Allowance or No Allowance?

It’s a question that many parents have debated for decades: do we give our children an allowance or not?

In the 1950’s, kids raked in 15 cents a week, and now parents are giving their kids as much as 10 dollars.

11-year old Maya Tucker has been saving her money for months on something that caught her eye. “Right now I am saving for a flip video camera and I almost have enough,” said Tucker.

This isn’t money from a recent birthday; it’s hard-earned cash. Every week Maya and her brother Luke receive a two dollar allowance for doing chores.

“We brush our teeth, clean our floor, and make our bed,” said Maya Tucker.

If Maya does extra chores she gets an additional dollar a week.

“You can pretty much do simple things that you regularly do and you can get money for it,” said Tucker.

According to an economic research group only 41% of parents give an allowance and most 11 years-olds receive a $5.50 every week. Some psychologists say there’s another side to the coin.

“If you link it to chores it could be a little problematic when they think they do anything around the house and they should be paid for it,” said Psychologist Mary Plonis.

Dr. Plonis works with families that give an allowance for getting grades and she says that giving allowances is not.

“It builds a consequence,” said Plonis. “It doesn’t build in a sense of responsibility, or accountability for maintaining your grades or your part of the family responsibility.”
That family responsibility is what the Tuckers want to establish in their home. They also want the allowance to be a starting point for teaching the kids about money management.

“It has made them more conscious on how much things cost and if they want to make the choice on spending their own money or save it for something bigger,” said Maya’s mom Valerie Tucker.

If you think your children are ready for an allowance, Dr. Plonis suggests having an open family conversation about the topic. Try to have the kids think about something they want to save for and put the chores on paper so everyone can see it.

“The kids have been pretty good by not saying, ‘can I have an extra dollar’ they know there are some extra responsibilities that are a part of the family,” said Tucker.

No matter how long it takes for Maya to save for her video camera, she knows that with every dollar spent there’s a little elbow grease attached to it.

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