Please help with allowance issues - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 05-19-2005, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So we are having a debate regarding allowance for the girls. They're 5 & 7. I guess basically I'm just going to paste our correspondence from today regarding this and hope for some opinions....honest ones of course.

First off...here's a chore list I made with how much that chore is worth.

$0.25Make your bed
$0.50Tidy up your room
$3.00Clean your whole room
$0.50tidy up the bathroom
$0.25put your dishes in the sink
$1.00vacuum
$1.00clean the living room
$0.50sweep the kitchen
$1.50do the dishes
$0.50fold laundry
$0.50put laundry away
$0.50wipe kitchen counters
$0.25take out bathroom trash
$0.50Help with dinner


I gave this list to him today and told him it was just a rough draft and we could add to it or adjust amounts later and when I got back to work, I had this email from him...following that is my response back. Please tell me what you all think of this exchange.

I checked out your rough list and that's one way to go. Looking at it though it would be possible for the girls to make $10 a week. I realise this is a rough draft but essentially that's too much imo.

Some of the tasks there are ones where it will actually take more time to get things done than by just doing it myself.
They'll never get better if they don't try but it's not ideal.

I'm sure we can make this work, or something else work.

My feeling is that the girls do very well for themselves through yardsales, Granny, birthdays, christmas etc and that sometimes but not always, they forget their wallets and take a loan which if sometimes but not always repaid. They always seem to have money piling up for vacations and things and a healthy amount at that so I don't see any need to increase that. I'd like to see them do a little better at earning what they get and I what I think would be most beneficial to us would be some sort of grade system where they get a grade for the day and it relates to how well they listened. This would encourage better listening and that would be a huge help to us around the house and in life in general.

maybe each grade gets them an amount and at the end of the week we tally that up.

Just my thoughts ...I'm sure we'll sort out something.




DH
To be honest I'm not really in agreeance at all with this. My thoughts on allowance (before you) were that they were more as a way of teaching kids how to use money and how to save it (I personally never felt it should be an "earn it" issue). Like once they've gotten they're amount and then if they use it all for one thing then want another and don't have the money for it, they learn to either start saving again and/or understand what it's like to not have the money to afford something.
That was the deal when we first started allowance. You agreed and even endorsed them getting allowance for that reason. To LEARN how it feels to have or not have money to get what you want. Then you decided that they were getting too much because they were obviously saving some. I just never got that..I thought that was one part of the whole purpose. But instead of seeing it as a positive (they were saving) ..you saw it as them having more than you thought they should and wanted to start stashing some for them...so I went along with that and we did...and saved part for vacations and big things....then that amount became to much in your opinion, then it became an issue of you not wanting me to pay them every week because you thought they already had enough...and I did that.

THEN it became an issue of them actually having to earn it by doing stuff around the house..again, I don't agree with that, but for the sake of peace, I agreed...and now that I've made an actual list to follow, that whole idea isn't right for you either and you want to completely change it to a "listening" based allowance?? I just don't get it and I'm kind of tired of having to just ignore what I think and do it your way for the sake of peace.

I haven't given them an allowance except for once in the last several months because of your feelings about it and it's time to figure out a plan and I'm not happy with your outline here just as your obviously not happy with mine (and yours actually, because it was your idea too). I completely believe it would give at least Hannah pretty much nothing if it's based on what you think is deserved based on behavior.

I'm just letting you know my feelings on your idea like you did with mine and at the same time telling you how far off we've gone from what I think allowance should be about already.

That list isn't going to get done every week (especially the bigger money stuff)..but IF IT DID..then in my opinion...they would have earned it very well. So what if it takes them longer to fold the clothes or wash the dishes than it does you...at least you didn't have to do it and they're pitching in AND learning something as well as having a feeling of earning something.

plus...yes, I've bought some of their yardsale stuff recently...but again, they haven't gotten allowance for a LONG time either and even when they were getting it, it was very dodgy because of how you looked at it.

