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#1 of 30 Old 06-30-2008, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 12 yr old SS lives with his mother, and sees us for 6 weeks during the summer, every other weekend, Wednesdays, and alternating holidays. He lives about 30 min away, and my DH has always been very active in his life.
SS does not receive an allowance and does not have a job of any sort. He thus never has any money of his own, unless someone gives it to him. I consider him to be somewhat spoiled and materialistic, and though he is generally a good kid, he is also sometimes a pre-teen brat.

I think that having an allowance or a job would help him learn the value of money and of hard work. I think my DH agrees with me (and obviously this is his decision, not mine) but the problem is that SS is not with us that often. I hesitate to give him an allowance when we only see him infrequently and when he has hardly any chores or other responsibilities at our house. I guess I feel that the money will fall into the "sinkhole" that is his mother's. At the same time, I get tired of being nickel and dimed for things I used to consider treats but he seems to consider necessities. I would like to be able to tell him that if he wants something he has to buy it. I also think allowances are valuable in teaching children money management.

I'm also kind of annoyed that his mother doesn't see this as important, but I obviously can't change her.

What do you do? What should I do? If I do give him an allowance, should it be tied to chores? How much should it be?

Thanks.
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#2 of 30 Old 06-30-2008, 06:16 PM
 
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Allowance is something that is dp's decision. Does he agree with your point of view on things?

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#3 of 30 Old 06-30-2008, 07:47 PM
 
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We don't give my DSS an allowance here, because he doesn't have a similar option with his mom. She thinks he is too young (11) and shouldn't have to start "work" at such a young age. I know that my DH thinks it is a good idea, and teaches a value for money when you have to work to earn something vs just have a $20 handed to you. So my DD (12) who lives with us FT does have an allowance and earns money through babysitting.

DSS does have certain small chores around our house like keeping his room tidy and taking the dog out. Those are done for free, the same way I do the laundry for the family and make dinner, DH takes out the garbage, etc.
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#4 of 30 Old 06-30-2008, 09:58 PM
 
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Everyone who lives in this house (full or part time) contributes to the routine maintenance of the home. Nobody gets paid for it. However, kids can be paid for extra or especially onerous chores, and if they want money they are allowed to ask for chores, though pestering us if we say no is not allowed. My house and yard were gorgeous when two of my boys were saving for new bikes!

Everyone who lives in this house also gets a little mad money to use for non-essential treats. We reserve the right to put boundaries around how the children spend the money since we view it as a tool for learning to manage money and save for special things.

Those are our values so that's what we do here. It's different at their other homes but we don't base our decisions about what to do on what they do there.

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#5 of 30 Old 06-30-2008, 10:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by UptownZoo View Post
Everyone who lives in this house (full or part time) contributes to the routine maintenance of the home. Nobody gets paid for it. However, kids can be paid for extra or especially onerous chores, and if they want money they are allowed to ask for chores, though pestering us if we say no is not allowed. My house and yard were gorgeous when two of my boys were saving for new bikes!

Everyone who lives in this house also gets a little mad money to use for non-essential treats. We reserve the right to put boundaries around how the children spend the money since we view it as a tool for learning to manage money and save for special things.
That is a pretty good summary of how I grew up and how it will be handled at our house. Our kids are still pretty young and we are just beginning to think about it for the oldest... but the above poster pretty much spelled out our philosophy!

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#6 of 30 Old 06-30-2008, 10:42 PM
 
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Everyone who lives in this house (full or part time) contributes to the routine maintenance of the home. Nobody gets paid for it. However, kids can be paid for extra or especially onerous chores, and if they want money they are allowed to ask for chores, though pestering us if we say no is not allowed. My house and yard were gorgeous when two of my boys were saving for new bikes!

Everyone who lives in this house also gets a little mad money to use for non-essential treats. We reserve the right to put boundaries around how the children spend the money since we view it as a tool for learning to manage money and save for special things.

Those are our values so that's what we do here. It's different at their other homes but we don't base our decisions about what to do on what they do there.

