“Kids these days are so entitled!”
I don’t think any parent wants to raise entitled kids.
Often time we start out with great intentions. “I’m never going to spoil my children”, “I’m not a helicopter parent, my kids aren’t going to be that way.”
But it’s hard not raising an entitled child in an entitled world like ours.
We do small things like making picky eaters their own food because it’s just easier. We give them extra cash so that they can have the same brand of clothing as their peers. We rescue them when they leave homework at home so that they don’t get in trouble.
We do these things all the the name of love.
Over time though, all these little things can grow into this sense of entitlement with our kids.
I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking about only “me, me, me” and what they can get for things.
So, I’m going one small thing that is proven to teach children responsibility and independence.
One of the biggest entitlement traps is money.
There are three common ways parents deal with money and their children, and two out of three can grow very entitled children.
1. Parents just hand it over. By handing out cash for everything that kids want, children start believing that there’s a never-ending pool of money for them to use at their disposal. Mom and Dad are their own personal piggy bank and they don’t really understand the value of money.
It’s just there when they need it.
This can lead to raising a young adult that can make some serious financial mistakes because they don’t understand how to save and be responsible for their money.
Children raised like this don’t take it lightly when parents do say “no” and are more likely to get angry and resentful that they aren’t getting what they want.
They grow up feeling entitled to their parent’s money.
2. Parents have them earn money by doing chores. Now this one makes sense. “I get paid for work, shouldn’t they?”
But who pays you to unload the dishwasher? Who pays you for vacuuming and dusting? These are jobs that are part of being in a family. These are expected things that we just have to do.
When we tie money to chores, it’s easy for kids to get lazy. What happens when they have a stock pile of money and they don’t feel like doing chores that day? It gets harder to get them to do their chores when they don’t need, or care about the payout.
It’s easy to see that the only time chores will be done is when they need the money. They don’t learn that chores need to be done continuously to have a fully functioning house.
Kids who come from this system feel entitled get something for every small thing that they do. They only offer to help or contribute if there’s something in it for them.
So instead of just handing out money and paying for chores, I’m going to be doing something simpler.
3. I’m giving my kids an allowance.
It’s that simple. I hand out a certain amount of cash every week that they can chose what to do with.
I still buy food, clothes, and toys for their birthday and Christmas. I’ll pay for things that should be taken out of our family’s joint money.
But anything extra, that’s on them.
“Want more expensive shoes than I’m willing to buy? That comes out of your allowance.”
“Want that toy on the shelf? Where’s your money?”
“What the ice cream and cookies at the grocery store? Sure! You get to pay for that.”
Kids as young as four can start learning this concept.
What it teaches
This easy tip teaches so much to children.
It teaches delayed gratification by waiting and saving for things that they really want.
It teaches prioritization by having to make decisions on what things they want to buy over others.
It teaches budgeting and financial responsibility.
There will be moments when children may not make the best financial decisions with their money, and there maybe some disappointment and consequences from that. But I’d rather my kids make that mistake with only a little amount of money as a child, than with large sums of money (with bigger consequences) as adults.
It’s Easier On You
By having an allowance, I am no longer the “keeper of the money”.
There are no power struggles about kids wanting that special treat and having to say no. Instead, I can put it back on my kids, “Sure you can have that, it’s up to you to pay for it.”
I no longer have to decide what treat’s are really important to my kids. If they really want something, it’s up to them to buy it.
I get to give them that responsibility. They get the power to make decisions about things.
In the end, it’s actually better for our relationship, if they get some power to decide.
I’m learning a lot about this concept, and more from Amy McCready’s new book “The Me, Me, Me Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World.”
This video explains more about how children become entitled and what you can do about it.
It’s a great book that I’m really enjoying reading. Money is only one chapter in this book. It discusses so much more about how to raise capable, grateful children in an over-entitled world.
The book comes out soon, and if you order your advanced copy, you can participate in 3 free coaching webinars with Amy on the following topics:
Allowance & Chores
The No-Rescue Policy for Consequences
Raising Grateful & Compassionate Kids
Learn about the FREE COACHING and get your advanced copy.
I love this. I somewhat combine #2 and #3. My children have their regular “because you’re a member of the family” chores. They don’t get a cent for those. I have a list of other “for pay” jobs they can pick and choose from (the pay ranges from 25 cents to $1 per job–the amount tends to go up as they get older and the chores on the list get more complicated)–the catch–their normal chores have to be done to my satisfaction before they earn the [u][b]privilege[/u][/b] of doing the “for pay” jobs.
I really like that idea. I think that kids should be given the chance to earn a bit more money when they need it. I like your plan!
We gave our kids a small allowance and told them as members of the household they were entitled to an allowance, but that they also had a responsibility to help the household run. They had jobs and got increases in allowance when the got better at the job, showed more initiative, did jobs without being reminded. They could earn some money if we had some extra job that needed to be done. I once paid my son $10 for matching up all my Tupperware containers with their lids–so worth it to me!
how much do you give allowance at particular age?
Thanks for this post, I found it very interesting. I also like the alternatives that commenters brought up.
I really think this comes down to an issue of external versus internal reinforcement. Internal reinforcement (I’m doing it because I’m getting something internally is great if it works for your kids) but often this does not work. If we left the kids by themselves for a weekend would the dishes get done. Most likely not. Why? Because kids don’t get internal reinforcement from seeing the house clean in the same way their parents do. People won’t engage in behavior unless there some positive at the end. Now if your uncomfortable with money there are other things you can offer including praise. But I feel trying to do this with internal reinforcement only will be difficult for many parents. I also don’t believe offering money would create an entitled child (as long as you are not passing out 100 dollar bills for putting the dishes away), I believe it would teach them that money is available if they are willing to work.
Doing Good Together™
This is brilliant! In previous newsletters of ours, we’ve discussed both the importance of using household chores as an opportunity to contribute and having children take part in financial donations, whether on their own or as a family. This allowance tip piggybacks perfectly on our points!
We would add to this great tip that family volunteering is another excellent way for parents to involve their kids in something outside of their world and feeling a sense of satisfaction in sharing their time and talents with others. And volunteering as a family adds to the impact since it reinforces the values parents want to pass along to their kids.
What do you recommend for people who are poor and can’t afford to give money to their kids? I’ve struggled for years, raising four kids and have an ex-husband who is filthy stinking rich and has given everything to my daughters. They are now living with him. They got new iPhones and laptops for Christmas. One of them told me that she had $200 and spent it all and had to borrow money to buy Christmas presents. They live in a $300,000 home and make ten times more money than me. I barely have money to pay the bills.
Can you afford to give your kids 50 cents or 25 cents a week? Even a dime. Even a tiny allowance adds up over time.
Should we give allowance regardless of whether they do their chores?