I just got in this heated debate with my sister about the issue of giving my daughter an allowance for doing chores. For quite some time she's pretty much the one responsible for cleaning up hers and Kenzi's room and their playroom. Just recently I feel that Kenzi actually helps her finally but before she helped poor Ave, whether she made the mess or not, was usually the one cleaning it up. She also helps clear the dinner table some nights and now that we have a dishwasher she also helps by emptying the silverware sometimes.
I do think she should do these things because well there are just some things you do because it's what you're suppose to do. Everything she does she shouldn't do just because she gets a reward, but I do know my daughter as much as my well meaning sister may forget that fact. Even though yes sometimes I will have to fight with her to pick up her room or playroom, there are other times she'll tidy it all up just because she's either tired of the mess or she wants to surprise me. She'll also jump in with helping me around the house with chores because again she does it because she has a good heart.
I find two purposes with paying her an allowance. One it teaches her the idea of working for your money so just like with this past vacation she will get a little practice seeing that when it comes to money you have to choose what you're going to buy with what you have because you can't buy everything. I think it's important to learn early that you can't buy everything you want so spend your money wisely.
Even though I will at first give her this money to put in her piggy bank and will let her spend some of it, some of it is also going in her savings with the other money we've been putting in their monthly in hopes of building her a little head start when all those expenses around 16 start coming at us and her faster than we can keep up with. This lead to the second argument.
I worked since I was sixteen, chose to go to community college first because I had an academic scholarship that paid for the first two years there. From there I got a transfer scholarship to a university and after four years total with a Bachelors took out less in loans than what it cost for the first year of college today. Throughout both college experiences I worked and paid for a lot of my extra expenses like rent, utilities, groceries, car payment, insurance, and phone. My parents would slip me a little grocery money when they could and paid my car while I was student teaching. This was all a very valuable experience to me. However, I think if my parents would have been able to help us a little more they would have. It's just there were three of us, and they just didn't have the means to do it. I don't think negatively of this experience at all.
However, again my well meaning but childless sister thinks that they need the tough love parenting whether we have the means to help them or not. No allowance, get a job at sixteen to pay for everything, community college first to save money, and work and loans to get their Bachelors. Even though Nate and I disagree on this I do support the idea of them getting a job in high school unless they're a four season athlete, and again unless they're on an athletic scholarship they're going to have to work to help cover their college expenses. There is plenty time in college to work, and I will expect them to do that first before taking out unnecessary loans. I'm not for paying for everything for them because I don't think it teaches them anything valuable. However, I know with things like prom, driving, college, and then weddings and possibly their first house all within the span of possibly ten years (16-26) it's a crazy expensive time of their life.
My parenting thinking is give them as much of a head start as I can. If we can save up money for her to have a small savings to build on when she does start working part time at 16 or 17 and have a small college savings to help off set the cost hopefully she will learn the value of work ethic and managing money wisely and hopefully not start out in the adult world buried in ridiculous debt from school loans and life events like marriage and home down payments. These are huge expenses. I don't see us realistically or even expect us to cover the expenses of all of these but I don't really think I should deny them our help if we can help them.
So what are your thoughts on giving kids an allowance for chores? On them working in high school and/or college? On paying for college? I would love to hear what you have to say. Feel free to disagree with me :)
May is Here