you because you have built this relationship. It’s a long game. Um,

Brie Tucker: Cause I want that. I want to be in their life after they graduate high school and they leave my home.

JoAnn Crohn: Exactly. That’s what we’re talking

Brie Tucker: so excited. Like people, we’re going to see Ned this weekend and I’m so excited to get to like meet him like in person. Cause we’ve known him so many years, virtually, but like that’s another thing to keep in mind is that you’re, you’re doing all of this because you want to continue to have a relationship with your kids after they leave your home.

JoAnn Crohn: You’re playing the long game. It does not end at high school. It does not end with their good grades. It’s like you, you have them their entire life. I saw something, that on TikTok. It’s like, what is all this talk about we only have a short time with our parents? Kids like I’m 34. My parents still can’t get rid of me.

It’s like it’s kind of true. It’s true. Uh, so we’re going to leave you with that today. Please let us know what you thought of this episode. DM me on Instagram at no goat mom. Leave us a review so that other people can find us. And until next time, remember that the best mom is a happy mom. Take care of you. We’ll talk to you later.

Brie Tucker: Thanks for stopping by. 

Brie Tucker

COO/ Podcast Producer at No Guilt Mom
Brie Tucker has over 20 years of experience coaching parents with a background in early childhood and special needs. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Central Missouri and is certified in Positive Discipline as well as a Happiest Baby Educator.

She’s a divorced mom to two teenagers.

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