Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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I have seen very good kids and when I asked and saw their parents raising them, I knew that they set a reward for everything. That is why they are excellent. I use rewards but not in everything. My kids are active kids, so they give me a hard time in church. My daughter is 7 years old and my son is 5 years old. I thought to have an agreement with them if they behave well during the Liturgy, Sunday school, and hymns class. I will reward them by candy, cake, going out, and so on. Last week, my husband and I with the kids memorized psalm 100 in English. I told them that if they memorize it by Friday, they will get a toy from the store (one or two dollars). I heard also that some parents don't give allowances, but they let their kids earn it by working in the house, such as cutting the grass, collecting the garbage, and so on. Many questions are in my mind:

  1. Which is better, to give an allowance or to let them earn it?

  2. Is it OK to give a gift like a cheap toy for things like memorization?

  3. How about discipline or reward for behavior in the church?

Personally, I do not favor the idea of earning money by doing chores around the house. Does anyone pay you for preparing dinner, doing the laundry, and taking care of your family? The obvious answer is no. Therefore, everyone in the family is expected to help. A simple allowance can be provided for the children’s personal extras, but not for their necessities. They can also learn to tithe by taking a portion of their allowance to give to the church. The problem with allowance is if or when it becomes the main factor that motivates the children. You do not want everything to be so rigid and calculated, but rather need to make room for some flexibility.

It is OK to give an incentive, such as a little toy, for something extra that your children do.

It should be expected that the children will be on their best behavior in church and at Sunday school. Rather than giving them things for these occasions, a nice lunch treat or outing for the entire family on your way home should be enough. Always be encouraging, and look for even their smallest efforts to being good. Don't compare your children or yourself to anyone else. The rowdy child can grow up to be a saint, and the quiet child can grow up to be a trouble-maker. Basically, help each child to be a little bit better. They are a work in progress. Enjoy them!
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