Thursday, January 9, 2014

Allowances........To Pay.....or Not To Pay.....

I think one of the rights of passage from child to young adult, is the age old debate of whether or not your parents give you an allowance.  Back in "my day" my parents were of the opinion that because they were providing food, shelter, and clothing, we didn't need an allowance.  My brother and I were expected to do certain chores.......without complaining.........and get them done when expected.  The alternative of not doing them was some sort of punishment.  Needless to say, we weren't always happy about this particular philosophy, but guess what......the treat of punishment out-weighed the desire to not do the chores!

The debate will probably never end as long as there are people having children. I've seen every kind of position on this, and while some are way out there, there are a few that seemingly make logical sense.  I ran across an article on a father, Jake Johnson, who decided that rather than just paying an allowance to their son for certain chores, they would leave it up to him to decide what needed to be done, and then pay him accordingly.  At first I was a little perplexed, because unless you have a really mature child, how many of them are going to look for "meaningful" chores around the house.  However, I then harkened back to the days I taught third grade, and remembered how I marveled at my eight and nine-year-old's ability to use insight and intelligence to figure things out.  It dawned on me as a teacher, that sometimes we sell our kids short when we assume what their abilities are.

Most kids love a challenge.......especially one they get to be in charge of.  So as I pondered this, the article I read really began to make sense.  Mr. Johnson's goal was to encourage his son to take notice of the world around him, and look for things that needed to be done.  Why wouldn't any of us want to encourage that?  Why wouldn't you want your child to pay attention, look for a problem they themselves could solve, and then do it?  This kind of experience would prove to be invaluable as they go through school, and then what lucky company wouldn't want to hire someone who from early on learned how to recognize the issues, and resolve them.  I personally thought his approach was brilliant.

That being said, every parent has to use the methods that work for them and their own families.  I don't think every method, every word of advice, or every person responds in the same way since we're each wired in a unique way.  I guess the point of this post is to say, think outside the box when it comes to compensating your children with an allowance.  It can be fun, it can be challenging, it can be frustrating.......but no matter what you choose, it should be a lesson learned each time that will benefit them when they grow up.

I'm do you feel about allowances?

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