Parenting Blog

Allowance – When and How Much?

allowanceParents always ask about allowance – when to start it and how much to give.

First – when to start…

You can begin allowance when the child begins to have a very basic understanding of money, usually around 4 or 5 years old. Or earlier, if every trip to Target includes a “can I buy a toy?” discussion.

How much?

Some parents use the $1/year rule, however, a more effective strategy in determining how much cold, hard cash to give for allowance is as follows:

In determining your child’s weekly allowance, you should ask yourself three questions:

1. What do I expect him/her to buy with that allowance? (Savings, charitable contributions, lunch money, spending money, activity money, etc.)

2. How much will he/she reasonably need to do that? (Keep in mind any money they receive from grandparents, etc. during the year.) In the teenage years, consider giving a lump sum (not too much) for the purpose of buying clothes. The child can make the decision on how that money is spent. She can buy one pair of designer shoes or three pairs of fashionable, yet reasonably priced shoes. Once the money runs out, that’s it. Do not give in and “float a loan” until the next allowance date.

3. How much will make him/her just a bit uncomfortable? We don’t want children to be too comfortable or they will lack incentive to work harder! Again, in the teenage years, less money is better than more. It helps them to find a job and it will perhaps make them think twice about spending money on cigarettes and drugs.

More on allowance later. There’s a lot to talk about on this topic. How are you using allowance?

Amy’s Worst Parenting Moments

Earlier this week, I posted a link to a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Bad Parents & Proud Of It“. It was about the “glorification” of bad parenting mistakes and how TV shows, web sites and books are profiting from sharing bad parenting moments.

I promised I would share a few of my worst parenting moments – so here they are. I’ll break them down into “Pre” and “Post” Positive Parenting Solutions. I’m sure I have a lot more – here are two that come to mind!

PRE-Positive Parenting Solutions:

Parents from my in-person classes have heard me talk about my youngest son’s wonderful sense of personal power. Before I knew how to channel that power in positive ways – I was in CONSTANT power struggles with him. One of my “least proud” memories was when we lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. My older son was at a Montessori preschool located 3 minutes from our house. For some crazy reason, we were considering moving him to another Montessori preschool which was located clear across town – a 30-minute drive each way. (This is also evidence of how “over the top” we tend to be with the first-born!) While we evaluated the pros and cons of this “critical” decision in his education, I remember feeling a sense of “absolute glee” because moving my oldest to the new preschool would allow me to have my youngest “retrained” in a car seat for 1 full hour each day where he would actually be content. That was 60 minutes a day that I wouldn’t have to battle with him! That was a low moment for me – I knew I loved this child unconditionally – but why was I so thrilled at the idea of not having to “deal” with him for the 60 minutes per day that we would be in the car?

Well, we didn’t change preschools and thankfully for all of us I learned how I was contributing to the power struggles and how to channel his wonderful power in positive ways.

POST-Positive Parenting Solutions:

This is my more embarrassing story! Armed with the knowledge of what motivates misbehavior and how parents contribute to power struggles – I threw all of that out the window in one bad parenting moment! When my oldest son was in fourth grade, we got into a battle about homework. I can’t recall the specifics, but I remember that my approach was to “demand compliance” and “order” him to get the homework done “right now”!

When I “demanded compliance”, that gave him a perfect opportunity to exert his power and refuse! So, I said “FINE” (with a big attitude) and I ripped the homework page in two! That showed him!

You can only imagine how embarrassed I felt and how defeated my son felt. I knew better – but I let my need for “doing it my way” take over my good sense. Now the tough part…I couldn’t let my son take his worksheet back to school when it was ripped in half. Could I blame this on a dog? No, we don’t have a dog. Well, the only thing for me to do was to suck-it-up and face the consequences of my actions. The next morning I went to see the teacher and told him about my tantrum and apologized for my actions. He knew that I was a parent educator and looked at me like I was the biggest idiot in the world.

But, in the end, it was a teachable moment for all of us! BTW – I told my kids that I was posting an article this week about my worst parenting moments and asked them for suggestions. Kids are so wonderfully forgiving – they couldn’t come up with much except for the usual annoying things that moms do to their kids. Then I reminded them of the homework ripping incident and they both laughed and said in unison – “Yea, that was BAAAAD!!!!”

