Should mothers be paid to be better parents?

Would being paid for taking care of your children make you a better parent? New York City is hoping a monetary incentive will help some parents take their role more seriously.

In September, New York City will launch a two-to-three-year pilot program for 5,000 families.  Parents can earn to $5,000 per year in this program.  By doing “good parenting” activities such as taking your child to the doctor for his/her annual check up or attending meetings at your child’s school, parents will receive $40 to $100 a month.

I have mixed emotions about this concept.  While I agree that our current welfare system is flawed and that there are way too many people mooching off the system, I think (call me an optimistic) that there are legitimately some people who are down on their luck and just need a little extra help to get back on their feet.  For these people, I’m glad there is a system in place to help them.  I think this New York City program could be another resource for these people.

Here’s what I like about the program:

  • The $50 million program is entirely privately funded.  It doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything.
  • The recipients must do certain activities in order to receive funds.
  • Children in the program will reap some benefits — better health care, more attention to school and possibly a better home life.
  • Bonuses and incentives are indeed good motivators in the business world.
  • What I don’t like about the program:

  • The cash goes directly to the family, usually the mother or other female head of household (not sure why it goes to the females).  What’s to prevent the parents from then using this money for drugs or alcohol?  Why not earmark this money for school supplies, after school programs or health care expenses?
  • Would this system, like welfare, encourage recipients to have more children just as a way of earning money?
  • Will the parents truly become more involved in their children’s lives or will this involvement be limited to the few activities that earn them some money?
  • This program could set a precedent for government-funded programs.
  • Personally, I don’t think being paid would make me a better parent.  But I think I’m a fairly good parent now.  Plus, while money is always a concern, I’m not considered low income.  I think it’s an interesting experiment and I wish New York City luck.

    What do you think, should we pay moms and dads to be better parents?  Would a few extra bucks change your parenting style?

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    2 Responses to Should mothers be paid to be better parents?

    1. Diane says:

      Although a few dollars is always nice and very helpful in the every day budget, I have no objection to performing extra work for this compensation. But being a parent is a choice of existence out of “love” not a paying job career. The birth of a child is a miracle, and then raising them is a blessing and sharing in their growth to adulthood is my mark on the world. It’s a lifetime friendship.
      To expect compensation above the exchanges of emotional love, is as if I said I choose live in the country to see and enjoy the beautiful nature and then expect to get paid to look at trees, or I enjoy the soothing sounds of the ocean and breath the refreshing salty air and want to get paid for each wave splashing up against the rocks, or I want a dog as a pet for unconditional companionship and want to get paid for each time I walk him.
      The satisfaction of loving my children and they loving me back is my payment. Sharing their accomplishments are my rewards. And the biggest payoff to spending a lifetime raising, loving, teaching and enjoying my children is becoming a grandmother to their children. There’s not enough money in the world that could compare with that payment.

    2. t says:

      I think its a good Idea, there are young parents out there who do not have help in what it means to be a parent, and this should be a headstart for them giving the fact that it is only going to last a few years. And what about alcoholics and drugs? the only thing I can say is that most parents who are like that usually take no interest in their kids well being anyway. For them to get paid to actually take part in their childrens lives, where in the world would they have time for drugs when they are taking part in the PTA, or constanly helping with homework ,making sure children get to school everyday, and make sure clothes are clean and are properly dressed, doctors visit every month or when its due, parent teachers conference ,and going on trips would leave no time for drugs.

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