Yup, same here. My ss isn't here much but when he's here, he participates and helps with the chores my kids do daily. We have "I love you" gifts that we give occasionally and if any of the kids (including dss) wants something big, they do above-and-beyond chores to save up the money for it.
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#7 of 30 Old 06-30-2008, 10:42 PM
 
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We don't give an allowance here either. We do encourage them to come up with ways to make money. DSD has had a lemonade and donut stand. We will front the money for the suppllies. She will reimburse that money and keep the profit. One morning or afternoon of doing that is generally good for $15. We do have some generous neighbors that let them keep the change. She loves it and feels in control of earning money for herself.

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#8 of 30 Old 06-30-2008, 11:58 PM
 
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I also agree with UptownZoo. Everyone who lives here (and is old enough) is expected to do their part to keep up the house. DSD lives here half of the time. We have toyed with the idea of giving DSD an allowance (we talked about it around when she started kindergarten and her 5th birthday). It didn't seem like something that she was ready for at that time, so we waited.

DF wanted to start an allowance once she was mature enough to handle the concept of chores. ATM she has three things that she does regularly, when we ask (help set the table, clean up her toys/room, help clean Chuckë's cage). These aren't necessarily things that she takes ownership of, kwim? She does them, but she doesn't think of them as her chores.

However, when she does get an allowance, it won't be tied to chores. Otherwise, she could just choose to forgo the allowance and not to the chores, and both items are just part of being in our family (once you are of age).

With your dss, I would give him responsibilities when he is with you, and give him some sort of allowance proportional to his time with you and his age. When he is with you for a chunk of time in the summer, increase it. Base it off of what the other kids receive.

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#9 of 30 Old 07-01-2008, 09:26 AM
 
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My DSD is only 4, but DP has been giving her an allowance into her piggy bank for as long as I have known them, and likely before. She gets a $1 for helping him clean her hamster cage. And she gets a lot of loose change from him and her grandparents that go into the piggy bank too.

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#10 of 30 Old 07-01-2008, 09:38 AM
 
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We decided quite some time ago that we didn't want to be in the position of "rewarding" the kids for simply being good people and good citizens of the household. All of the children (ages 7, 9, 9 and 11) in our household (full or part-time) are expected to contribute to the upkeep of the home without reimbursement. This is what you do when you live with people. The children are expected to do a very reasonable number of chores that are appropriate to their age. If they do not do their chores (which are not onerous and take about 5-10 minutes/day), they lose privilages - video games, visits to friend's houses, etc. Each child is given a small amount of money per week that is not tied to his or her chores. It is with this money that the children are expected to buy most of their non-essentials. It actually works out very well because it has taken the fight out of many situations where whining would rear its ugly head: the ice cream truck, visits to the toy store when we're downtown, video game rental, stickers for the skateboard, etc. We simply do not guy these things for the kids anymore and if they want them, they have to use their own money. An unexpected side effect of this arrangement is that the kids seem to "want" far fewer non-essentials than they ever did before. The older children will sometimes do "big jobs" for which we reimburse modestly: mowing the elderly neighbor's lawn, vacuuming out the cars, helping clean the basement, etc. These are not required jobs and the kids really only ask to do them if they have a bigger item they're trying to save up for.

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#11 of 30 Old 07-01-2008, 10:30 AM
 
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With your dss, I would give him responsibilities when he is with you, and give him some sort of allowance proportional to his time with you and his age. When he is with you for a chunk of time in the summer, increase it. Base it off of what the other kids receive.
Are you serious?! I don't mean to be snarky, or rude, but this just blows my mind.

What a way to set up a "difference" between the kids. With one (the one, btw, that already gets less time in your household) being treated as if his/her belonging *is indeed* proportional on the time they spend. Instead of being a full-fledged member of the household on equal footing with the other kids, but who just happens to also belong to another household and spend time there too.

I was a step kid, with step siblings. I am so grateful that my stepdad never made me feel like I belonged "less" or deserved "less" than his biological kids with my mother because I had to spend less time with them/more time with my biological father.
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#12 of 30 Old 07-01-2008, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Allowance is something that is dp's decision. Does he agree with your point of view on things?
I agree that this is my DH's decision, he does agree with my POV and I am trying to get some perspective about what others do.