I don’t like to think of parents as being “good” or “bad”. I think that we’re either “armed with tools we need” or not. I wish some of the parents in the “tell-all” genre of publishing would spend their energies learning positive strategies that would help them deal with misbehavior instead of glorifying the bad moments.

Bad Parents…and Proud of It

The Monday, April 13th issue of The Wall Street Journal highlighted the growing genre of tell-all books, blogs and even a prime-time TV show on ABC (“In the Motherhood”) promoting “true mom and dad confessions.” Last week the morning news shows also jumped on the bandwagon showcasing parents “confessing” their worst parenting moments.

People weigh in on both sides of the issue but those who support the “hold nothing back” confessions say “it’s a step in the right direction to say ‘Yeah, I’m a bad mother, so what?”

How do you feel about it? Click here for the link to The Wall Street Journal Article.

Later this week I’ll share my opinion on the new genre of confessions and post a few of my worst mom confessions. Let us know what you think!

I like this lady

I was in the grocery store this past weekend and ran into a woman who recently graduated from one of my in-person courses.  Her young son was with her and she introduced me as the lady who taught the parenting course she took a few months back.

The small boy said “Hi” to me and then looked at his mother and said, “Mommy, I like this lady.”  The mother inquisitively looked at her son and asked why.  The boy answered, “I like her because she taught you how to do our special one-on-one time.  I like our one-on-one time.”

“Mind, Body & Soul Time’ is the first tool we teach in Positive Parenting Solutions Online.  It is the first of 30 tools you will learn to help you address your children’s misbehaviors.  The lady referenced earlier has young children but the principles in the course and the tools to correct the misbehaviors apply to children that range in age from 1 to 17.

Can I borrow $25?

This sounds like a strange heading doesn’t it?  Well, read on and you’ll understand why.

A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

“Daddy, may I ask you a question?”

“Yeah sure, what is it?” replied the man

“Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”

“That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?” the man asked angrily.

“I just want to know. Please tell me…how much do you make an hour?”

“If you must know, I make $50 an hour.”

“Oh,” the little boy replied, with his head down.

“Daddy, may I please borrow $25?”

The father was furious. “If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. I don’t work hard everyday to put up with such selfishness.”

The little boy quietly went to his room and closed the door.

The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. “How dare he ask such questions only to get some money”, he thought to himself.

After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think:

“Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $25.00 and he really doesn’t ask for money very often”. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

“Are you asleep, son?” He asked.

“No daddy, I’m awake”, replied the boy.

“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier” said the man.

“It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $25 you asked for.”

The little boy sat straight up, smiling. “Oh, thank you daddy!” he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.

The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.

The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

“Why do you want more money if you already have some?” the father grumbled.

“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.

“Daddy, I have $50 now…can I buy an hour of your time?  Please come home early tomorrow.  I would like to have dinner with you.”

The father was devastated. As he eyes welled up with tears, he put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness and scheduled dinner for the next evening.

-Author Unknown

This is just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life.  We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us…those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $50 worth of your time with your children.

If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of hours. But the family & friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.

If you have gone through Positive Parenting Solutions Online, you know the power of ‘Mind, Body and Soul Time”, the difference it can make in your child’s life and how those misbehaviors disappear as you fill their attention baskets.

If you have not yet enrolled in Positive Parenting Solutions Online, take a closer look at what you will learn and how it will make a difference in your life and in the relationship you have with your children.  ‘Mind, Body and Soul Time’ is just one of over 25 tools you will learn.

YOU are the greatest gift you can ever give them.

Thank you for the commitment you are making to your family!

Praise versus Encouragement – Is there a difference?

Absolutely! In Positive Parenting Solutions Online, participants discover why praise can be detrimental to children. Parents learn the difference between praise and encouragement and how to use encouragement to help develop children to their full potential.

The attached article from the ABC News website is a MUST READ!  It describes the results of a research study by Dr. Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., in which children were offered praise for being “smart” or “brilliant” versus being encouraged for hard work, perseverance and strategy.  Please take a few minutes to read the important outcomes of this study and see how the use of praise negatively impacted the children’s willingness to challenge themselves with more difficult tasks.

Ensure that you’re not raising a “praise junkie” and join Positive Parenting Solutions Online today!

Have a wonderful week with your children!

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