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Should children get paid for doing chores?

Getting a weekly pocket allowance is often one of the most beloved memories from childhood, but should children be introduced to the concept of getting paid to do work early? While it can instil a sense of responsibility and introduce the concept of money-management early in life, it can also mean children grow up to be too money-minded and self-centred. So, should children get cash rewards for helping around the house? Gulf News readers debate.

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Reality

Work that isn’t fun is not always billable

I do agree that the idea of paying money to children to do their chores is alluring in the sense that it will incentivise students to complete their chores, thus indirectly succeeding in inculcating a sense of responsibility and self-awareness in them. However, I do not feel that this is the ideal way to introduce them to the work environment as they will grow up to work under the false pretext that every single minute spent doing something they might not find interesting or enjoyable is billable by the hour whereas these are simply basic and necessary tasks that they must be prepared to carry out as an adult. Lastly, I also feel that associating the concept of money for the completion of everyday tasks, such as washing dishes and cleaning your room, would set an unhealthy precedent of money being given out for basic tasks, not to mention how it would also lead to children developing a highly avaricious mentality, which will adversely affect them in all future endeavours. I also feel that this mindset would clash with the basic moral principle that all children are taught growing up — always be kind to others and do not engage in selfish and greedy acts, which would then place intense pressure on their psyche at such a young and impressionable age. Thus, on the whole, I do not believe that children should be paid money for doing their chores.

From Mr Vaishnav Rajkumar

Student living in Sharjah

Caution

It is good to teach children the value of money

My elder son, who is nine years old, tries to strike a deal with me every time. However, for him, more than money, it is about awarding it with playtime, because we ration the time he can spend on video games over the weekend. So, even though there is no money involved, there is definitely a reward point.

I also don’t think it is a bad idea to pay children for chores, because they can learn from the experience. Nowadays, most parents just have a child or two and we tend to spoil them sometimes. Because of this, they don’t seem to value money much. My child, for example keeps asking me, “Ma, can I have Dh10,000 or Dh20,000?” What he wants to do with that money is buy cars or a silly online game. So, to him such an amount of money is nothing. This is why it is good to tell them and create a feeling within them that you don’t just get money when you ask for it. You will have to earn it.

But I would use this ‘paying for chores’ concept very cautiously.

I don’t think it would turn them into adults who expect to be paid for basic chores, because if you think about it – for a child doing dishes or cleaning their room is not basic. I think being money-minded is not that bad a thing. They just need to understand that money brings power. Unless they use that power with a lot of responsibility, it can be disastrous. That is the kind of value system you need to instill in them. So, if my son does ask me for money, I tell him, you see me going out every morning and coming back in the evening. We work very hard and if you need money, you need to work hard as well. You also need to bring the perspective that while money is not everything, you do need it to sustain yourself.

From Ms Priya M. Nair

Bid manager at an Abu Dhabi-based firm and mother of two

Patience

Instead of cash, reward children with experiences

The term ‘get paid’ is not appropriate. It sounds a little harsh from both the parents and child’s perspective. Instead, why not phrase it to something more motivational, and which is a positive reinforcement – like ‘reward’. It could be anything that makes a child happy, whether an experience or a thing. For example, if a child is into collecting items, watching movies or likes to go on trips, you could encourage them to do chores and reward them with those things.

However, I do feel children today are disconnected with the reality of what money is and how difficult it is to earn. They tend to devalue money and don’t know how to spend it correctly. I think it has to do with the current generation, as we they don’t really have patience for things. They simply want things done quick and easy.

It also falls on parents to teach them this concept, as a lot of times with modern parenting, they just give money when a child asks for it. Not every parent takes the time to explain such things to their children.

When I was a child, if I did chores at home, my mum would take me to a grocery store and I would go on a shopping spree. But nowadays, parents don’t really push their children to earn the money they spend.

From Mr Nicart Obsuna

Physical education head at a Dubai-based school

Parenting

I always got a weekly allowance and that taught me the value of money

Yes, it teaches them how to be responsible and realise that when you do a good job, you would get paid for it. That is how I grew up. I would get an allowance every week and if I didn’t do something the money would get deducted. So, they are learning to earn in life, without asking for things. Nowadays it seems like they are depending on their parents for everything, without really earning it. We need to teach children the purpose of money – you have to earn it to spend it. So, if you can’t earn it yourself, you can’t spend it yourself.

I would also agree that this introduces the concept of the work environment to children. Even if you go to a job, if you don’t do your job you are either fired or the money gets deducted from your salary. So, you are more careful with handling other people’s product or work.

I don’t think this would make children grow up to be money-minded or selfish. Everything in life is a reward or payment for what you have done. So, no matter what you do – make your bed, clean your room or take the trash, you get paid for it. I grew up being given a weekly allowance, and I don’t think I am money-minded. It just taught me that if I wanted anything in life, I would have to earn it. You don’t just get money when you say, “I want to buy something”.

Nowadays, if you look at the things children want to buy – computers, expensive shoes and clothes – they expect parents to buy it. When I was young, I would pay for everything I wanted. I loved reading, so I would save up my allowance and buy books. That is what I taught my children as well as my grandchildren. But because it is now missing in the world, you can see the change in people’s attitudes. Everybody wants, but nobody wants to give. Children have turned into ‘push-button children’ – they want to push a button and get what they want. We, on the other hand, had to earn it. I come from a family where I was taught to respect money. My aunt, who was a banker, taught me about money management. She also told me that if you have a credit card and you can’t pay it off, then you can’t afford to buy the things you are buying. Sounds simple, but how many people follow it? Just imagine, if you prudently saved all the money you have received over the years, without spending it on things you couldn’t afford or didn’t need, you would be a lot richer than you currently are. Only if you listened to your parents!

From Ms Diane Nobles-Eldakak

Operations Manager at a nursery in Abu Dhabi

— Compiled by Huda Tabrez/Community Web Editor

Poll question: Should children get paid for doing chores?

Yes 48%

No 52%

Have Your say:

Do you think it is a good way to encourage children, who would normally be reluctant to do chores, and introduce them to the concept of the work environment? Or will they get a false idea of getting paid for fulfilling basic responsibilities of adult life? Share your views and join us for future debates. Write to us at readers@gulfnews.com

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