Should I give my Children an Allowance?

Deciding whether to give your children an allowance can sometimes be a tricky decision and sometimes an easy one. It will partly depend on whether you can afford it but also whether you feel it is the right thing to do. It is worth thinking through the different sides of the argument before you decide.

Can you afford it?

It is worth making sure that you can afford to give them money. You do not want to have to take out a cash loan just to give your children some money. If they are good children, they would not want that to happen either. If you need the money to pay for essentials then you should spend it on those instead. If the children want money then you should be able to explain to them why you need to keep the money to buy things for you and them. If you find that you can sometimes afford it but sometimes not then you can explain that to them and give them a bit when you can or when you think that they really deserve it.

Should the children earn it?

Some parents feel that children should earn their pocket money. They feel that it is good for them to get used to the idea that they need to work if they want money and that they will not just get away with being given money without having to do anything. However, other parents feel that if you pay children to do chores, then they will never do anything without expecting to be paid for it. That means when you need a bit of extra help or when they have their own place to look after, they will be reluctant to do it because they cannot get any money for doing it. It could be better to give them chores to do, as they should help and start learning about what needs to be done in a house, but the allowance is not given to them as a reward but extra.

Do they deserve it?

It is also worth thinking about whether the children deserve it. Maybe rather than giving it to them as a reward for chores, perhaps behaviour could be a factor. If they are behaving well, then maybe that good behaviour should be rewarded but if they do not behave well then they do not get a reward. Again, like the chores, this could have some problems with it. Children may feel that they only need to behave well if there is a financial reward to be had if they do and so it may stop them behaving well in situations where there is not a payment. However, it might help some children to behave better.

Will it teach them anything?

It is good to think about what giving the children money will teach them. Some children ill only learn that they can get money regularly to spend on whatever they like and that is great fun. Others, might learn about saving money, if they decide not to spend it all or about saving up for things if they want to buy something a bit more expensive. It can also teach them how much things cost if they use the money to buy things for themselves. However, it can also teach them that parents give out money for free. This might be something they expect to get for the rest of their lives and could mean that they become very reliant on their parents handing out money to them rather than managing themselves and making sure that they become self-sufficient when it comes to money.

Some parents try to enforce rules on the way that the children use the money in order to help them to learn. It might be that they make them save all of the money so that they have a pot of money for when they are older. It might be that they will make them save half of it and spend half so they do learn about savings but they still have some money to have fun with and also to learn about costs with. Some will let them spend as much as they like and hope that they learn about spending money and that once it is spent then it is gone, so they hope they start to make sensible spending decisions. Some parents might even give their children a really high allowance but make them buy their own clothes, toiletries etc with it. Then they will really learn about budgeting. So, there are different approaches that parents can take which they can use to help their children learn more about having money by having an allowance.

It can therefore be a tricky decision. It may depend on the personality of your children and their age. You will be able to judge what impact having an allowance might have on them. If your children are different ages and have different personalities then this could be even more difficult. However, you should know them well enough to be able to decide. You could even trial giving them an allowance for a while and then decide whether you feel it is something that you want to continue with or if you feel it should be stopped.