Do you pay your children to do chores? Do you provide allowances as part of a reward system?
There are people who will argue that handing your children an allowance makes you the best parent. But, other sources will say handing your children an allowance makes you the worst parent.
Sometimes it feels like you just can’t win when it comes to parenting advice.
I don’t believe you will have gotten parenting absolutely wrong if you decide to give your children an allowance. However, there are definitely right and wrong ways to go about it.
Give Money Based On Clear Factors
We all want to be fair parents. But I find it hard to believe that a 6-year-old child needs the same amount of money as their older, teenage sibling. While giving equal amounts of money is a clear, non-arbitrary factor some parents rely on, it may not be the best one.
I prefer the age-based method for calculating allowances. My children receive $1 for each year of their age; for example, our 16-year-old is given $16 a week for his allowance. They don’t argue with this rule as they look forward to becoming older and receiving a larger allowance. It helps that I also have another system set up for when they do want to earn extra money.
Pay for Above and Beyond Work
In my home, we don’t pay our children to do their chores. I feel this would create a negative power balance and does not create positive limits for my children. Also, my wife and I didn’t want our children to have the impression that they had to be paid to participate in family responsibilities.
Instead, we have a job board posted in our kitchen. On the fridge, there are extra household jobs, like deep cleaning the refrigerator, posted with a fixed price next to the job. I can always tell when a new big video game is going to be released because the jobs start disappearing from the job board!
You Are Not A Money Tree
Above all, once the allowance is given, do not give your children more money until the next allowance disbursement. I absolutely refuse to become a money tree for my children and promote spendthrift ways. So when the money’s gone, hold firm.
My second oldest learned this lesson early on. His siblings picked out treats while grocery shopping with their mother, while he didn’t have any money for his treats. My wife and I are on the same page with this. So she reminded him that he would have to wait until the next week to receive more money.
She had to endure his crocodile tears and reproving looks from other parents, but my children all learned from their sibling’s misfortune. Unsurprisingly, that son has grown to be fairly good at saving the money he earns at his part-time job.
Giving your children allowances may be controversial among other parents, but if you implement these methods, you and your children should be fine.