Some may think I am absurd or mean to my kids for not giving allowances for chores. Some think it’s a great way to learn responsibility for money. I get that, really I do. But from experience this is not the only way to get that responsibility. I used to give my kids allowances, but one day it stopped being an incentive or motivation for them to do their chores. We hit the point where they decided that if they didn’t want to earn any money that week then they’d just sit down and do nothing. This was not okay with me. They also began getting bad attitudes with their father and me as well as with each other. I was flabbergasted and confused. Money is what makes the world spin for kids, right? Wrong!!
I suddenly realized what I was installing into my kids was a sense of laziness. They were not learning how to take responsibility for their actions. If they didn’t want to earn money for cleaning their room or putting up their laundry, then they completely let it go. In a few days it began to smell and they couldn’t find anything. They soon began saying to each other that if they cleaned it up they’d get paid for it. After overhearing this I decided I had had enough. They needed to take responsibility for their actions. Why should they be paid for waiting a week to do one of their chores on their list? That’s still rewarding them.
I sat the kids down and asked them to tell me the last time I got paid to cook supper or mop the floor. They just laughed and said, “but you’re a mom, that’s your job!” Yep. I was the culprit in this. For years I’ve been teaching them that they should expect payment for doing the things that will further build their characters. It was time for this to change.
Let’s just say the first few weeks of zero money incentives were less than ideal. Instead of rewards, I began consequences when things weren’t being done. This was a major shift for us and. It only was it hard on them, but me as well. I had to stick to my decisions instead of caving and just offering the, $ to stop them from arguing. But again, that would be teaching the, the wrong thing!
It has been several months now and my kids are happier. I can’t say we are perfect, no one is. We still have our moments when they must be disciplined because they didn’t get something done. (ie. No Xbox or no reading time) but because they have finally begun to realize that these “chores” are part of their “job” as a family member, they have begun to do things without being asked at times. And I’m not a total mean mom. I have surprised them with eating out or similar rewards when they least expect it.