Living Well Money

Should You Give Your Child an Allowance?

There are many pros and cons to allowances, and many points of view on whether or not parents should give them to their children. It can be difficult to determine what’s best for your family and why, when faced with decisions like these, especially when there is no “right” answer.

There are many pros to giving an allowance:

1. It teaches grace rather than works. If you give your child an allowance (meaning, it is not earned by chores, but given regardless), it teaches your child that you give them the allowance simply because you love them and they are your child. No strings attached. They are free to save or spend how they will, but this results in natural consequences, which leads to number two on our list:
2. It teaches them how to manage their own money and ask less often for money. If your child knows he or she has a finite number of dollars to work with, and they want a certain toy or gadget, an allowance helps them practice patience via delayed gratification and money management. It can also cut down on them asking you for money, as you can point to the weekly (or monthly) allowance as their funding and suggest doing additional chores to earn more cash. It teaches the consequences of spending decisions and saving decisions. They can also open a bank account and learn the ins and outs of how to manage an account.
3. It is an opportunity to teach generosity. Because much has been given to them through no work of their own, allowances are a good way to teach generosity, especially in light of the Gospel, where we are given much more than we deserve from God. Knowing that God has blessed us so immensely despite what we deserve encourages our spirits to be more generous and kind to others. An allowance offers an opportunity to talk about this with your children and encourage them to be generous and practice thankfulness.

There are also cons.

1. The potential for entitlement. If an allowance is not tied to chores, it can lead to entitlement. Receiving money each week without having done anything can lead to a possible attitude that money is always there and does not need to be earned. This may not be a problem for your child, but if it does become an issue, it is an opportunity to talk about gratefulness and the hard work it takes to earn money. Allowances can always be adjusted or removed if they are not being handled maturely.
2. It can discourage teens to work part-time jobs. Consider if your allowance is a deterrent for your child to get a part-time job or summer job to earn their own money. Cutting off allowance at a certain age or keeping it a modest sum can help, but keep communication open so expectations are clear.

Overall, the decision depends on your child. Consider your children’s individual personalities and tendencies and observe how they manage the money they are given to steward. Be sure to talk to your children along the way and determine motivations for spending, saving and giving, making sure that the lessons you’re hoping to teach are actually getting across.

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