UptownZoo, I get it that fairness is a difficult concept to apply in real life. I also agree with you that "fair" does not necessarily have to mean "totally the same". Actually, "fair" is probably only rarely "totally the same". Just like in real life outside the home in so many other areas.
I have no objection to adjustments based on age, and would not object to adjustments based on amount of chores done if the base calculation is "amount of chores done" (even though it wouldn't be my choice since I personally am of the "allowance not tied to chores" school of thought).
At the same time, I just cannot feel comfortable with the idea of openly adjusting allowance up and down in function of how much time a child was physically present (per a custody order) any given week.
When they're teens and start going out lots, or if one child is a social butterfly and another a wallflower, do you then also adjust the allowance down to take that into account too??? Or, if one child has an expensive hobby and therefore more expenses??? I would guess that one would not.
think that you can avoid doing things that clearly and obviously will make a child feel less-than or displaced because of the blended family structure. The child may still feel that way sometimes, but no more than an older child in a non-blended family... Or may feel that way just because of the situation and other factors outside of your control. But you can still avoid doing things to make it worse.
And, in a blended family situation, there may be nothing you can do to prevent feelings of "unfairness" between the separate households. Just as you cannot prevent your kids from feeling that whatever is unfair compared to the neighbors. You can
prevent unfairness within the confines of your home
, though. (Again, remember, "fair" in my book does not have to be "the same".)
And saying something like "we give $7 a week in allowance, but this week you were here 2 days so you only get $2, next week you'll be here 4 days so you'll get $4" just sends a really bad message. One that is subtly but completely different from the message sent by "allowance is $1 per year of age per week starting at age 10 when you're with us". IMO.
Yeah, it's tough. Yeah, it's hard to figure out. No, nobody's perfect and not everything will work perfectly every time. But that's not a reason to give up trying.
pinksprklybarefoot, I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not "in a war". And, now that you've expanded on it a bit, I'm glad I didn't say half of what I was thinking at first when I responded to your first post.
For the record, I don't think any parent is obliged to pay allowance. CP or NCP. But if you do as a parent (CP or NCP) decide to pay your children an allowance, then you are the one who decides how it should be calculated. (Unless things are so peachy-smooth between the two households that you willing decide to coordinate with the other household, which is not an obligation but could simplify things. I doubt this last option is possible in real life in most cases, though.)
Calculate it based on age if you want, I won't object.
Calculate it based on number of chores done if you want, I won't object (I might privately shake my head, though, when none of your kids are around).
Calculate it based on spending needs if you want, I won't object (I might privately think you're off base, though).
Calculate it based on a zillion other things that haven't been mentioned, I might be royally confused but probably won't object.
Say "when you're living here during an allowance "pay period" you get your full allowance, but when you're not here at all during the period, you don't", I won't object even though that results in de facto pro-rating of total $ received for the kid.
Just, please, please don't say "in our house, allowance is X for all kids (where X is the method of calculation, not the $ amount), but kid #1 was here Y% this week so only gets Y% of X..." No matter how little "ceremony" you do it with.
And, NO, I do not and never have thought that an NCP should be "expected" to pay allowance to any child. Just as I don't expect a CP to be have to pay allowance either. Allowance is a voluntary contribution by parents that they chose (or not) to give for any number of reasons.
I don't think "full-time household member" or "part-time household member" should be one of those reasons.
Sure, in real life, you probably won't be able to make sure that things are 100% equal between all the kids in both households no matter how hard you try. They never will be.
But you can send the message that within your household, all the kids belong equally and are equal members
, no matter how they divide their time with another household.