I'm really thinking we need to backtrack on the girls issues. I think you came into our lives with too many expectations and too many changes right off the bat and there are and were hard feelings from that forcefulness. I think that if you had come into our lives and just been concerned with having the girls fall in love with you and you with them FIRST and would have just let me be the mom and disciplinarian (as everyone was used to), that a lot of the problems we had (and have) wouldn't be there. Instead, you almost immediately started trying to change all the rules. I think that snowballed on all of us, and we're still feeling resentful for it even if only subconsiously, but since we can't go back and start over and do it right...we need to try and regroup and fix what we can now.
You've done pretty well about staying out of issues with the girls..even though I still feel the tension there when you don't agree with how I do something....but at least the girls don't feel it or see it quite as much and that opens the door for them to let go of some resentment and "wanting him out" feelings and is hopefully making room for a bigger affection and more respect to grow...but I think it will take a little time to fix the damage already done.

So in my opinion and in keeping with the hands off approach for you for a while. I'd like to deal with the allowance myself for a while and do it the way I see fit. I will still use an "earn it" schedule which I'm actually not all for, but I don't want to totally ignore what you want either. I think this is already a decent compromise...it's not your way and it's not mine at all either. I really don't think you can argue that it's already more your way than mine. PLUS, you also aren't looking at the big picture as far as this plan is concerned. Your reason for wanting to use your "listening" plan is that it "would encourage better listening and that would be a huge help to us around the house and in life in general".
If they are cleaing the house...happily trying to earn money...then at the same time, they are not fighting or getting in your way. If they are fighting..then they aren't cleaning..and they don't earn all/any of the allowance that chore is worth.

Can you live with that?
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#2 of 12 Old 05-19-2005, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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oh..I forgot to add something.

He says this
"They always seem to have money piling up for vacations and things and a healthy amount at that so I don't see any need to increase that."

The MOST they've ever had "pile" up was $35 and that was after months of saving for vacation spending. We are supposed to make them buy their own souveneirs

He really makes it sound like hundreds doesn't he?
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#3 of 12 Old 05-19-2005, 06:03 PM
 
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what is the highest amount you both agree on? Maybe giving the 2 girls different set of chores and different amounts to earn since they are different ages too. And one thing I know alot of people do is let the kids take back the bottles for money (not sure if your state does it) (the bottle deposit) I agree on the whole responcibility thing, but I think earning it is also part of it.
It sounds like your guys end result is the same idea, but the *reason* behind it is different for both of you. If that makes sence.
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#4 of 12 Old 05-19-2005, 06:11 PM
 
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Ouch, nobody tells you when you first get married that little things will turn into big things.

1. Any allowence system other than the listening one will be fine. How arbitrary. Seem like it would have more to do with my mood (and how much money I had) then their response.

2. Is the issue to big to deal with now? Are you really talking about allowences now? It seems, and you seemed to focus on that at the end of the email, all the changes that are going on. Doesn't it annoy you to have to ask him what to give your girls? I, of course, am the stepmom, and doesn't it seem that stepparents tend to nitpick about money more? I feel like I do. For most things like this, I give dh my opinion, but shrug at his final decision. Whatever. My stepson (10) gets more allowence than I think he should (8 dollars a week) but I'm not going to fight to the death about it. I feel like as a stepparent, my vote counts SLIGHTLY less then dh. Just slightly. Tiny bit less especially on these kinds of issues.

When I am not sure of my own motives with my stepson, I ask myself, how will I deal with this when my bioson gets older? I surprise my self and catch myself being unfair. ask him if a listening system is what you will use with his own son when he is old enough. I'm guessing he isn't planning to.
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#5 of 12 Old 05-20-2005, 10:53 AM
 
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Julie,

I realize that you are definately having difficulties with your dh, and it is nice that he has started taking a more hands off approach. The age of your girls and his stricter, more authoritarian approach has had to make it difficult.

However, this being said, I do think the possibility of $10 a week too much until they are in their teens. I also agree with you that your girls should have their own responsibilities without the complete expectation of payment for everything. I think a bit more compromise might work. For instance, as an adult you have responsibilities that you are paid for and those that are simply required of you. I think that would work for your girls too. So I would say some tasks like taking your dishes to the sink, making your bed, tidying up your room, and putting their laundry away be things that they are required to do without payment. Then the other items are things they can get paid for and I think that you can play with the payments until they can earn the amount that you think they should be getting.

