Hey Smart Moms!
If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll notice I write about a myriad of subjects–from finance, to projects, to parenting. And for this post, I want to combine a couple of those things.
Namely finance and parenting.
My son came home from school the other day, in a huff. He abruptly asked me where his money was. A little confused, and taken aback by his attitude, I asked what money he was referring to.
“My allowance, Mom. My friend Nixon told me he gets money every week, and HE just bought a flying helicopter! You never give me my money!”
First of all, I never knew my son was so confrontational!
So I took a breath and asked him what he has done to earn the money. (Because it’s the rule that if they ask for money, they have to do special chores to earn it.) He stammered that his friend doesn’t have to do special chores to get an allowance. He just GETS money.
I made the mistake of asking why he thought Nixon’s parents would just give him money without Nixon having to do extra jobs to earn it. My son mumbled that it was probably because Nixon’s parents loved him more.
And that hurt my feelings a little bit. But, rather than snapping something back, as was my initial reaction, I just told him to think about my question again. I told him we would talk about it when Dad came home.
Later that night, the three of us sat down for what we call “counsel time.” My husband and I explained to our son that we didn’t know how things worked at Nixon’s house, but that we are different parents with different rules.
We explained together that money doesn’t mean love or the lack thereof. My husband talked about how he has to go to his job and work very hard to earn the money to buy our house and food and even toys for the kids. I told my son about how when I’m on my computer working, that that is why I get money too.
He protested that he has to clean his room, help with dishes, and trade doing things like sweeping and dusting and washing windows. I paused, because I could see where he was coming from.
Luckily my husband interjected right then to point out that “mommy also does the dishes. She cleans the house and makes dinner. She takes care of the kids, changes diapers,. And one pays her for that.” I jumped in by noting that Dad helps with the house jobs when he gets home from work, and how he fixes the cars when they have problems, and helps mommy when she is tired. And we told him that neither of us get paid to do any of those things.
We discussed the importance of everyone helping with the house because we all live there and make messes. I asked my son if he thought he should give his dad some money for picking up his Batman figures that were strewn across the living room all day. The toys I repeatedly asked my son to put away.
He shook his head.
I asked him why. “Because Daddy told me he just wanted to do something nice for me and Momma by helping,” he told me.
Building off that answer, I let him know that we all do jobs to help and be nice, but that doesn’t mean those things deserve money. We reminded him that when he wants a new toy or whatever, and it’s not a special occasion, that he can ask mom and dad for ‘special jobs’ to do to earn money to buy it. He agreed that that seemed fair, and he apologized for being mad earlier.
Neither my husband nor I grew up with an allowance, so we didn’t feel inclined to instigate that in our family.
Do you pay your kids an allowance?
I’d like to hear back from you Smart Mom’s! I understand that everyone has different parenting tactics, and I love to hear outside perspective. What are your thoughts? Respond in the comments below or in an email and I’ll give them a read.
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Since my kids only get money for doing special jobs, and on special occasions (birthdays, some holidays, etc.) I’ve been presenting each of my kids with a cute little piggy bank that they can keep their treasures in…not that either of them have had much interest in saving their money instead of spending it immediately on candy or little toys..but I still think it’s a good idea to give them a safe place to store money when they first get it. Trying to teach them about savings and whatnot. Plus, when my husband or I find change around the house, we will go put it in their piggys. They love that.