Someone has to teach our kids about money, right? That’s what we have to do as parents. We have to find a way to teach our kids all the valuable lessons in life that are going to help them grow into successful people and successful adults. Money and finance is important; and we have to teach our kids about it. My husband and I have four small kids. Our oldest is 7, and if there is one thing we’ve learned as parents is that we learn something new every single day, and that we make mistakes every single day.
One of the aspects of raising our kids I was adamant about was allowance. I got it growing up, but I didn’t get it for the same things that other people get it for. Since becoming a parent, it’s kind of the only real belief I stuck with raising our kids. Before our oldest daughter was born, I had a laundry list of things I was going to do, she wasn’t going to do and how we would raise her. She would never have an attitude or talk back to us. She would never misbehave, and she certainly would not ever do that (insert whatever someone else’s kids were doing at that point in time and rest assured we were far superior not-yet parents who knew our kids would never).
Of all the things we said we’d never do, the only things we actually stuck with were not allowing our kids to sleep in our beds, not allowing our kids to get away with being disrespectful to anyone and not paying them allowance. You see, I’m not paying my kids to do things that are just good manners. I never got paid to make my bed. I never got paid to do the dishes or keep my bathroom or bedroom clean growing up. I didn’t get paid to do those things. Why? Because my parents said those are things you just do as a human being, and you do not get paid to do them.
Think of it this way; you brush your teeth every single night before bed and every morning when you wake up, right? It’s habit, and it’s good hygiene and it’s also just a part of life. It’s good manners and it’s what you do. Well, the same goes for keeping your home neat and clean, your dishes washed and things done around the house. Did your parents pay you to brush your teeth growing up? No; and you also did not get a trophy for participating in sports – you got one if you were the best or the winner.
I’m not paying my children to be neat. It’s not a job; it’s a way of life. I wouldn’t pay them to bathe; they’re just expected to do that. Just as they are expected to keep their rooms tidy, to put their dirty dishes in the sink and to pick up toys and put them back when they are finished playing with them. It is what we lovingly refer to as basic cleanliness and manners in our home.
My kids do earn an allowance; but it’s for work. We pay them to make good grades on their report card because school is their job. They go to it every day, they learn and they do their homework. It’s their job. Making their bed is manners. I’m not paying my kids when they say thank you, and I’m not paying them when they put a dish in the sink. I will pay them to do their job successfully each report card period. I will also pay them to do other jobs around the house. If they’d like to earn some money, they know that they can offer to do things that are not just common good etiquette. They can do jobs that are extras; like helping us change our twins’ diapers or watch them while we make dinner.
We have no problem paying our kids to do jobs we might pay someone else to do, but we aren’t paying them to learn to be good people. I know other people do choose to pay their kids to do things like this, but I have one thing to ask you to consider. When your kids are grown up and no one is going to pay them to clean up after themselves and keep their houses clean and free of filth, are they going to do it? Some might, and some won’t. Instead of teaching our kids that they deserve compensation for being basically clean, we teach them that it’s just a way of life so that it sticks with them forever. They’re young, but they get it and they’re learning a lot from that; we’ll mess them up in some other aspect of life, I’m certain.
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