How should allowances be handled with children?

“Mom, there’s just chores in our household that we should always do just because we are part of a family unit. We shouldn’t get any money for doing them. You’ve always offered us money for going above and beyond, but I guess we haven’t done that very much. “

Our sixteen year old son responded with this answer when I questioned if he felt “cheated” that many other kids received allowances and he didn’t.

A question that has been asked of me numerous times is, “How do you handle allowances with your kids?” I want you to know up front that this is a highly debatable topic and in no way do I have the one “Golden” answer. It varies for each family, their financial situation, and the temperament of the children.

What I do know is that every parent needs to figure out a path to teach their children the value of money and give them the tools to understand how to manage it responsibly. Not only that, but this training needs to begin sooner than later. We begin talking financial responsibility as soon as they are able to whine for candy in the check out line.

Unfortunately, too many children of this generation are being raised with a “entitlement mentality.” Somehow there’s a sense that they are owed something and often times deserve it for nothing.

So what does that have to do with determining an allowance?

Allowances can blur this attitude if definite boundaries are not thought through and established before an allowance system is put into place. I’ve heard of too many parents who give a set weekly $$ amount to their children just for being part of the family, but what reason are you giving? These parents may determine that out of this money, kids need to pay for their clothes or fast food/snack purchases etc. If there are set boundaries for that money, it’s a good way for them to learn money management. If it’s just given, that’s where allowances might spoil children.

In our family, there are basic core chores that our children are expected to do for free because they are part of our family unit. Believe it or not, I do not want allowance tied to these basic family chores because in no way may they think they have an option of not doing them. After that, there are commissionable chores put into place where they can earn and learn if they go above and beyond the basics, but we never did a set allowance.

I have mixed feelings about that, but considering our financial circumstances at different times, it’s just not something we strictly implemented or could afford. I feel it’s crucial though to have tools in place to allow your children to earn money, set financial goals and manage their own money, you just may need to be creative with this.

So many varied opinions and options are out there on how to determine an allowance amount.  Many have weekly chores set up that kids must do in order to receive an allowance. Some give $5 for 5 chores, others give $1/year for their age. (For us, that would have been fine when our children were younger, but with five children, that gets quite expensive.)

As children get older, parents run into problems with allowances because kids tend to weigh their circumstances and decide that they would rather skip their chores for a measly $10. How will you handle that occurrence?

Trust me, with three teen age sons, we are wrestling with chores, earning money and responsibility right now. Fortunately, they are learning how to manage their money well, but it’s continual discussion with them on these topics, even when they refuse to do their chores. 😉

How do you handle allowance for your children? Click on over to the comments and let’s learn together.

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31 Days with a Mentor Mom @beautyandbedlam