Monday, April 30, 2012

Responsbility for pocket money - Bribery or reality?

You know you've neglected your blog when you have to reset your password because its been so long you've forgotten it. Whoops.
I've had a post churning round my head for a week or two that I had to put some thought into first though, because I wanted to really understand where I stand on this.
I posted a while back about it never being too early to start kids on financial savvyness. And this is still something I feel strongly about. But more recently, an acquaintance challenged me on expecting my 11 year old to complete certain tasks each week as part of earning her pocket money. They had equally strong feelings that his was bribery, and THEIR child had unconditional pocket money with no strings attached.
At the time I let it go with a mild comment about that's another point of view. When two people feel this strongly, any further debate is probably just going to be an argument, and really I wasn't sure how well I had thought through my position on this issue.
I feel that my acquaintance confused love with responsibility.
Of course my children have unconditional love. Whether my 11 year old completes her chores and homework, or behaves herself this week, I love her to the moon and back. The same applies to my 11 month old, who lets face it has little control over her behaviour right now and zero responsibility (we are working on putting away toys together, but so far its more fun to pull them out as I put them in the toy box. Its a slow process).
But when it comes to pocket money, I want my daughter learning financial responsibility. I want her learning that money does not come free or easy in life, we work for it, and we need to make smart decisions with it so our efforts are made the most of.
If I do not do my job correctly in my office role, I will lose my job. That's simplifying what would be a long drawn out, ugly performance management process, but it is the end result. If I work hard, I will be rewarded with opportunities, promotions, bonuses, and I will be compensated for my efforts with my salary. I will also have a satisfying career.
Depending on what her life looks like at the time, I have an expectation that my daughter will do her household chores, her homework, and show the right commitment to her chosen extra-curricular activities. Sometimes at busy times of year, my expectations shift. If she is working hard getting ready for dance exams, or working on school projects that take up alot of time, her household chores will reduce (or even disappear), because I also want her to know that she has our support in being the best she can be at school and her activities. I love that she works hard at these things and they SHOULD be her priority.
90% of the time these things all happen seamlessly. And besides spending time together doing nice things and making a point of telling her how much I appreciate her as a part of our family, she also gets her pocket money.
She's not an angel. There are occasions when she is a downright brat who has to be nagged to do her homework constantly, tries to skimp on her chores in favour of TV time, or is just generally bratty. She's a kid. Its normal. But she doesn't get rewarded for that behaviour either.
So having taken time to think through this challenge, I have to say I still do not feel that expecting responsibility for pocket money is bribery. Its just the way life works.

Where do you stand on this? I'm OK being challenged, really!