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Yup, same here. My ss isn't here much but when he's here, he participates and helps with the chores my kids do daily. We have "I love you" gifts that we give occasionally and if any of the kids (including dss) wants something big, they do above-and-beyond chores to save up the money for it.
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I also agree with UptownZoo. Everyone who lives here (and is old enough) is expected to do their part to keep up the house. DSD lives here half of the time. We have toyed with the idea of giving DSD an allowance (we talked about it around when she started kindergarten and her 5th birthday). It didn't seem like something that she was ready for at that time, so we waited.
<snip>
With your dss, I would give him responsibilities when he is with you, and give him some sort of allowance proportional to his time with you and his age. When he is with you for a chunk of time in the summer, increase it. Base it off of what the other kids receive.
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We decided quite some time ago that we didn't want to be in the position of "rewarding" the kids for simply being good people and good citizens of the household. All of the children (ages 7, 9, 9 and 11) in our household (full or part-time) are expected to contribute to the upkeep of the home without reimbursement. This is what you do when you live with people. The children are expected to do a very reasonable number of chores that are appropriate to their age. If they do not do their chores (which are not onerous and take about 5-10 minutes/day), they lose privilages - video games, visits to friend's houses, etc. Each child is given a small amount of money per week that is not tied to his or her chores. It is with this money that the children are expected to buy most of their non-essentials. It actually works out very well because it has taken the fight out of many situations where whining would rear its ugly head: the ice cream truck, visits to the toy store when we're downtown, video game rental, stickers for the skateboard, etc. We simply do not guy these things for the kids anymore and if they want them, they have to use their own money. An unexpected side effect of this arrangement is that the kids seem to "want" far fewer non-essentials than they ever did before. The older children will sometimes do "big jobs" for which we reimburse modestly: mowing the elderly neighbor's lawn, vacuuming out the cars, helping clean the basement, etc. These are not required jobs and the kids really only ask to do them if they have a bigger item they're trying to save up for.
Ok, so this makes sense and coincides with how I was raised-- you have chores, because you are a member of the family (and we need to give him regular chores, too) and an allowance is separate. So then the failure to do chores results in a loss of privileges, such as computer / video games / etc.
And then "big" tasks can be asked for if the child wants to save for something large.
Mild adventurer, how much allowance do you give your 11 year old?
And I guess if we give allowance, it should be when we see SS, every other weekend? Except when he's with us longer in the summer?
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#13 of 30 Old 07-01-2008, 12:05 PM
 
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I've always given his age in dollars. When he was 11, he got 11 dollars, etc. With the understanding that the frequency of payment was tied to whatever our budget situation is at any given time and stuff. Sometimes it's been every 2 weeks other times it's been every week. Which I think has helped him learn that when times are tight, it's okay to cut back. The sky is not going to fall.
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#14 of 30 Old 07-01-2008, 03:46 PM
 
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Selesai, right now all the children receive $7/week. We occassionally talk about bumping it up to $10, but we haven't yet, because we want to silently encourage them to take on those bigger "paying" tasks when they want to save up for something big. We've never considered paying the kids different amounts and so far no one has asked. Our 11-year old definitely does more of the paying jobs, so in the end, she always has more money at her disposal than the younger ones.

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#15 of 30 Old 07-01-2008, 03:51 PM
 
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Are you serious?! I don't mean to be snarky, or rude, but this just blows my mind.

What a way to set up a "difference" between the kids. With one (the one, btw, that already gets less time in your household) being treated as if his/her belonging *is indeed* proportional on the time they spend. Instead of being a full-fledged member of the household on equal footing with the other kids, but who just happens to also belong to another household and spend time there too.

I was a step kid, with step siblings. I am so grateful that my stepdad never made me feel like I belonged "less" or deserved "less" than his biological kids with my mother because I had to spend less time with them/more time with my biological father.
I can't speak for the person you responded to, but I assumed she meant they'd pay their part of an allowance. For example, in our case, we pay DSS's allowance on Fridays. So if he with us on a Friday, we pay it, and if he's not with us, it's his mom's allowance week. This is proportional to time spent but I don't think it's unfair or would make him feel "less."