Keep in mind that the above is simply my opinion and suggestion. Whatever you do will probably be the right way to go since you are more familiar with the situation. Did you already give the note to DH? If not, I would probably try to edit it down. Guys can get frustrated and overwhelmed by a long note to the point that they don't fairly read it. I'm not sure if your dh is like that, but it has been my experience.

Good luck!!
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#6 of 12 Old 05-20-2005, 12:20 PM
 
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We are not custodial, but have always been the household that is expected to give allowance. (Even when we lived in NY and they lived in FL and DH only saw them when he flew down for a long weekend, he was expected to pay allowance - needless to say that didn't fly.) We have a boy 11, and two girls 8 and 5. DH and I have always agreed about the benefits of allowance. Our methodology has changed over the years. Here's what we did:

Method 1: DH and I set arbitrary amounts that the older two kids got sporadically. The little one was only 2 when we started doing allowance, so she didn't get anything. We just picked an amount to give them - I don't remember what the amount was, and I think they were supposed to get it every time they were here. We forgot it more often than not.

DSS went through a phase where he was not helpful at all and DSD1 was doing a lot around the house. DH felt like the oldest child should get the most money, I felt like DSS wasn't earning it. We couldn't seem to reach an agreement, so we instituted

Method 2: We came up with a list similar to yours that put a value on each chore they did. I refuse to pay them to take their dishes to the sink, clean their room, or put away their laundry. I printed out a sheet that we put on the refrigerator, and it was each child's responsibility to mark each time they did a particular chore. (This was during the summer when we had them for a few weeks.) It worked for a couple of weeks, but it was basically a pain in the butt. We then went to our current method:

Method 3: We used our values chart to figure out what each of the older two do each weekend, and from that determined a fair amount that each of them would get each month. Then we picked a number for the youngest. They get their allowance each month on the weekend we have them closest to the end of the month. They have the option of receiving cash, or depositing their allowance into

The Bank of Dad which consists of a spreadsheet on my computer. Each weekend that they don't make a withdrawal from the bank, they earn $1 in interest. Additionally, any money they get for birthdays, holidays, etc., can be deposited. Also, they each occassionally are offered extra chores that will earn them extra money.

DSD currently has about $30 in The Bank of Dad; the girls have nothing because they prefer to get cash and take the money to their mom's house to spend it on candy. As DSD's balance has grown, he has gotten more and more reluctant to make a withdrawal. He jumps at the chance to do extra chores - often asking for them - and any time he gets any money he makes a deposit.

Luckily, we have always been pretty much on the same page about this, but as the step-parent, I have to say that in almost all matters, his opinion trumps mine.
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#7 of 12 Old 05-20-2005, 04:45 PM
 
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On the topic of allowence we do give dss 8 dollars a week, though now he collects monthly (32 dollars at once). He doesn't do chores for this, it is just his part of the monthly budget (like I stash away some for myself and dh allows himself a few monthly prizes). In addition, for extra cash, he can wash the cars, help in yard, do errands for grandpa, etc.

I don't like sticker charts/external motivators, etc. He does have chores, but they are not tied to the allowence and he does help out when asked.
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#8 of 12 Old 05-20-2005, 11:55 PM
 
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Quote:
However, this being said, I do think the possibility of $10 a week too much until they are in their teens. I also agree with you that your girls should have their own responsibilities without the complete expectation of payment for everything. I think a bit more compromise might work. For instance, as an adult you have responsibilities that you are paid for and those that are simply required of you. I think that would work for your girls too. So I would say some tasks like taking your dishes to the sink, making your bed, tidying up your room, and putting their laundry away be things that they are required to do without payment.
I just wanted to agree with this.

We used to give allowance : and when we did, it was based on age. Like the 2 year old got $2; the 10 year old got $10; etc; and it was once every 2 weeks.
The age thing worked out well as a 10 year old might have more expensive wants than a 2 yr old. KWIM?

