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Allowance, chores can be OK
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Q: Our 12-year-old daughter says all her friends get paid for helping around the house, and she wants an allowance for doing chores too. This sounds crazy to my wife and me. Is it really a good idea?
A: I can see why you might scoff at the idea of paying your daughter for doing household chores. After all, when we were growing up, chores were a given, and our parents never would have paid us for doing simple things that contributed to the smooth running of the household.
Today, things are different. Allowances are — right or wrong — part of our culture. That said, there’s a big difference between mandatory chores your daughter should do just because she’s part of the family and the extra ones you might consider paying her for.
Before you cringe at the thought of buying your daughter’s services, look at it this way: You’ll be teaching her some worthwhile lessons: a sense of responsibility, strong work ethic and the knowledge that you value and appreciate her efforts.
So how do you decide which chores are obligatory and which ones are extras? First, mandatory tasks should be age-appropriate. In your daughter’s case, they could include setting and/or clearing the table after meals, loading and unloading the dishwasher, keeping her room tidy and taking out the trash and recycling.
Your daughter should understand that everyone in the family chips in to the best of his or her abilities without expecting to be paid for every single task. That’s what families are all about.
Bigger jobs, tasks that take a lot more time than her daily to-do list, or projects that aren’t strictly related to the day-to-day running of the family could be paid. These might include doing yard work, organizing the garage, cleaning the attic, or installing insulation in the basement.
Family psychologist John Rosemond answers questions at
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