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#16 of 30 Old 07-01-2008, 04:08 PM
 
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My SD receives a generous allowance on each Sunday that she is in our care. (several weeks in the summer, alternating school holidays) Her room must be clean and her personal belongings put away for her to receive her allowance. She is responsible for all snacks, toys, non-essential items or things she needs to be responsible for. For example, this year she left her swimsuit at the hotel so she had to buy a new one with her allowance.

If she leaves her room a mess or her personal belongings astray at the end of the visit, her first allowance on the next visit is docked.

Apart from her allowance, she is expected to contribute to the family upkeep beyond putting her own belongings away. For example, she sets the table, helps Dad clean up after dinner, and helps when asked.

In addition, there is a chore chart list for which she can earn extra money. BEFORE she asks to do a chore (and she has to get preapproval), her room needs to be clean, bed made, and bathroom tidy. Many of the things on the chore chart are part of our regular housework so when she sees me starting to do housework in the summer mornings, she usually wants to help. It is a great "carrot-styled" incentive for her to keep her room and bath tidy first thing in the morning and getting dressed on those lazy no-school days. There is no "partial credit" on chores, either they are done or not. If she does an unsatisfactory job, she has the option to be paid and not asked to do that job again, or correcting herself and continuing to be "hired" for it again in the future.

Written out this all sounds a lot colder than it is in practice. DSD works well with firm and clear expectations so we've adjusted to meet those needs. Our system is a nice compromise between my DH's desire to tie money to work and my desire to emphasize that family pitches in for family regardless of money.
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#17 of 30 Old 07-01-2008, 05:07 PM
 
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I can't speak for the person you responded to, but I assumed she meant they'd pay their part of an allowance. For example, in our case, we pay DSS's allowance on Fridays. So if he with us on a Friday, we pay it, and if he's not with us, it's his mom's allowance week. This is proportional to time spent but I don't think it's unfair or would make him feel "less."
That is somewhat different. In what you describe, both households are on the same page that your DSS's allowance is X amount per week, and on the same page as to how to divide that "cost" between the households. And, I assume, far enough on the same page that your DSS is/would be getting that allowance on EQUAL footing (same method of calculation for the child's total allowance) with all of his siblings from both households (irregardless of who pays what to whom).

Quite different than a situation where the child only gets an allowance from one household because only one household gives an allowance, but s/he only spends X% of time in the household so only "deserves" that same % of the allowance that his/her (step)siblings get because they are there 100% of the time.

(The latter is, quite frankly, how the post I responded to came off when I first read it, and how it still comes off now that I've re-read it. I could be wrong, though, since I'm not a mind reader. Which is why I used considerable restraint in replying, BTW.)
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#18 of 30 Old 07-01-2008, 05:23 PM
 
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That is somewhat different. In what you describe, both households are on the same page that your DSS's allowance is X amount per week, and on the same page as to how to divide that "cost" between the households. And, I assume, far enough on the same page that your DSS is/would be getting that allowance on EQUAL footing (same method of calculation for the child's total allowance) with all of his siblings from both households (irregardless of who pays what to whom).

Quite different than a situation where the child only gets an allowance from one household because only one household gives an allowance, but s/he only spends X% of time in the household so only "deserves" that same % of the allowance that his/her (step)siblings get because they are there 100% of the time.

(The latter is, quite frankly, how the post I responded to came off when I first read it, and how it still comes off now that I've re-read it. I could be wrong, though, since I'm not a mind reader. Which is why I used considerable restraint in replying, BTW.)
So you would pay allowance to a child on weeks he/she wasn't with you if there were no allowance at the other house?

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#19 of 30 Old 07-01-2008, 06:16 PM
 
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So you would pay allowance to a child on weeks he/she wasn't with you if there were no allowance at the other house?
It would depend on the exact custody schedule, now wouldn't it. I very likely would in all but one situation. (And, for the record, depending on the visitation schedule AND how allowances worked in both households (i.e. whether or not they were coordinated, the ages of ALL the children involved, how much money I had available for allowances overall), I might even go so far as to pay allowance when the child is not with me EVEN IF they get another allowance at the other house too. Perhaps. At the very least, I would consider it very carefully and with an open mind.) Because I know how important it was growing up to never have been made to feel "displaced" or "less than" in either household.

