Do You Give Your Kids an Allowance?

Posted on Nov 20, 2012 by 1 Comment
Do You Give Your Kids an Allowance?

There are two schools of thought on allowances. One has the philosophy that kids should get allowances so that they can learn to be responsible with money. The other believes that kids should contribute to the family without expecting payment for it.

I think I subscribe to the third, unnamed philosophy – I can’t afford to pay them even if I wanted to.

I do agree that it could help kids learn to be responsible with money, but so can going grocery shopping, watching a parent pay the bills, or long conversations over birthday money and how to spend it.

If helping kids learn to be responsible with money depends on them getting an allowance, my kids are screwed.

Some people say that it allows them to feel valuable. My response to that is maniacal laughter. If children need money to feel valuable, they also need serious counseling and you need to rethink your parenting abilities.

Children feel valuable because they are a valued and respected part of the family.

Here’s the thing. I don’t get an allowance. I do lots of chores around here but I don’t get an allowance. Neither does my husband. We do them because they need to be done, we do them because it is part of being a family, and we do them because we are responsible.

Money comes from a totally different source – a totally different kind of relationship that I have with my clients.

I could care less what a client’s bathroom looks like or whether or not their yard needs to be mowed. My only concern with a client is to do what they hired me to do and do it well. That is called employment.

I can get fired if I don’t do my job well. I can’t fire my kids for not doing a good job on the kitchen or blowing off cleaning the garage. Firing one’s children and hiring new ones is frowned upon in the state of Texas and I am fairly certain it isn’t very acceptable in the other states, either.

Employers (or clients) and parents are different and I think that when we lose track of that, it can be troublesome. I don’t spontaneously buy my clients a pair of shoes that I think they would like and I don’t send invoices to my kids.

Well, there was that time when I had to clean one of their bedrooms after I had asked consistently for a very long time. I invoiced them at my hourly rate and I can tell you that the bill would have given me a nice little vacation had I made them pay it.

I think that home and business should be kept separate. Sure, there are extra things the kids can do around the house to make a little money, but for the most part, as long as I am putting dinner on the table and they aren’t tipping me, the possibility of an allowance is not open for discussion around here.

What are your thoughts on allowances?

photo credit: clogozm via photopin cc

Posted in: Parenting
Marye Audet

Marye Audet is an author, freelance writer, and editor. As a work at home mom she has a unique perspective that encompasses the overwhelming deadlines and commitments of the professional woman as well as the constantly changing needs of a homeschooling mom with a large family. She is the author of one cook book and the creator of Restless Chipotle Media, a network consisting of two food based blogs, a blog for “women of a certain age”, a video site on Youtube, and upcoming blog on kitchen decor, and downloadable eBooks. Marye also is a freelance writer, editor, and book reviewer.

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  • Pauline Hawkins

    My son has weekly chores and behaviors that he gets money for. He is my third child, so I’ve used all three methods you mentioned in your article. We didn’t have money with my first child; we gave my 2nd child an allowance, but also paid for things she wanted (Mostly because we felt guilty for how little money we had with the first one; I now realize the error of guilt-filled parenting); and now, with my son, we give him a weekly allowance, but he buys the things he wants. I only pay for the necessities with him. He can make his own choices on toys and has regretted some decisions. He has learned to save up his money for things he really wants, which did not happen with my middle child. Even though the concept of money is a valuable benefit here, my son is aware of the positive behaviors I want him to have because of the consequences and benefits of listening, telling the truth, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning his room, doing his homework… I won’t know if this method makes a difference in the long run (the other two are grown and out of the house and I see the benefits and problems with the other methods), but I know I don’t struggle with him at the store anymore. If he has money he makes his own decisions; if he doesn’t have money, he knows he has to save his money to get whatever it is he wants.