Monday, February 17, 2014

No Allowance

Life skills are an essential part of homeschooling when you have a child with special needs, but they are really something everyone needs.  I fear that while kids today are learning to read and write there are still some skills that they are lacking, particularly those relating to housework.   I think part of that reason may be the fact that we pay our children for any work they do. While I think finding a way for young people to make money is a good idea, I believe that paying them for work that has to be done sends the wrong message.  Kids today grow up believing that they shouldn't have to do any work at all unless they are rewarded in some tangible way.

Too often then not, when children grow up and stop getting paid for doing their daily chores they often stop doing them.  When they move out on their own their house becomes a disaster.  Even those who manage to keep their house tidy seem to do so with a resentful and despondent attitude.  I know that I do, or at least I did until just about 10 years ago.  Back then I hated and despised housework! 

Since I have grown in my faith I now realize that there are some things just worth doing.  They don't have to be fun or compensated for to make them joyful.  Instead of whining and complaining about what we must do, we should thankful!  A lady at church told me about her grandmother who had such a great attitude about doing dishes.  When she asked her about it she said that she looked at each dish as a blessing.  The fact that she had the opportunity to feed and spend time with the person who ate the food was something to be thankful for.  You know, many people don't have dishes, or even food.  Our complaining is simply so selfish. 

To try and pass this attitude on to Gess we do not offer her any compensation for helping with the daily chores.  When Gess becomes independent she won't have the incentive of extra cash for doing things that need to be done anyway, so why start doing it now?  There are other ways for kids to make money.  I shared before about our recycling efforts and that is still her primary source of income.  Of course if there are things she wants and can't afford we sometimes buy them for her and that is OK.  Kids don't have to "earn" everything.  They are kids!  There will be time for lessons later about earning and saving up for each and every thing you own.  Besides, it is so much fun and rewarding to buy things for children who are helpful around the house!

Of course there are some tasks I will pay my daughter for.  If she cleans out or washes my car I will pay her because it is my car and my responsibility.  If my child got their own car I certainly wouldn't pay them to clean it, but I will pay them to clean mine.  When I have the grandkids over and Gess helps pick up their mess when they are gone, I will pay her then as well or give her money for "helping" me babysit them.  But dishes, laundry, sweeping, and dusting are things that everyone must help to do and for that she receives no compensation. 

I find that Gess enjoys doing chores, or at least never complains about having to do it.  There may be times she doesn't particularly want to stop something to do chores but because it is a part of every day, is something that is expected and the responsibility is shared by everyone in the house, Gess never complains.  Occassionaly I will give her a gem as a reward if she is particularly helpful or does things without my requesting it but otherwise, living in a clean and comfortable home should be enough reward in itself.



10 comments:

Yuliya Fruman said...

I really agree with you! I think that being paid to do chores definitely gives children the wrong impression! My son is 18 months old and doesn't really have chores, although he does help with vacuuming and laundry in his own way. However, as he gets older, we will definitely be giving his responsibilities around the house simply because he is a member of this family, lives in this house, and therefore has to fulfil his part in maintaining our home.

Yuliya Fruman said...

I really agree with you! I think that being paid to do chores definitely gives children the wrong impression! My son is 18 months old and doesn't really have chores, although he does help with vacuuming and laundry in his own way. However, as he gets older, we will definitely be giving his responsibilities around the house simply because he is a member of this family, lives in this house, and therefore has to fulfil his part in maintaining our home.

Alanna Rusnak said...

I love the story about the lady and the dishes...I may have to adopt that one (dishes are not my favorite!)

We do pay our children a small allowance but they are also expected to participate fully in the family - fun and work!

Domestic Imp said...

We have a similar outlook. Our kids also do the recycling to earn pocket money. Our eldest has graduated from that, and now gets paid to babysit so dh and I can escape the house now and then, alone.

OneMommy said...

Definitely agree that they shouldn't be paid for helping around the house. We all live here, and it takes all of us as a unit to make things run smoothly. Plus, as you said, kids today feel like they are owed for everything they do. Not something I want to pass on to my children.

Joanie @Simple Living Mama said...

I totally agree with you. We do not pay our children to clean up after themselves or do things that they should just do to help the family. There are other chores they will be paid for, though.

Sonya Battles said...

As a kid I didn't get allowance for chores and that's what I'm trying to teach my daughter too. Everyone's responsible for creating a neat and clean home so that we can enjoy it together.

TaMara Sloan said...

We don't pay our children to do chores. We tell them that our family is a team. That we work together to get things done around our house.

Margaret Anne said...

I also agree that children should not be paid for chores. I do offer extra jobs for cash.

Beth Hollmann said...

I agree with you that allowance for chores is unnecessary. We need to work on gratitude in our house for sure, but my kids don't get allowance. I do think they need a way to earn money, though. I took a financial class one time and the man who taught it said they gave their sons weekly money, with the sole purpose of teaching them to manage their funds wisely. He said it started out at 2-3 times their age per week, maxing out at $40 per week. They were required to tithe, save for college, save for a car, and buy their own gifts; a specific percentage for each. What they had left over was their own to spend. The parents never bought toys or treats; the kids were responsible. They saved money that way because they didn't impulse-buy at the store for their kids (I do that quite often.) I love that idea, but we've never quite implemented it. Might be time to re-open the discussion with my husband. Thanks for your post! #BB100

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