What I would NOT do is calculate the children's allowance* BASED ON TIME SPENT in the household. Especially in split week, alternating weekend, or other frequent, short-term parenting time alternation type situations. (i.e. any schedule that involves time in both households every month or more often)

* Please note, the children's allowance is what the children receive on allowance day, which is not necessarily always exactly what one individual parent pays out over the course of an entire year.

If that means monthly allowances for all, so be it (which is the only form of allowance I had growing up).

If that means bi-weekly allowances, so be it.

If it means the type of arrangement (same allowance in both houses paid alternately by the different households on the same day of the week depending on where the child is) that violet_ described, so be it.

There is some wiggle room in my mind for those visitation schedules involving large distances and large chunks of time (more than a month or two) between visits with no "in person" contact in between...
In which case, the allowance is "the same" while living in one household, but there is not necessarily in my mind a need to mail an allowance check half way across the country every week of the year. (Of course, this automatically makes it proportionate to time spent when looking at the parent's annual allowance budget per kid. But it does NOT give the kid less when he or she is present.)

However, let me re-quote the post I first responded to:
Quote:
With your dss, I would give him responsibilities when he is with you, and give him some sort of allowance proportional to his time with you and his age. When he is with you for a chunk of time in the summer, increase it. Base it off of what the other kids receive.
Emphasis mine.

Please note, as written, this quote is not saying simply: give all kids $X in allowance every Saturday (or whatever day of the week/month allowances are paid on), and give DSS the same when he is with you.

It clearly says to make it proportionate to time spend. AND (here's the kicker) to increase it when he is there for larger chunks of time. The implication of which is that for shorter chunks of time, he will receive less than the other kids on any given week. NOT cool.

Get it?
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#20 of 30 Old 07-02-2008, 12:51 AM
 
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Everyone who lives in this house (full or part time) contributes to the routine maintenance of the home. Nobody gets paid for it. However, kids can be paid for extra or especially onerous chores, and if they want money they are allowed to ask for chores, though pestering us if we say no is not allowed. My house and yard were gorgeous when two of my boys were saving for new bikes!

Everyone who lives in this house also gets a little mad money to use for non-essential treats. We reserve the right to put boundaries around how the children spend the money since we view it as a tool for learning to manage money and save for special things.

Those are our values so that's what we do here. It's different at their other homes but we don't base our decisions about what to do on what they do there.
Same here. We recently had a similar issue as the OP. Dss is 13 and though dh and I work our butts off and are frugle, I felt like dss thought he was rich! He always asked for and received money for everything he wanted to do. One day dh gave him 15 dollars and he went to the store and bought Yughioh cards. Spent the entire 15 dollars and I thought, well, of course he did. He didn't earn it and there will be more as soon as he asks.

A few months ago we started giving him 50 dollars a month. He does his chores (room and trash) and isn't paid for that. His money is his part of our family budget which he uses mostly as he pleases. He uses it for movies, trips with friends, fast food,ect. If he needs more he does work around the house for 10 dollars an hour (usually pretty hard labor, painting, landscaping, weeding,etc.). It seems to be working well. He is actually saving and reconsidering impulse purchases. He also uses some for clothes. For example, I pay $25 for jeans, $12 for t-shirts, $50 for shoes. If he wants more expensive name-brand clothes, he makes up the difference.

He mostly lives here. I know that some money gets lost at mom's and he doesn't get allowance there, she just buys him things, but it really has worked fine.
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#21 of 30 Old 07-02-2008, 01:36 AM
 
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Get it?
Sheesh. I just asked a question.

"Fairness" is a difficult concept in blended families, and the more complex, the more difficult it gets. My family is very complex. The only way to make certain no one ever felt slighted would be to make sure that my prior kids and DP's prior kid never saw/talked to each other, and that none of them ever saw/talked to our youngest. I won't even talk about my SS from my first marriage. We give all the older kids the same allowance, but my older kids know d@mn well that SS has access to waaay more money than they do because his mom pays him outrageously for small chores. Thus, they're hurt that we won't adjust their allowance up and SS's down to compensate.

