Monday, August 01, 2011

kids make awesome little servants...

... so my son asked me for an allowance the other day. I asked him where he learned such a foul loathsome word and, of course, he said he learned it at school. Rotten public school children and their corrupting wicked ideas! So I told him we don't use that kind of language in this house and banished him to his room lest he gets any more crazy ideas.

Then I went to work today and asked some of my co-workers if they give their kids *shudder* an allowance. Can you believe it, they did. Every single last one of them. They all gave their kids money.

I asked them what they made their kids do to earn the money and they looked at me like I suddenly started speaking Klingon. Seriously?! You mean to tell me there are people out there just handing out their hard money to their offspring... just because? I need to be adopted by those people.

You do realize what a well spring of slave labor is at your disposal?

For a 25¢ a stick, my son will pick up yard debris. The sticks are then dumped into the fire pit. Later, when we have enough kindling to make a blaze seen from space, we invite the neighbors over and have s'mores.

He gets $2 for every flower bed he weeds and I pay one nickle per bug picked off the vegetables in the garden. What lawn service are you going to find cheaper than your very own children. For the industrious parent, you can send them to work the whole neighborhood. I can't think of a better way to promote a hard working entrepreneurial spirit in your child laborer/tender offspring.

When he gets a little older, I told him he can start washing the windows for a 1$ per pane. He's not tall enough now, and besides, how tacky is it looking out of half clean windows. I mean really now! But when he hits that growth sport, look out. I told him all about the money making opportunities that are in store for hard working young men, such as himself.

You can't even get even get a Mexican for those prices! Kids are like gold. I don't understand why more people aren't having them. I know!

So, for all those parents out there just handy out the greens like a Barack before election... stop it! You're ruining the fun for the rest of us!


Ok, getting serious for a moment...

Allowance for the sake of allowance or do you make them earn their money? Or are you of the mind set that chores are an expected part of being a responsible member of the family and not something that should be bought. Discuss.

37 comments:

Christina said...

The way my mom wanted to do it (but never could due to lack of money) was there were a certain set of chores that you were required to do. If you went above & beyond you would get money. Or if arrangements were made beforehand, like if you wanted to buy something it could be negotiated what chores would count towards earning the money.

But for the most part we just didn't have the money.

Katie said...

In our house, my husband and I came from two different traditions. My parents expected a set of chores for a set amount of money. Then they paid us extra for extra chores. His parents expected chores to be done because you were a member of the household and then gave money based on real (or perceived) need. For example, if you were going to the movies, you got enough to get in and a little extra for popcorn. (These days, that would require a second mortgage.)
We fall somewhere in the middle, but there is not a set allowance that our children get. It depends on what they are doing and whether they have been a productive member of our household in the immediate past. Some weeks we give nothing, whether or not they were helpful and cooperative. Some weeks there is a windfall for them when they have gone the extra mile. Some of that is determined by our finances.
Frankly, I believe the way my parents did it worked best. All of my siblings seem to have a healthy work ethic and are not afraid to strike out on their own to find new and better ways to improve the economy of their households. I cannot say the same for my husband's siblings, but some of that is temperament.

Fr. Erik Richtsteig said...

Give him an allowance, but deduct unfinished or sloppy chores from it. Heck, he may end up owing you money.

Kathleen said...

When I was growing up we had set chores, and were paid in lunch money. If we wanted to spend it on something else we had to pack our own brown bag lunch. There was always food to do this with. We could also earn extra money for large jobs like cleaning out the garage. But we were expected to contribute more, fee free, when daily need was higher.

Just another mad Catholic said...

When I was in Elementry school my sister and I were given £3.60 a week for completing a set number of chores with deductions for chores that were not done.

Later one when my dad left my mother gave my Sister and I an allowance of £10 a week each (stopped at at 18) which from age 16-17 I supplimented with a £15 a week paper round and finally 12 hours on weekend working at the local equivalent of walmart on the tills.

Caroline McCamley said...

We have 4 kids, and at one stage we did do "pocket money". But we ran in to a problem, in the end, the kids would do nothing unless they were being paid for it! Kids can be so good at manipulation. So that ended that!

