My husband and I differ on whether or not to offer an allowance. He said chores are a part of being a member of the family. I think offering allowance helps children learn how to handle money. How can we resolve this?
Q: My husband and I differ on whether or not to offer an allowance. He said chores are a part of being a member of the family. I think offering allowance helps children learn how to handle money. How can we resolve this?
Make a List
Should kids do chores? They definitely should. Should kids receive an allowance for doing chores? That is the ongoing saga amongst parents and professionals.
It's important to teach a child the natural consequences of money. Which means the only way you get money is to earn it; there is no entitlement program in life. If kids have to work for their money, they also will start to understand and hopefully appreciate how hard it is to work and earn money. However, we also want our children to develop a work ethic, which is a sense of accountability and a drive to succeed. Doing chores without getting paid for doing them allows the reward to be an internal sense of accomplishment which develops work ethic.
My suggestion is for parents to create a list of family chores the children do because they are members of the family. Then create a list of extra chores the children can do to earn money, usually jobs that the parents might pay someone else to do, like washing the car. Extra chores help teach the children to appreciate hard work and to understand that earning money involves work.
Lower School Director
Chesapeake Bay Academy
I believe parents should give their children an allowance for certain chores. Although children need to contribute to the family, giving them an allowance will teach responsibility and money management. When children do their chores without being told it teaches them responsibility. As an incentive for doing certain chores, a child could receive an allowance every two weeks or whenever the parents decide. Parents can also decide which chores are deemed part of being a family and which chores a child can receive an allowance for. The allowance will teach the children money management. Parents can show their children how to allocate money for spending and savings. If a child would like a game or toy, parents can teach their child to set aside money to purchase that item.
Director of Program Services
Boys and Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula
If your husband believes that children should contribute their fair share of household work, paying for chores may undermine this principle. To teach money management, apply the same hands-on strategies you use to teach other responsible behaviors.
Acknowledge that you already give your children money. Use the amount you spend for clothes, snacks, and entertainment to help you determine a reasonable allowance. Depending on age, allow them to manage some of those expenses. Show them how to shop for good deals. You will spend less in the long run and they will learn to live within their means if you don't bail them out! Help them develop a budget. Include savings, charity, living expenses, entertainment and guidelines for spending in each category. Identify tasks, beyond chores, for which they can earn additional money for extras.
As parents, we want to prepare our children to become successful adults. Here's what Warren Buffet said about the importance of instilling sound financial habits in children, "One way or another you develop financial habits when you're very young. And the habits you develop live with you for the rest of your life."
Carole B. Whitener
Professor of Early Childhood Development
Tidewater Community College
Next Month's Question
We are hosting a family holiday dinner. Every year, our three children, ages 14 to 9, complain about having to clean and prepare for company. They enjoy the party, but not the work before and after? I'm tired of the complaining.
If you'd like to help readers solve a parenting challenge, or if you have a parenting challenge of your own, send your questions or responses to Jennifer O'Donnell, editor, at email@example.com.
Source: Tidewater Parent Magazine