Fair means one thing to us: each child has 100% of what he or she needs, and some of what he or she wants. It doesn't mean we spend the same amount of money on each child. It's a hard lesson, when one kid has an $800 bike and all the rest of the kids have $175 bikes. They've had to learn that money does not equal love and I think that's worthwhile.

I guess the short answer is that I think your goal is worthwhile, to try not cause any child to feel displaced or less-than. I don't think, though, that you can necessarily prevent that IRL.

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#22 of 30 Old 07-02-2008, 01:47 AM
 
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I didn't really mean to start a war, here. I also didn't mean for the OP to get out a calculator.

FWIW, I grew up with divorced parents who remarried. In my situation, the custodial parent handled the allowance (my dad for my brother and my mom for me). I didn't expect allowance from my dad, my brother didn't expect it from my mom. We both received allowance when they lived together.

I was really only speaking to the OP's situation, where the child in question is quite a bit older than the two children that live in the house full time. So in my view, his allowance would be quite a bit more than theirs because his "expenses" are greater. And as he is almost a teenager, they will become even more as his social life develops. The other children in the house will still most likely be in elementary school when he graduates from high school.

However, I don't think that a non-custodial parent should be expected to pay an allowance that covers all of a teen's expenses because the child does not live in that house much of the time. During the summer, when he is living there full-time for a bit, they would be expected to cover all of his expenses. This is similar to any other expense with regard to this child. When he is with them, they pay for all food, toiletries, whatnot. When he is at the other house, allowance is their responsibility.

So if he is there on a weekend, slip him a $20 (or whatever works for the household) and call it allowance. If he is living there over the summer, it would be more. The age difference between him and the other two is so great that I doubt they will be comparing. In our house, the number we've tossed about for young children was around $5/week. I wasn't assuming that allowance distribution was going to be a ceremonial thing where the OP and her dh doled out the money while all over the kids stood there and compared.

In my book, it is one of those things that goes hand-in-hand with having two houses. There are some advantages (two birthday parties, in many cases) and some disadvantages (if one parent decides not to pay allowance, then the child might not get as much money). On the same note, the child may be expected to contribute to the household in different amounts at both houses as well.

To me, it seems a bit much to expect the non-custodial parent to pay the child's entire allowance. There is another parent who can contribute as well.

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#23 of 30 Old 07-02-2008, 08:25 AM
 
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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.

I do 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.
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#24 of 30 Old 07-02-2008, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree that fairness in blended families is difficult. I also agree that due to the age difference between my children and my stepson, the opportunity for comparisons between them re: allowance is minimal. However, I don't think anything will ever be fair. SS has a whole other family from whom he gets presents, holidays, and vacations. My children don't. Now, SS has to split his life down the middle. My children don't. There is no way to remedy these things-- it's just the way it is.

That being said, I kind of understand what you are saying, Ione. We would pay SS an allowance on the fridays he is with us, and if my children were the same age, I would pay them under the same framework (and because they are always with us, they would receive allowance every week whereas SS only receives it biweekly). I don't feel that is unfair. We would offer an allowance primarily for use at our house. That is our prerogative, although I recognize that it may not be a popular one.

And I suppose parents have no obligation to provide allowance, but I think that SS's mother should. He is in danger of being raised just like she was-- entitled, without any notion of money management. I think we can do better by him.

Thanks for all of the suggestions, by the way. I think we've pretty much figured out what we're going to do.
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#25 of 30 Old 07-02-2008, 11:47 AM
 
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Glad you've figured out what you're going to do! That was the point after all.

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Originally Posted by Selesai View Post
However, I don't think anything will ever be fair. SS has a whole other family from whom he gets presents, holidays, and vacations. My children don't. Now, SS has to split his life down the middle. My children don't. There is no way to remedy these things-- it's just the way it is.
You're entirely right here. Some things just are.