Stephanie said...

Our children earn their allowances. They have certain responsibilities, which are posted in the kitchen along with descriptions of what is expected. Their allowance is based on completion on responsibilities. Birthdays are a freebie; they get the day off with pay. : )

Lazy Disciple said...

A delicate question with a complicated answer: neither of the above.

Children should do chores according to their age and ability.

Children of a certain age may receive an allowance. An allowance, however, is always a free gift. It must never be allowed to be (or be conceived as) payment for services rendered. Then it would not be an allowance; it would be a wage.

Jacque said...

Kids + money = trouble.
It makes them to independant at a young age.

Children should learn that certain chores are part of being a member of the family.

I was a single mother most of my kids life. They need to learn resposability not how to earn money from Mom.

Just my 2cents

P.s. I earned allowance as a kid and I still hate to do my house work. I'm a good employee though.

The Crescat said...

Caroline, you make an excellent point. My son actually said once "what's in it for me?" when i told him to go wash and wax my car. Ingrate.

I was a tad proud of his shrewdness... for a second.

I honestly don't believe in an allowance for the sake of allowance... mostly because I am broke. But I DO LOVE the idea of deducting from chores done poorly.

Maybe I should make him do his chores, at no cost to me of course, and give him the *chance* to earn money by doing extra chores.

One day when he didn't want to do chores I said "Fine, no money for you!" His reply, "I have everything I need, thanks."

Smug little punk. Where does he get his attitude?!

Steven John Bosco said...

My parents never did an allowance. We helped with the chores as a basic expectation. Sometimes if we did well we'd get a little something - going to a movie or something like that. No free money.

For me now, I'll just do stuff that needs to be done. I don't particularly care if I get paid or not. Yeah, I kinda need money for school and stuff, but I wish I could just work for the sake of being helpful. :/

SCCatholic said...

Then there are the parents who pay for good grades. What???

The Crescat said...

SCCatholic, I know right! I am going to do a separate post on that where people can offer their comments.

For now, I want to keep grades out this thread.

Dymphna said...

I got lunch money and just stopped eating so I could use it at the bookstore on Fridays. The chores were pretty light. I had wash dishes, sweep and vacumn.

Jana said...

I'm only 33, and as far as allowances were concerned we weren't given one. My dad suggested that he'd give us a dime for chores done. I think he thought it was still the 1950s where .10 could buy you something. We were paid for our grades but it wasn't much. An A was $1 and a B was .50, Cs were nothing and Ds or Fs were big trouble. If I had 6 classes I could get $6. I don't think it was a good system though. My grades were never great and I usually had mostly Cs and Bs with an A or two. I made most of my money off my neighbors who paid me to garden, water their property when they were gone on vacation, and babysitting. My brothers mowed lawns and had paper routes. We were poor but we were very enterprising.

Stephanie said...

I should have mentioned that this is the case only for our two oldest. They are 12 and 11 years old. Our younger two (ages 5 and 4 months) have no formal "chores." We just started this within the last year for the two older ones. Let's face it. They would like some spending money and their only sources of income are birthdays, Christmas, and the occasional pet-sitting for neighbors. This is a good way to begin teaching them responsibility with earning money, saving money, budgeting money, and the consequences of not meeting their responsibilites (loss of earnings.) They are still expected to help out with some other things around the house just because it is part of being a member in a family.

But my husband and I do not pay for grades. A good grade for hard work well done is a reward in and of itself.

Love this discussion and seeing what other people do.

Mitch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mitch said...

When I was a kid I got an allowance of $20 a month (somehow my younger siblings tricked my parents into giving them that much a week) but we all had a list of chores that had to be done. The allowance was sometimes tied to the completion of the chores, although some months we still received allowances despite not finishing all our chores but were made to listen to nearly hour long lectures about the importance of hard work, never quitting, finishing work on time, etc. To sit through those was more painful than completing our chores.

Daniel said...

