Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement

There are many opinions floating around as to whether "positive reinforcement" works better over "negative reinforcement."  I implement both for my two daughters.  I simply have found that rewards alone don't always provide optimal motivation, but knowing that their iPhone can be taken away is very effective (ha)!

I have a monetary system, which includes both rewarding my daughters with cash when they do well in school, or do chores around the house, as well as remove cash from their accounts when they do not do well in school or forget to do their chores.  Not only have I found this to be extremely effective, but it also teaches them some real-world life lessons, especially when they get hired into their first job.

My system operates like this:

School Grades

  •  $5 per A
  •  $4 per B
  •  $0 per C 
  • -$4 per D
  • -$5 per F (and the possibility of having their iPhone confiscated)

Chores Around the House (does not include being sanitary themselves and cleaning their rooms; these are "table stakes" (mandatory)

  •  $5 Weekly (Vacuuming, dusting furniture, and washing dishes)
  •  $0 Weekly (if any one of these tasks are not completed)
  • -$5 Weekly (if all tasks are not completed)

My daughters obtain a clear vision of the better option (rewards), as well as the impact of the lessor option (repercussions).  I'm not raising my girls to be spoiled little brats who think the world owes them because they simply "showed up." Showing up and on time is a must (actually 5-minutes early is on time) and I always state, "I'm raising you girls like 1980's kids!" This includes being respectful to your parents (and to adults alike), work hard, and understand that you don't always have to have an explanation provided to you before you are directed to do something (this will become a powerful trait for them when the enter the workforce (mental toughness & discipline).