Is an allowance a good idea?

Providing your teenager with an allowance can have its ups and downs. The first thing you need to ask yourself is if your teen knows the value of a dollar. If you have provided for your child all its life and never required him or her to get an after school job, you might want to reconsider. Working teaches teens to appreciate money and not to take it for granted. On the other hand, if you pay your teen for doing simple things like picking up after themselves and washing their dishes, they aren’t going to understand what life in the work force is all about.

When your child is younger, having an allowance will instill some sense of responsibility in them. But, once they get older, doing “chores” should become just part of the tasks they do daily. Of course, keep in mind that they are going to school and usually will have a lot of homework, so don’t load them up on daily chores. But, requiring them to have a part time job, 10-15 hours per week at least Junior and Senior year will prepare them for the real world.

If you do want to give your child an allowance rather than have them work a part time job, it’s best to give them chores that are for other things than washing dishes, cleaning their rooms and bathrooms. If you reward your teen simply for keeping their own areas clean, they won’t know what to do with themselves when they go away to college. Try having them make dinner one night or prepare a dessert. Then, have them clean up the dishes as well. You could have your teen mow the lawn, vacuum the entire house or pull weeds- not fun tasks to most people, but they will help prepare your teen for the future.