Allowance? pfff.... My brothers and I never had such things. We were expected to do as we were told (as far as I know it is still that way for my younger siblings at home too!).

If you were asked to mow the lawn, you did it. If you were asked to clean the house, you did it. Furthermore, we were never to expect anything for it. You did it because, you know, we were family. Also, to do the contrary might have incurred the wrath of one, maybe two, otherwise gentle parents (kind-of a Teddy Roosevelt thing). Some things in our house were excusable, but disobedience was never one of them.

Were I not a seminarian I imagine I would run my own house the same way.

I say, let your son develop in virtue by doing his house work in charity toward his wonderful mother!

Bridget said...

When I was a kid, I did receive a modest allowance, but I had to earn it doing chores.

Clark Whitney said...

I was given my allowance with no chores expected and this was in the 80s. Most of the kids I knew in the neighborhood did some kind of work to earn their allowance and the funny thing was I really wanted to do something, contribute something to the upkeep of the house. Load the dishwasher, cut the lawn, help in the garden, wash the car, even make my bed, etc... But nope, wasn't allowed. I was the youngest with a huge age gap in between and no one felt me capable of doing anything. So, based on my experience of being allowed to help around the house I vote for make them work. It gives them a sense of being a apart of what is happening within the family and a sense of pride in their home environment.

THE JOHNSONS said...

Around here, the eldest 5 (youngest is 3 yrs old)do regular chores because that is simply how we as a family do our part to help the household run smoothly. 16 yr old son makes good money doing lawn care in the neighborhood. 13 yr old daughter makes pretty decent money doing local babysitting, pet sitting, & dog walking. 11 & 9 yr old sons also make a few bucks with dog walking, car washing, weeding, snow shoveling, etc. for neighbors. No money from mom & dad for chores. No way we'd give money for grades...bet that will be an interesting post/comments!

Anonymous said...

Kat, I have two words of advice for you:

Dave Ramsey.

Go get his books and start reading his thoughts about kids and money. The guy is brilliant and your kid won't grow up spoiled rotten if you adopt his approach to letting kids earn their cash.

KDaunt said...

I have four brothers and one sister. When we were younger we had to do chores (and the results were inspected) before we got our allowance. We also had to have them done before we could go out and play. When I was old enough to get a job (paper boy) my parents said that they would continue to buy me school and church clothes, but that I would take on the responsibility of paying for my play clothes. I remember when I gleefully went shopping for Levis jeans (the fashion at the time - 1968) I was shocked that they cost $7.50 a pair. I settled for no-name brand. One of the best lessons I ever learned.

Allison Welch said...

I have 2 boys 14 and 11 and we have never given allowance. The boys have a few chores they are expected to do (dinner dishes, put their laundry away, take out the trash, feed the pets...) I figure that's part of living in a family. THEN...We went to hear John Rosemond speak. He suggested helping your teen learn to manage money by essentially setting him/her up with a budget for expenses and depositing the money monthly into an account in the child's name. SO... my 9th grade son just opened a checking account! He has to show us a balanced statement each month before the next months deposit will be made. At first it irked me to be just "giving him money" every month, but actually, it's money we already spend on him, this just gives him more control/responsibility over buying some of the things he needs/wants. We just started doing it but I've already noticed he's a thriftier at the stores, but it's too early to call this project a success. I'll let you know how it goes...

Laura said...

Make them earn it and then take it back for room and board.

fxr2 said...

I was the oldest of 7 children. My parents never gave me an allowance. They paid my catholic school tuition through 8th grade. I had a choice of attending catholic or public school. If I wanted to attend catholic high school, which of course I did. I had to pay my own tuition. I managed to start my own lawn service pushing or pulling my lawnmower on my bike my around the neighborhood. Occasionally I was given a few dollars for the movies or ice cream, etc. If and only if my chores were done.

Jane said...

I started getting an allowance ($20 a month) when I was 12. The allowance was not compensation for chores or grades, although it could be taken away if I failed in either department.

My allowance was compensation for entertaining my parents. I was taking several kinds of music lessons, and besides regular practicing I was expected to give my parents little after-dinner concerts a couple of times a week, and be ready to show off any time visiting friends or relations asked. I was really shy about performing, so they were basically bribing me to do it.