I really like the Bank of Dad idea! What a wonderful idea!
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#9 of 12 Old 05-21-2005, 02:28 AM
 
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What we do. Both boys (6 and 4) get 1 pound a week pocket money. (=3 Mars bars, to put it in economic terms.) If they do their jobs every day- make their bed, sorting laundry or tidying their room- according to the rota, they get an additional 10p a day, with a 30p bonus if they've done it every day of the week- so another pound. This money is to cover luxuries, like sweets, pocket-money toys, and things like that, but generally it's piling up in the bank.
Oh- they do, however, have to buy their own Xmas presents if they choose to buy rather than make. Pretty much everything else, clothes,food, school lunches and so on we pay for, but that's the one exception.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#10 of 12 Old 05-23-2005, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the input ladies. It really helps to hear what others do and get firsthand experience of what works...or doesn't.

I really don't like the way we're doing it and don't think it will last long either. I guess my major beef was that he seemed to ask for these changes and then is never satisfied even when I give him what he asked for (against my own better judgement).

arghhhhhhhh

...and thanks for posting about the other side FLor. I do agree that it's not necessarily just about the money.

Also, several of you said that you thought $10 a week was too much...and I agree, I don't really think kids that age need that much.....BUT...I also don't agree with how we're doing this to begin with and I really don't think there's any chance they'll actually do ALL those chores in a week. When I put the "clean the room" ones (there are 2 actully...one "tidy" and one "clean") I told them that would be a sliding scale basically..depending on how well they did the job, they would get paid accordingly...did I explain that right?

Also... I only put a decent pay on a few things and those are things that only the oldest daughter will do. The youngest (my little indepent, creative genious) does the least amount possible and is still his "best bud"
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#11 of 12 Old 05-31-2005, 05:07 PM
 
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I agree with your reference to 'the big picture' (toward the end of your response to him). I think that big picture ties in with other feelings and complaints you've expressed about him, here.

Is the girls' bio father ever involved?

One way I would approach all of this (at least for now/temporarily/indefinately) is to have a clear slate in the girls' parenting.

Just behave as if you were still a single mother toward your two girls, and parent them of your own will. Try explaining your need to do this as your need because of your feelings , so as not to imply that there's a right or a wrong person, way, opinion. That way, there's no debating things because they're 'your' feelings and needs and, hopefully, he'll be willing to help you with those! I know, at least, that when most people feel judged they become defensive, whereas if you tell them where you're coming from they're more able to hear you and want to help.


Doing it this way will relieve you and your girls in a few ways:


*Your girls will not 'want him out' and will be more likely to take kindly to him. That will enable the three of them to develop some more positive dynamics in their relationships (especially with him and your older dd). They'll feel more protected by you (see you standing up for their needs,too).

*It will give your dh an opportunity to learn about and reflect on your parenting values. Hopefully he'll one day reflect your values toward your girls, himself, but that will have to build slowly and sincerely. He needs to know -consciously- that you are their primary parent and always will be, and that he needs to follow your example.
You will always know what is best for your dds more than anyone else .

*It will allow you to build your relationship with him and your son in a less-pressured way.


~~~

Blending families is hard.

. . . . . . . .

When my family blended, I thought we'd be the Brady Bunch and All Live Happily Ever After .
I've done a lot of humbling, gruelling learning since then. What's fascinated me the most is that blended family issues are pretty universal. They (the issues) don't discriminate much against family lifestyles, ethnicity, family size, blending details (i.e. shared vs. solitary custody etc.).

Sometimes it helps just to know that there's others out there who feel like you do, and that your and your daughters' feelings are real and justified.





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#12 of 12 Old 05-31-2005, 05:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Flor
. . . . but I'm not going to fight to the death about it. I feel like as a stepparent, my vote counts SLIGHTLY less then dh. Just slightly. Tiny bit less especially on these kinds of issues.

When I am not sure of my own motives with my stepson, I ask myself, how will I deal with this when my bioson gets older? I surprise my self and catch myself being unfair. ask him if a listening system is what you will use with his own son when he is old enough. I'm guessing he isn't planning to.



What a wonderful attitude you have -- you sound like a heavenly stepmother!
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