Hear Me Out: Should your children get an allowance to do chores?

PHOENIX - Each Sunday, ABC15.com debuts an Arizona issue - along with two opposing sides on the topic.

Don't worry, you always have the opportunity to make comments at the bottom of the page. Yeah, your opinion matters, too.

This week we're tackling the debate on whether our children should get an allowance to do chores around the house, or if chores should just be a requirement as a family member.

Steve Siebold, author of "How Rich People Think", says it's a great learning tool.

Kimberly Fischer, the owner and associate publisher of Arizona Parenting Magazine, says that if parents don't get paid to mow the lawn, why should a child?

Click "next page" to read the first of two positions, " It's questionable that allowances help kids learn good money skills ".

"It's questionable that allowances help kids learn good money skills": By Kimberly Fischer, the owner and associate publisher of Arizona Parenting Magazine

Allowances have been an American tradition for generations and the ideals behind allowances are wonderful. Many parents feel it is a wonderful way for children to learn about managing money and taking pride in working and earning their own money. However, I am not sure that most children who receive allowances really learn either of these lessons.

Based on a study by Dough Main on Chores & Allowance and the 21 st Century Kid, two-thirds of parents who give their children an allowance do not track the assignment or check that the chores are completed. Many children are receiving money on a weekly basis, whether they actually perform their chores or not. This is not teaching our children the importance of hard work or of earning their own money. One day, these children are going to grow up and become a part of our work force and may feel entitled to their pay check, whether they work hard or not. 

Another argument against paying children for chores is that, as a family everyone needs to pitch in and help. Many children are growing up in a household with two working parents and everyone's time is precious, by pitching in and working together, a family is working as a team. Moms and dads are not paid to mow the lawn, wash laundry or cook dinner. Why should a child be paid for cleaning their room or taking out the trash?

It is also questionable that children who receive an allowance learn good money management skills. According to the 2010 annual T. Rowe Price Parents, Kids & Money Survey says that, "the majority children who receive allowances spend it all at once and 39 percent always or sometimes come back for more". This is truly defeating the purpose and does not teach good money management skills.  

I do believe that talking to our children about money and teaching them money management skills is important and as parents we need to be actively talking with them about the value of a dollar and the importance of saving. When our children reach a responsible age, encourage them to find ways to earn their own money, whether it is: babysitting, mowing lawns, selling lemonade or delivering newspapers. These are all jobs that require hard work, which will teach children a strong work ethic and will also teach them the value of the dollar. 

Do you agree with this opinion? Add a comment below to sound off.

Click "next page" to read the second position, "It's a great learning tool".

"It's a great learning tool": By Steve Siebold, author of "How Rich People Think"

Should You Tie Your Kids' Allowance to Chores?  It's a question that many parents disagree on and a topic that will probably be debated until the end of time.  By making your kids earn their allowance, you're teaching them a number of important lessons about making money.  You're giving them the valuable tools and a head start on what they'll need to know about earning money as an adult. 

Bringing out a child's entrepreneurial spirit

You're tying money to value and teaching children to think, "How can I create value in exchange for money?"  It teaches kids to look for problems to be solved and to be entrepreneurial. They associate money with solving problems and not with entitlement.  No one will just be handing kids money when they grow up, so you want to get them thinking like an entrepreneur early on.   

Set a price on chores

Sit down with your kids and set a price on all chores that go beyond the basics like making their bed and cleaning their room.  Keep the amounts small and do your research.  For example, if a chore is mowing the lawn, find out what the going rate is in your neighborhood and don't exceed it.

You should have a combination of tasks that have to be done daily or weekly (taking out garbage or general yard work) to provide the basis for a weekly allowance, and extra chores that happen periodically, like cleaning the car or shoveling snow, that kids get paid extra for.  If they want money for a toy, you want them to look around the house and think, "How can I help?  What can I do to solve a problem and earn money for the toy?"

Consistency is the key

Parents must be consistent about enforcing that chores are completed.  If your child's base allowance is $10, but two chores aren't done, the allowance should be less.  If there is something going on that kids really want money for, tell them it's an advance.

In conclusion

Tying allowance to chores teaches kids that money is a dynamic medium of exchange for goods and services that should circulate and grow – and will help make them more financially successful as adults. 

The idea is to teach your kids about money from objective reality, or the way it really works.  Kids need to understand that not everyone has access to all the good things in life, and money won't make them a better person, but it will provide more opportunities.  The good news is that even parents who never reached financial success themselves still have the opportunity to teach their kids how to be financially independent as adults.   Don't just teach your kids how to survive when they grow up; teach them how to become rich! 

Do you agree with this opinion? Add a comment below to sound off.

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