Chores and Money, Identity and Obligation

Having a way for your children to work to earn money is a good way to start teaching them about how to handle money. But we need to careful. We don’t want to raise pure mercenaries.

We don’t want them holding out their hand for a tip after brushing their teeth.

There are different categories of money, each of which is important.

  1. Allowance – this is money they get for being part of the family. It is your gift to them, a way to show favor. It can also be taken away due to disciplinary measures.
  2. Earned – This is what they earn from doing chores. If they have done a good job, they get paid. Period. It doesn’t matter if they disobeyed you 3 seconds ago. They did the job. They get the money.

Likewise, there are two types of chores that we should distinguish.

  1. Household chores – these are chores your children have to do because they are part of the household. Both father and mother have these types of chores, and children should contribute as well. These can be things like keeping their room clean.
  2. Extra chores – the chores your children can voluntarily take on in order to earn more money.

Why is it important to distinguish these categories?

Because a family is about a shared identity. It runs on something more important than money: shared obligations and responsibilities.

Your children should learn to fulfill their obligations without expecting any kind of monetary reward. Just like their father. Just like their mother.

To do that, they must know what their obligations are, so be sure and set those out clearly for them. It doesn’t have to be the same for every child, either. One might need to empty the dishwasher. The other might need to pick up the dog poop in the yard.

But money is still important so we should deal with it in a sensible way. Hence, the other categories.

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