My whole point is, however, that no matter how unfair the situation is on macro level (between 2 households, in society at large, etc.), you can avoid doing things that would make a child feel less-than or excluded within a micro-level situation (i.e. one household) when compared to their (half)siblings because of that "unfair macro situation" outside of your control that needs to be dealt with somehow.

Again, I'm not hung up on "strictly equal" necessarily, I'm hung up on things that send a message of "proportionate belonging", "less-than", etc. within any one given household.

My brother, sisters and I almost never got exactly the same stuff or same amounts of allowance, vacations, whatever as we were growing up. But within "mom's" household (if not across households) NONE of those differences ever grew out of anything that could not have also existed in a non-blended family. Age played a big factor, probably the biggest factor. As did temperament, needs, what was financially or logistically possible one year vs. other possibilities at a different time (you can do more with a pre-teen and a baby than you can with a teen and 4 kids under 6, for ex., blended or not), etc.

Sure, I "missed out" on some stuff because I went to my father's, while my siblings didn't... But it was logistical and based primarily on all kinds of other considerations (when my parents could take off work, for ex., or whether I really wanted to go on XYZ vacation or thought I was "too old" for "baby stuff") and, if we hadn't been a blended family, I could just as easily have missed the same stuff because I wanted to go somewhere with friends, too.

You can't make it the same. You can't change what is. But that doesn't mean that kids who have to split their lives between two households can't also be full-fledged members of both households (rather than half-members of both).
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#26 of 30 Old 07-02-2008, 12:13 PM
 
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DSD works for her dad 4-8 hours a weekend (working on paperwork, running errands, and helping dp sort out the basement), and puts half the money into her savings, the rest becomes her play money. If she doesn't work - no play money.

At the same time, we do provide things she needs, and on occasion things she wants. Big ticket items come in on holidays.

It worked well enough before she lived with us and even now that she is with us. Also provides some bonding time for her and her dad. So no controversy here... She gets money on her mom's side for babysitting, although she hasn't done that in a while.

That's our arrangements.

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Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
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#27 of 30 Old 07-03-2008, 12:51 PM
 
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Everyone who lives in this house (full or part time) contributes to the routine maintenance of the home. Nobody gets paid for it. However, kids can be paid for extra or especially onerous chores, and if they want money they are allowed to ask for chores, though pestering us if we say no is not allowed. My house and yard were gorgeous when two of my boys were saving for new bikes!

Everyone who lives in this house also gets a little mad money to use for non-essential treats. We reserve the right to put boundaries around how the children spend the money since we view it as a tool for learning to manage money and save for special things.

Those are our values so that's what we do here. It's different at their other homes but we don't base our decisions about what to do on what they do there.
That's what I do, too. Both kids (at 14 & 16) have (very) p/t jobs as well. They kick in ~10% of their earnings into a common pot which we use for extras, and cover their own incidental expenses. Regular chores they do as part of the household, but there are other jobs that they can do around the house that I will pay them for.

At their Dad's, they get $5/wk allowance (pro-rated for the number of days they are there). Their stepsibs are paid extra for extra jobs, but ours aren't permitted to do any of them. Nor are they allowed to bring/spend any of their money from here.
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#28 of 30 Old 07-03-2008, 02:01 PM
 
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That's what I do, too. Both kids (at 14 & 16) have (very) p/t jobs as well. They kick in ~10% of their earnings into a common pot which we use for extras, and cover their own incidental expenses. Regular chores they do as part of the household, but there are other jobs that they can do around the house that I will pay them for.
I know this is a wee bit off topic . . . I really like that. Putting in 10% of their earnings for incidentals. Both of the 16 yr olds in our home have part time jobs and I get annoyed when they ask for money for tampons, shaving creams and shampoos etc. . . . they make 'good' money and can afford it themselves. Good idea.
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#29 of 30 Old 07-03-2008, 04:15 PM
 
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Their stepsibs are paid extra for extra jobs, but ours aren't permitted to do any of them. Nor are they allowed to bring/spend any of their money from here.
that's bizzar...

New endeavor coming soon...
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
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#30 of 30 Old 07-03-2008, 05:13 PM
 
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I didn't understand the stepsibs get to do extra but our kids not thing either - is that at their dad's house? that seems weird
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