Should You Give Your Kid an Allowance?

A question I get asked frequently by parents who call my show is, “Should I give my child an allowance, and if so, how much should I give them?” Here are my thoughts…

According to one study, the top reason parents give their children a weekly allowance is to minimize the time they have to deal with them. “Here’s some money, now leave me alone” is about as far as most of the so-called teaching goes.

However, allowances are important because they teach kids at a young age the very valuable lesson that you must earn the things you have.  The more your kids learn a sense of earning, the more they will respect money, the more they will respect themselves for earning it, and the more control they will have over their lives in the future.

Giving your child an allowance also teaches them about budgeting.  Kids who aren’t brought up with a sense of saving tend not to do well in their 20s.

I think a basic allowance should be based on your child’s age.  If they’re 8 years old, they should get $8; if they’re 15, they get $15, etc.  Now, what can your child do with $15?  Not a whole lot, but it’s the beginning of teaching them something about money and controlling impulses.

An alternative is to give older teens (15 or 16) a couple hundred dollars a month, and out of that they have to pay for everything: school lunches, their cell phone bill, any clothes they want, etc.  If they want something bigger than that, they will have to go out and earn money and/or do more chores.

What about using money as a disciplinary tool? My thought is that when you take something away from a child, he or she has to earn it back. Just taking away their cell phone, for example, doesn’t really get through to them because they know they’re eventually going to get it back.

However, if they have to earn it back, it completely changes the way they look at it.  If they’re late paying their phone bill, the service gets cut off. They really need to learn how to keep up with taking care of their responsibilities. Sit down with your child and say, “These are the things that are gone, and this is how you have to earn them back” (e.g. good behavior, good deeds, mowing the lawn, etc.).

When talking to kids about allowances, you should mostly discuss impulse control.  And that’s where you as the parent come in as a role model.  Do you have impulse control, or do you just irresponsibly spend?

Every moment is a moment to teach your child. Don’t miss out!

Chatting or Cheating?

In the day, it was very clear what constituted cheating. You had sex with somebody while you were married or engaged, and you also had to make great efforts to have an affair. But with all the new means by which people can connect today, cheating has become a whole new monster. There’s texting, Skyping and emailing. There are websites that cater to people who wish to fool around on their spouses. And along with these advances in technology, what counts as “cheating” seems to have become less cut and dry (i.e. it’s no longer just the physical act of having sex with someone else).

However, I can simplify things for you. Ready?

If you have to hide or sneak around to do what you’re doing, or you wouldn’t say or do it in front of your children or spouse, it’s cheating. Simple as that.

Here are some red flags that your friendly correspondence with someone of the opposite sex is really cheater chatter:

Deleting emails

If you’re deleting emails, then you’re assuming that your spouse would be upset if they were to read them. Therefore, you are covering something up. Ask yourself, “How would I feel if I knew my spouse was corresponding with an attractive secret someone in the way I am doing right now.”

Fulfilling a sexual fantasy

Affairs are often about playing out sexual fantasies.  If you notice that your correspondence is feeding your fantasies, you’re doing something wrong.

Amount of time spent talking with him/her

It’s not just the content that can be considered cheating, it’s the amount of time spent sharing it. For example, if you are emailing a “friend” 15 plus times a day, I’m sorry, that’s an affair.

Rationalizing

“He’s/She’s just a friend” is something you don’t have to say to yourself when you’re involved in an innocent communication. Do you feel the need to justify it? Well, that’s because you know what you’re doing is wrong.

It’s meeting your personal needs

Your marriage is for meeting your personal needs, and that’s where they should be dealt with.

Talking about your marriage with him/her

Talking about your marriage with someone of the opposite sex is a breach of trust and disrespectful.

Your spouse doesn’t like it, or your good friend tells you it’s not right.

If your spouse has told you they don’t like it and they do it anyway, it’s an affair. It’s not right to be more concerned about connecting with this person than with your spouse’s feelings.

So again, if you wouldn’t say or do it in front of your spouse or kids, you’re cheating.  And even if your spouse is being a pain in the butt, there are healthier ways to increase your self-esteem than breaching your vows.