Are HSC gifts getting out of control?


Students across Australia are preparing to sit their final exams, with the results set for release in early December.

Normally good results reward students by allowing them to pursue the career of their choice. However, some parents are stepping in with even better forms of encouragement.

I sat my HSC 20 years ago and I have to say that I’m feeling pretty ripped off.

I got nothing. Zip.

Oh, actually, I think my mum might have baked me my favourite biscuits that day.

It’s been revealed that some parents, including a large number of parents based in Sydney, are paying for their daughters to get cosmetic injections for doing well. They are also forking out for cars, new iPhones, trips overseas and One Direction merchandise.


Cosmetic nurse Matty Samaei of The Medispa at Neutral Bay said she’s plumped up quite a few sets of teenage lips, a reward for graduating from high school.

“Lips and cheek augmentation are very, very common with the girls prior to the formal and graduation,” she explained. These procedures cost $350 – $750. Tellingly, Matty also said, “Most of the mothers have had cosmetic surgery themselves.”

But experts are worried. Sure, incentives (bribes) such as this can work but what are the repercussions?

Educational psychologist Juliet Moore believes it can backfire. She said, “Both parents and teachers have a responsibility to help students find internal motivation and a love of learning. And you’re setting that person up to be demotivated in the workforce.”


Most jobs are a slog. Getting into the profession of your choice often involves long, unpaid hours and patience. It requires being humble and not being rewarded for every little thing. The reward is the satisfaction that you are working towards your own goals.

So perhaps parents should be saving gifts like this for birthdays, perhaps one for graduation but don’t announce it as an incentive. Give it to them regardless of how they do in their HSC, as a way to mark the next phase of their lives.

Give them a car – but do it the way my dad did it. He held my hand through finding a part-time job, talked me through enrolling at uni and then organised for me to finance a car that I had to pay off myself.

So I got the reward, the independence, the motivation to work and my lovely little hatchback which gave me the freedom to do whatever I needed to do achieve all my dreams…without any cosmetic intervention (there’s enough time for all that much later in life).

Do you offer rewards to your children when they do well at exams?

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