Allowances: Yeah or Nay?

I am on the fence post ( but leaning heavily one direction) concerning whether a child should receive an allowance.

Thought A: Rewarding a child monetarily for doing the work around the house that they should be doing to “earn their keep” is setting an example of “you will get paid for every mundane task you will do in life.” Which we all know ain’t gonna happen.

Thought B:Rewarding ( monetary or gifts, per se) a child encourages cooperation and possibly makes them do their chores more without as much nagging involved.

Another thought along the same lines that I would like to get everyone’s opinion on:Should children be rewarded financially for receiving good grades?

How about allowances for chores outside the regular scope of work? Define for your child what is expected to be done around the house (make your bed, pick up your clothes, etc.), and what is “outside the job description.” That should teach them responsibility and help them understand that some work just has to be done, whether you get paid or not.

I don’t reward my children for cleaning their rooms, but I do give an allowance for chores done “outside the job description”, as Guy Propski puts it. We live in a condo complex, so if my kids agree to haul the garbage bags to the dumpster, which is all the way across the complex, then I give them a dollar each. If one of them mops up the kitchen floor, which is a wood floor and a real bitch to clean, then that child gets three dollars (depending on how well the job is done, of course). However, I don’t believe in paying money for good grades. If they brought home straight A’s (which hasn’t happened yet), then I would probably reward them with a trip to whatever restaurant they wanted to go to (within reason, of course), but that would be about it.

Me and my husband, however, have discussed about whether we should pay our oldest child to watch the younger kids while we go out. We haven’t actually left him in charge of the kids yet. He’s 12, but he’s not the most responsible 12-year-old, so it will probably be at least another year or two before that happens. I never got paid to watch my younger siblings, but I think I should have been.

“We are what we pretend to be.”

  • Kurt Vonnegut

We got allowances, and we did chores, but the two were never directly connected. We were expected to do chores because it was not our parents house that they just let us live in; it was the familiy’s house and the family as a whole was responsible for cleaning it. My mother would be damned before she’d pay us to clean our own house–even extrodinary tasks, like gutter cleaning. Allowences were not directly linked to that; They were simply a gift from our parents because, once again, we were part of the family and granted a part (pretty small part) of the family’s money. I think discresionary income is good for children–it teaches them to make choices about puchases, and, in some cases, the value of saving and delayed gratification. But you don’t have to link it to chores.

Neither hubby or myself received allowances for chores or schooling. For chores, we were both raised with the philosphy of : You are a part of this house, you make a mess in this house you will contribute to the cleaning of it.Period.
My older brother decided he had had enough of mowing lawns and decided it was time that I, 12 years old, learn how to use the mower. I wasn’t stupid, it was his job and I would narc on him for having me do his work until there was some kind of graft involved. I was paid $10 a week to do his chore. When Mom found out, he got yelled (as I knew he would) at and that ended the mula ( I knew that was coming too) and the chore became mine for life.

As for school, I remember alot of kids getting money for good grades. I always wished I had that incentive, being the penny pincher I was in school, but it simply wasn’t done and in retrospect would not have made a difference in my grades. Then a life lesson down the road taught me WHY this wasn’t done in my family.

I worked with a woman who, if her kids got all A’s throughout high school, would receive a BRAND NEW FORD CAR of their choice. (Daddy worked at Ford) Both kids, nice & good students, but spoiled and lazy, picked the top of the line Mustangs.Neither of them would drive their cars to/from college because they didn’t want to put alot of miles on them. So mommy would have to schlepp them to two different campuses.Also, they wouldn’t drive their cars in the winter because Mustangs blow chunks for traction in the winters here. So, they’d borrow one of their parents cars. Meanwhile Mommy and Daddy drove beat up shitter cars that were well past their use because of the payments, even with the discount, they couldn’t afford a new car. Both these kids have been given everything: car, paid college, Oh-you-can-quit=that-job-because-it’s-to-hard, deposit on a house…etc and I wish I could be around when the parents finally die and see just what losers they raised. These kids have never worked hard for anything in their lives.

Another influencing factor was/is a girlfriend I knew in grade school was the youngest of 15. ( 8 girls, 7 boys) They were not paid for chores. Everyone had their assigned tasks and if you grew bored of your tasks, you found someone else in the family labor pool to swap. She was the best negotiater I’ve ever seen.

I got an allowance when I was a kid, but my chores had to be done before I got it. No promises to do it later, no swapping with my brother. And when I turned 16 and got my first job, the allowance stopped. Not that it was much ($5 a week), but my dad told me flat out–you’ve got a job now. Yes, you still have to do your chores here. That’s life.

I never got paid for good grades. My brother did, though. When I found out, I went ballistic. My parents sat me down and explained something to me, though. My brother was being a major f-up in school, even though there was no reason for it. He was smart enough, that’s for sure (he just graduated from college magna cum laude). They had to try something to get him motivated. They told me that I had always done well in school, and that when I brought home good grades, praising me for it and allowing me a few extra liberties (allowing me to stay out past my curfew comes to mind) seemed to work well for me. Now that I’m an adult, I can see where they were coming from. My daughter thrives on praise.

