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Should Children be Given an Allowance?

Each week Marlborough Patch will post a question to engage local parents in a discussion about things important to them. Post away!

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Marlborough Patch invites you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Marlborough.

Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of experts and smart moms take your questions, give advice and share solutions.

Moms, dads, grandparents and the diverse families who make up our community will have a new resource for questions about local neighborhood schools, the best pediatricians, 24-hour pharmacies and the thousands of other issues that arise while raising children.

Moms Talk will also be the place to drop in for a talk about the latest parenting hot topic. Do you know of local moms raising their children in the Tiger Mother's way and is it the best way? Where can we get information on local flu shot clinics for children? How do we talk to our children about the Tucson shootings? How can we help our children's schools weather their budget cutbacks? 

So grab a cup of coffee and settle in as we start the conversation.

Lois Black March 31, 2011 at 12:34 AM
I think the answer is yes, but my kids don't get one. Mom and Dad don't agree about the reason for the allowance. I think they should get it because they are part of the family and they need to learn how to manage money. Dad thinks they should do chores, thus work for their allowance. I think they should do chores because they are part of the family and they should do the chores regardless if they get paid. What do other people do?
Damon Michaels March 31, 2011 at 02:58 PM
We tried the allowance route. Hard to get any consistency on chores getting done. Tried several methods of charts and such. So now there are regular chores to do, with money given randomly for doing a really good job, or not whining, or going above the call. Penalties exist for not checking off chores done on a chart (erasable cling on in the hallway).
Lois Black March 31, 2011 at 05:14 PM
I'm with ya! I have enough micromanagement to do, without having to micromanage chores. I instituted chores last summer. I tied privs to it, not allowance. Pick three tasks from the chore bucket, do them, and then you can do a fun thing. They learned how to do stuff and then have taken on different things. One likes managing all things trash and recycle. The other gravitated toward laundry and windexing the glass table! Both like to clean the bathroom! What is the suitable allowance these days for an 11 yo and an 8 yo? Do you give them an increase on their birthday?
Cristy Dichmann March 31, 2011 at 08:22 PM
You've given me some great ideas! I look forward to hearing if anyone knows the answer to your question , Lois, about increasing the amount with age. Damon, I like the randomness that your family does. That unpredictability must be a great motivator! We, too, haven't started allowance. My kids have more "expectations" than chores. For example, put your dishes in the sink after meals, clean up your mess (ask for help for cooking messes if needed), put a toys, clothes in hamper. Up until now, we've let them earn small prizes ($2-$5) for going above and beyond these "expectations", which are part of being in our family. However, we are gradually switching over to money as they get older. My 11yo earned $5/hr the other day for watching her 3 brothers for 2 hours while I was sick in bed.
Robyn Ripley April 01, 2011 at 11:22 AM
My daughter is turning 11 this month and we, too, struggled with the idea of an allowance. I want her to manage her own money, I want her to feel she "earns" it, AND I also want her contribute to chores around the house because she' part of the household NOT because she's getting paid. It's hard to have it all, though! We ended up offering a small weekly allowance that is tied to a few chores. Some chores are daily (like emptying the dishwasher) and some are weekly (gathering the upstairs garbage for trash day). If the chores are not done or done poorly we deduct from the allowance. Other expectations are not chores: clearing her place after a meal, helping with pets, cleaning up after herself in general -- these aren't paid chores, just what we expect from all family members. If she wants to earn extra money, we agree ahead of time on a price for a "bigger" or "special" chore. It's working for us and it's only $3 a week -- small enough for her to want to do a "bigger" chore every once in a while! If we raise her allowance on her birthday, we'll also negotiate another chore to go with it!
Damon Michaels April 01, 2011 at 06:58 PM
Thanks for the additional ideas everyone. The randomness doesn't seem to be a huge motivator, but it does clearly show to my oldest what a "over the top" or "helpful" job is. Maybe it will kick in someday. The cleaning up after ones self has been extremely difficult. It simply is not happening unless we nag. I don't like to nag, it's annoying.
Bill at FamZoo April 06, 2011 at 09:58 PM
We take a similar approach to what Robyn described - deduct from allowance balance when chores get blown off (ideally the exception and not the rule). Here's a picture of a recent "violation": http://www.flickr.com/photos/famzoo/5580269279/
Lois Black April 07, 2011 at 12:31 PM
I wanted to share that, regarding allowances at my house, I'm starting to stir the pot! We have expectations at our house too, very similar to what all of you have mentioned here. But my youngest has regular chores for which he has taken responsibility. So evil mom announced this morning... "I think (Youngest) has shown responsibility to do a chore well and consistently and I think he is ready to get an allowance. Now if (oldest) can do the same, we can start giving an allowance." Oldest issues a typical tween response, you know what I'm talking about... So I'm hoping that soon I can get some compliance and then I can start giving them an allowance and they can learn how to manage their money. I just need to get everyone on board. RE: FamZoo - interesting app!

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