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To Give or Not to Give-How to Teach Children About $


Allowance is apart of life that every parent must deal with at some point in his or her child’s life. When you get to that point in your child’s life and you find yourself wondering if you are helping or hurting your child by giving them money then you are not alone. Many parents wonder how to find the balance between allowing your child to have nice things but ensuring that you are not spoiling them. Ron Leiber’s book, Opposite of Spoiled, is a guide to help parents as they attempt to master that very delicate balance.


Leiber’s book presents the idea of an “Hours of Fun Per Dollar Test.”  An example of that test would be a deck of cards is cheap, it will not require your child to throw away all of his allowance in money in one purchase, but it will allow your child to have hours and hours fun. The point of this is to stress to children that they don’t have to spend money on fancy and expensive toys that they will probably only use once to have fun. Fun can be very cheap, which is a lesson they are better off learning as early as possible!


Opposite of Spoiled also gives a very valuable lesson to parents on the topic of allowance. He says that children should not get allowance for doing chores but for recognizing a problem and taking the initiative to solve it themselves. Simply taking out the trash is not going to cut it these days. Initiative is what is going to be rewarded.  If the lawn is overflowing with leaves in the fall and your child takes it upon himself to rake the leaves despite the task not being a chore then that should earn him allowance. In a generation where kids have a bigger sense of entitlement than ever we should not be rewarding kids for simply helping out around the house. If we do that, we’re tipping the scale towards spoiled. Reward your child for showing a sense of responsibility and independence. If you do that, you have found the balance.