The topic of allowances is highly debated. Some parents feel strongly that there is no need to give a child an allowance because children should be contributing to the family by working and doing well in school. Other parents see giving their children an allowance as an opportunity for their kids to earn extra money for the things that they want but may not necessarily need. Some parents give allowances without any thought at all as to why or how it should be done.
There are some very good things that can come from giving your teen an allowance but it is ultimately up to the individual parents and children to judge their current situations and make decisions about how they will handle the issue of allowances. If you decide that you want to start giving your teen an allowance and may not be sure about suggested ways to do so successfully, this article will provide you with tips and tools that you may choose to use in order to make the establishment of your teen’s allowance an experience that you will look back on without regret.
Address the Need
A good time to know when a teen is ready for an allowance is when they begin to have expenses. Most if the time these expenses will revolve around recreational time and entertainment costs. Teens often need money for school dances, clothes, games, etc. that are above and beyond what is absolutely necessary for them to have. Some parents may find it appropriate to delegate other expenses to their children once they decide to give them an allowance. One example would be if mom and dad paid for school lunches before an allowance, the child would be responsible for this cost after an allowance. Of course the allowance would include the cost of the school lunch; the point is not for the child to go without food. However, he may learn that to poorly allocate his funds means that he will have a hungry stomach when there is no money left over for food.
This brings us to the next point to be considered regarding teens and allowance. Your teen needs to be mature enough to handle the responsibilities of an allowance. This includes being able to delay gratification, to allocate funds to needed items first and then to spend or save what is left over if there is a want. Your teen must also have been educated about taxes, how much average things cost, and how to mathematically evaluate the cost of one thing versus another. This process should involve your teen. Talk with them about the expenses that they have and what they are willing to do in order to satisfy their wants.
Above and Beyond
Most experts agree that an allowance works best when it is a reward not only for achieving and accomplishing those things which are expected, but also for rewarding work that is considered to be above and beyond expectation. A child should not be given an allowance regardless of their performance. Just as in the working world we are expected to perform at a certain level, certain things should just be expected for your teen. The allowance is only paid if all that is normally expected is achieved, in addition to extra work for which they have earned a reward. Only doing those extra things that have a monetary incentive is what parents should be avoiding when giving allowances.