Just another mad Catholic said...

@ Laura

I hope you're having a joke

doughboy said...

WTH! paying kids for doing work around the house they should (read: NEED) be doing simply for being a part of the household?! c'mon you guys. kids need to learn that money is not owed to them, and that responsibilities come with being part of family. what's he gonna think when you're old & gray, kat, and you need your depends changed? "what's in it for me." nope. we kids (and i'm youngest of eight) were never paid for chores, and looking back, i don't regret that. i started earning money with lawn mowing at the age of 14 (residential and commercial) with my brother and made more than 8K by the time i was 17.

Julie said...

We had this discussion here at our house last year (Schoolhouse Rock planted the seed, I think) and to our surprise, we ended up in the allowance-without-strings camp. We're very clear that their chores are a part of living here - but their allowance isn't a wage. They get an allowance so that they can learn how to manage money.

The more I read about other people's philosophies, the more I realized that my kids needed something with no strings attached. There are strings galore in our house - conditions abound. If you do this, then you can do that. You can't eat this unless you eat that first. Ad nauseum. We felt that it would be good to mirror grace to them in this small way - God knows I don't deserve His grace and yet He continually showers it on me. He's good like that. So even when my kids have been a little rotten, I give them their two bucks a week.

Smiley said...

allowance??????
if you did not work you got the belt. geeze Kat your slipping. he's lucky he gets food, shelter and clothing on your tab.
the next time he asks, you take him out to walmart or some place like that and you but a nice manly sized leatehr belt (real leather not the fake stuff) and you tell him on the drive home what the belt is for. What it really is for.
if you need instructions on how to make a nice aerodynamic paddle with low wind resistance ask me

Smiley said...

we really never got money at all. the only time we got money was on birthdays and if we got scolarships and prizes at school. this money was promtly put into our bank accounts so we really did not get to spend it. i am kinda shocked at the responses that you got paid to do chores. my parents would have none of that. you got food, shelter, clothing and education, you had better ship up and get good marks or else....
you westerners may call it child abuse, but then you make up a very tiny minority in the world.

Smiley said...

do children get a free ride at home that is what this all boils down to. you are a member of a family, you are expected to be a part of that family and do what the others do. secondly with matters of education, parents pay for it and thus the kid cannot take it for granted and thus should perform to the best of his ability. paying a kid to do well in school grinds my gears, on he contrary if a kid i underperforming in school due to laziness there should be sharp consequences.

The Crescat said...

After reading these comments, I am going to make a few changes. Like demand my free labor as a privilege for my son to be an active member of my family and pay him for going above and beyond with deductions for sloppy work.

So far the best idea I ever came up with that actually works, if taking all my sons toys and clothes that he leaves laying about in a basket locked away in my room. Since he can't put them up I make him buy them back for me for a $1 a piece.

Ink said...

Allowance? Not in this house. If we want to go somewhere, we can ask for money, but often we have to dig it out of our own birthday/Christmas/Easter stash. Any exceptionally large amounts of money and checks are deposited into bank accounts. I am the oldest and only just got a checking account (I'm off to college soon).

Misbehaviour results in the limiting and/or removal of privileges such as internet/computer and the right to have friends over.

Bossilla said...

The only times my mother gave me any sort of money was: 1)earning money through chores to pay for a present for a tag off the church's "angel tree" for the needy. 2)We got $300 to shop for school clothing at a mall outlet and when it was gone, it was gone, so it taught us to shop for clothes wisely. 3)Our church fair in the summer- we got a couple dollars to play games for quarters and benefit the church- for the win!

As a result of not having an allowance like other kids, I learned how to be sneaky with my money. I'd buy pop/soda with leftover change (when I was sent to the store, anytime I saved mom money, I was allowed to keep any spare change under 50 cents)and then sell it to my brother/parents for twice the amount citing that I saved them the time it would take to walk to the nearest machine. Believe it or not, they bought it...or felt sorry for me.