Give 'em an allowance. Make sure they earn it, though!

I’m with Manda JO: Don’t link the chores with the allowance. They should do the chores because that’s their responsibility. They get an allowance so they can learn to handle money responsibly. If they don’t do their chores and your only response is no allowance, they don’t learn anything (well, nothing good any way).

I’m personally against giving an allowance, and making the kid immediately put some into savings. Why even give them the money? What are they saving for, college? That’s orders of magnitude more than they’re going to save. Let’s see, $1 a week, for a dozen years = $624. Harvard, here I come!

It is too clear, and so it is hard to see.

I’m all for giving a kid an allowance, provided that you can afford it and you clearly state what is now their responsibility to buy (i.e. candy and toys) now that they have their own money. I also see nothing wrong with tying it into chores, as long as you aren’t paying them for every little thing they do. I don’t think that paying for good grades is a good idea, because the grade itself should be reward enough. Although, I do think having a special dinner would be appropriate.

An allowance can be a great lesson in responsibility, as long as you don’t become a great big walking wallet for your kids. We had allowances growing up, but the mistake my parents made was not letting us feel the pain of running out of money before we ran out of week. Basically, all we had to do was ask and we’d get more money, after listening to a small lecture. A kid can endure a lot of lecturing for an extra twenty bucks. Alas, I had to learn about real world the hard way…My parent’s other daughter still hasn’t learned. It’s a long story, but suffice it to say that I have two children under my roof right now, but one of them has significanly more of my DNA than the other.

I never got an allowance. I had to do the chores without renbursement.
I did shovel walks or mow grass for the neighbors for extra money. I also got something for those extra jobs beyond the regular chores. Like when we helped clean and haul bricks to rebuild the chimney.
Nothing for cleaning your own room though, or garbage take out.
I don’t feel bad about doing something for my parents and not getting paid. They kept me fed, clothed, and happy for all those years.

Another aspect of this subject. When I started bringing money into the house from babysitting I was expected to give 20 percent of what I earned to my mom.

I was not allowed to have a real job, and in a way I am and was thankful because I made a truck load of under the table non taxable money babysitting my entire neighborhood.

This money did not go for groceries or bills, But I did not know this. She simply told me I could not live anywhere else cheaper for a room and a well stocked fridge so cheaply. What she was doing with all this mula was tucking it away every time I had a handful of money and saved it for my wedding and future house. HAD I KNOWN THIS, I would not have lied and said I earned only, say, $10 ( Instead of $20) thereby cheating myself in the long run. Oh well, who knew.

I did however, understand her ways and was very appreciative. I will probably do the same for my kids.

Shirley Ujest:

You must have made some good money babysitting to have that pay for a wedding and part of a house.

I’m just teasing. My parents purchased their house for about $10,000, and it was a nice house. I’m sure your wedding didn’t cost about ten grand either.

A little off topic,but what I read triggered this.

I have an aunt that is working a second job so she can pay for her daughter’s house.

The whole family has spoiled rotten kids that expect everything from their parents, even though they are all in their late twenties, or early thirties. They got whatever they wanted as kids, and still expect it from their parents.

Holy crap!
I got $1/week until high school, when it was upped to $5/week but it also had to buy my lunches. I don’t think I ever asked my mom for more money, because she probably would have kicked my ass if I had. Even as an adult, I once asked to BORROW $5 to stop for a sandwich and she said no.

On the other hand, my uncle just bought a condo for my cousin, who is going to the U of A. He also bought her a new Jeep.

O p a l C a t

I think an allowance is important for ethical reasons: it palliates the imbalance of power between the parent and child over the child’s own life. The parent does wield a great deal of financial power over the child and should probably share. This may be a better political argument than regarding chores as indentured servitude.

Anyway, I got first $5 and then $10 a week for breathing. But I usually ended up having to use them to buy lunch at school. I eventually got jobs to finance my occasionally-wanting-to-buy-things habit. My parents are paying at least part of my university because 1) it’s cheap here and 2) it’s their duty.

I think its okay if you can afford it. Tell the kids they have to buy their own candy or toys with it. Then it comes out even.

al•low•ance \e-"lau-en(t)s\ noun (14c)
1 a : a share or portion allotted or granted
b : a sum granted as a reimbursement or bounty or for expenses <salary includes cost-of-living allowance>; esp : a sum regularly provided for personal or household expenses <each child has an allowance>
c : a fixed or available amount <provide an allowance of time for recreation>
d : a reduction from a list price or stated price <a trade-in allowance>
2 : an imposed handicap (as in a horse race)
3 : an allowed dimensional difference between mating parts of a machine
4 : the act of allowing : permission
5 : a taking into account of mitigating circumstances or contingencies