This is a guest post by Rachael Murphey.
The world has changed drastically when it comes to money, children and allowances. High school students have no desire to go out and get a part time job; they know that mom and dad will keep doling out the money week after week. Children as young as 2 years old are receiving allowances from their well-meaning parents. Some school age kids “earn” almost as much as a part time job employee makes after putting in 2 to 3 shifts at their job. Things simply have to change, and the first step is to stop handing out money to children without them earning it. Let’s take a look at why it is a bad idea to give your child an allowance.
Allowances Reward Lazy Behavior
Allowances that are given without simply reward lazy behavior. This action teaches children that they can be rewarded for laying on the couch and playing video games. They are being conditioned to believe that they can put forth zero effort and still reap the benefits.
Today, more than ever, our children are a generation addicted to screens. Phones, tablets and video game systems take their attention and hold it hostage. This lack of physical activity and manual labor skills is proving to be detrimental to society. When children are taught that they do not need to push a vacuum or scrub a toilet or do a load of laundry and they still get paid, why would they want to get up and do any of those things?
Children Do Not Learn How to Be Hard Workers
A strong work ethic is a desirable trait to have in people of all ages. When children are given money in the form of an allowance, without having to work for it, they never learn how to be hard workers. They don’t get to experience the satisfaction of completing a task and being rewarded for it. Being a hard worker with a solid work ethic is a learned trait. When children are not expected to work hard, they quickly learn that they simply don’t have to and they likely will never be respected, contributing members of the successful work force.
Teachers have noted that students who do not know how to push themselves academically are often the ones that are coddled at home. Children who are given allowances and not expected to contribute to the family’s household chores are more likely to fall behind in school simply because they do not know how to work hard and apply themselves. Having never experienced the satisfaction of a job well done, they don’t know to strive for that end result.
Where’s the Motivation?
When allowances are given out with no expectation of hard work being completed first, there is no motivation for the child to contribute. Taking the hard work=reward equation out of their experience allows them to rest on their laurels and wait for the world to come to them. They will be sorely disappointed when they learn that the real world does not work this way and without the proper motivation to work hard and succeed, they will likely be left behind.
Allowances Weaken the Parental Role
I believe that parents should be respected by their children, and children respected by their parents. Earning money that is given to you is one way to maintain that level of respect. Simply handing out an allowance for no reason may teach children to take advantage of their parents’ generosity and start looking for other ways to take more than what they have earned.
It is important to note that I believe chores are an important part of life and children should be expected to pitch in and ensure that the family home is clean and well cared for. Just because I do not advocate for giving allowances does not mean that I support a chore-free system. When deciding on what chores are appropriate for a younger child, some alterations may be necessary. Hand-washing dishes might be too challenging for younger hands. Consider investing in a dishwasher, if you don’t have one already. There are many ways to make chores accessible (and even enjoyable) for all family members.