Skip giving your child an allowance for chores

Money shouldn’t be doled out for rewards or punishment

  2 Premium content image

by

From the November 2015 issue of the magazine.

  2 Premium content image
Parents watching son putting coin into piggy bank (Chris Ryan / Getty Images)

(Chris Ryan / Getty Images)

Q: I want to give our son an allowance with no strings attached. My husband wants it to be based on doing chores. Whose approach is better?

—The Kid’s All Right, Regina

A: Get ready to gloat: yours is. It’s easy to understand why your husband believes in the chores-for-money approach, though. No one wants to teach kids they’re entitled to something for nothing. But parents must keep in mind that allowance is supposed to be a tool that teaches saving, budgeting and deferring gratification. It shouldn’t be doled out for rewards or punishment. Put another way, you don’t get paid to take out the trash, so why should your son? Besides, do you really want to teach a child that making money is tied to drudgery? If you do decide on the no-strings-attached tactic, just be sure you dole out a little financial guidance to go along with that money.

Got a delicate money question? Send it to ask@moneysense.ca

2 comments on “Skip giving your child an allowance for chores

  1. This is terrible advice. And telling the writer that she can now “gloat” because a writer for MoneySense agrees with her is moronic.

    This article is based on so many false premises. Firstly, that work is a punishment. Work is not a punishment, but something that needs to be accomplished in order to achieve goals. In the example given here, the garbage must be taken out so that the home can be clean. Where is the punishment her, except for the lazy person?

    Secondly, the writer Kira Vermond doesn’t seem to understand the principle of escalating work and responsibilities. She writes “you don’t get paid to take out the trash, so why should your son?”. The child in this instance hasn’t yet gained the skills for a career, so, like everyone else, they need to start at the bottom and gain the skills of carrying out routine tasks for the family and get paid for consistency.

    Thirdly, the writer states: “But parents must keep in mind that allowance is supposed to be a tool that teaches saving, budgeting and deferring gratification”. Why should the fact that the child gets paid for chores preclude the lessons noted above? An allowance teaches saving, budgeting, deferring gratification AND the value of consistent work.

    Reply

    • I absolutely agree with Stan Lee. This is terrible advice. There is no value in getting used to free money. It will only create hardship when you haven’t learnt or built the habits of having to work for it, like we all do as adults.

      Reply

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *