From my understanding, there are a few ways people approach giving economic opportunities to their children: 1. As a return for doing chores, 2. Simply a monthly allowance, 3. Allow the child to be at the 'luck' / mercy of the parent to have their economic freedom/ having situational funding for whatever the child wants to buy.

Now, what exactly is the most ethical/correct way to approach this?

  • How old is the child? Dec 13 '20 at 16:58
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    I am not sure socialism/capitalism dichotomy has much to do with the question of money and children, and allowance in particular. Dec 13 '20 at 17:01
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    @TimurShtatland I'm eighteen and recently my dad decided to give me an allowance. I started contemplating the kind of political views suggested by how I was given allowance ( Crazy I know). If you really think about it, a monthly allowance w/o questions is basically a lower form of universal basic income in the sense that a higher social structure gives a lower structure money without asking questions.
    – user40123
    Dec 13 '20 at 17:04
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    As it is currently structured, I think this question is very specifically opinion based, and so should be closed. If you want to make it answerable, I suggest being more specific with what you're trying to get at - I think you've got an idea in your head that you're trying to validate, but we can't do that without it being in the question :) "Is it ideal" isn't something we dabble in here - instead, say what you're trying to do with your kids, and then ask how to marry that to "allowance" per se.
    – Joe
    Dec 14 '20 at 3:59
  • Thanks for editing, but I think the edits miss the point. A question that says "Should you do X?" is basically asking for an opinion of which choice you should make. Instead of asking "Should you", instead get at the reasons you might make that choice. Figure out what you need to know, then ask them. If you're unsure of whether an allowance helps achieve the goal of learning to save, ask about that. If you care mostly about the work ethics of someone given money for nothing, ask about that.
    – Joe
    Dec 14 '20 at 7:40

Option 1: link chores to money.

The point of chores is that the child learns to spend a certain amount of time on regular maintenance, and they also learn the basic skills required to e.g. wash up, clean the house, keep tidy, whatever. They will need this when they grow up and move away. They are not doing them simply to make your life easier (though that is a nice side effect).

The trouble is that if you provide money as "payment" for chores you are implicitly setting a price of not doing the chore. So you need to decide what happens when the child decides to exercise the option. If you allow the child to skip the chore then you are losing the point of chores. If you don't allow it then you have exposed your "payment" as a lie.

Option 3: Provide money on application.

This teaches the child that money grows on trees, and the way to get it is to beg, wheedle and pester. They don't learn what money really is and how to handle it.

So I would very much recommend option 2: provide pocket money, and require chores, but don't link the two.

On "socialism" vs "capitalism", the family is not the place for such thinking, and the age at which chores and pocket money become appropriate is far too young to get into ideological questions.


Depends what your parenting goals are. In our case, our goal was to "help our children become happy and responsible adults". That includes learning how to deal with money.

A good method is to gradually increase the amount of money and also the amount of scope of what the can and have to buy with it. That should include some necessities and not just discretionary/fun stuff so they will have to learn how budget and control spending and they also can experience first hand if they screw up and what the consequences are. If they are on the hook for buying their own shoes and they blew all their money on comic books, they just have to run around with bad/broken/ratty shoes until more money comes in.

  1. As a return for doing chores, 2. Simply a monthly allowance, 3. Allow the child to be at the 'luck' / mercy of the parent

Whatever works best and that you and the kids can agree on. Fixed monthly allowance works generally well, but it needs to be clear up front what exactly they are on the hook for both in terms of what they need to buy and what behavioral infringements may reduce that amount. Discuss with your children, make a few suggestions, listen to your children's input and pick whatever seems to work best.

  • I mean, of course, the goal we do it for is mostly straightforward. The complex part is deciding why way is most optimal to do that goal.
    – user40123
    Dec 13 '20 at 17:05