Allowances vs Payments for Chores: What’s Best?

What is the best way to raise kids to become responsible Catholic adults?  Should they “get” an allowance or earn it?  Should you pay kids for doing chores?

Those are trick questions, because everyone’s family and situation is different!   Some experts believe giving an allowance should be used strictly to teach money management skills and therefore should not be tied up with rewards or punishment.

Then you have Lewis Mandell, professor emeritus of finance and economics at State University of New York in Buffalo, who asserts that paying your children an allowance is cruel. Really?  He may want to turn me in to child services.

Personally, I am for an unconditional allowance and against paying my children for chores.  Here are a few reasons why:

I believe chores are their responsibility.

I want them to understand they are obligated to help with chores because they are members of the family who live in the house, not because they’d get money for it.  I want to develop a sense of responsibility and pride in our home and all work together to take care of it.

I want to help them learn independence and financial responsibility. 

They get “paid”  unconditionally once a month so they can experience and develop skills to prioritize wants, weigh their choices, learn to budget, practice patience and live with consequences of bad decisions.  They both understand advertising propaganda and scams!

I feel it is my responsibility as a parent to teach my children to be self-sufficient adults.

It is important they learn how to do laundry, cook, and care for a home.  They need the practice.   I don’t charge them to teach, so they shouldn’t expect to be paid to learn.  Plus I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking they should get a reward for simply doing what they are supposed to be doing.

My kids are proud of themselves and the contributions they make in our home.

They feel more capable and mature than their friends who have no responsibilities.  I’ve actually heard them say this!

I know my kids, and they would choose not to do the chores.

If chores were tied to an allowance at my house, they would sometimes choose not to get the allowance rather than have to do chores for it.  It would become a choice for them and a struggle for me.  It would open up a whole other can of worms dealing with being docked pay for chores in arrears or wanting to get paid for absolutely every little thing.  Sometimes I need my kids to do something extra because I need their help.  They should be cooperative and helpful because it’s the right thing, not because there’s an extra five bucks in it for them.

Allowance vs payment for chores

Have you ever felt like someone was reading your mind?   Themint.org  has a great article that lists more of what I would have added here if they hadn’t read my mind and already written it before me!   Like paying extra for “big” chores as a way for kids to earn extra cash and determining what items will be their responsibility vs. which ones you will continue to provide for them.

My children have matured a lot from the days when $1 in their hands meant you had to go to the dollar store immediately so they could spend it right away and get something NOW.

My son plans his purchases around his allowance to get the best electronics and games.  He strategizes how to combine expected future gift money with his allowance to be able to afford a coveted item or determine whether he should pay for his own XBox Live card one month.

My daughter loves to save up her money.  She rarely parts with any.  She will beg me for something she wants, and if I tell her she should buy it with her own money, she most often says it is not important enough.  Except for gifts.  Sweet girl that she is, she does not mind spending her savings on presents for others.

What are your views?  Are you in favor of unconditional allowance or against it?  What do you think about paying kids for chores?

Copyright 2014 Deborah Shelby

6 Comments
  1. Lisa
    January 30, 2014 | Reply
    • January 30, 2014 | Reply
  2. Peg
    January 30, 2014 | Reply
    • January 30, 2014 | Reply
  3. January 31, 2014 | Reply
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