We have debated starting the trio on an allowance for at least a year.
The kids have to clear the table, make their beds, fold and put away their clothes, and do a few other odds and ends.
That’s a responsibility of a family member. One we didn’t want to make “payment worthy.”
Yet, fundamentally, the idea of an allowance and teaching money management appealed to us.
Add to this concept of allowances rolling around that we’ve been dealing with some pretty bad habits/behaviors. I’ve written about seven year old challenges. I’m allowing myself to believe it will improve now that they’ve turned 8.
But what if we don’t nip these bad behaviors in the bud? One friend told me this is our chance. If we haven’t turned the tide by 10, then they may carry the problematic habit or attitude into teenagedom.
Sigh. Let’s not add more drama than we need to triplet teenagers.
So, an idea struck me when the boys were begging for allowances again this weekend.
Let me begin by saying I absolutely understand all the parents out there who just “blessed my heart” for “paying” for character. I’m not paying for character. You can’t pay for character. You have to teach it. And we are seriously trying.
BUT… one of the most incentivizing forces (at least for the boys) is money. Cold hard cash. Dinero. Geld. L’Argent.
They are saving for a special acquisition. Pooling their money together and boy have they banked some moolah.
So why not focus on rewarding improvements in important characteristics?
Each member of our family has their own behavioral struggles.
One takes NO responsibility. He moves slowly and lets others do his work. In addition, when there’s trouble, it’s never his fault… (Insert my eyes rolling. Which I shouldn’t do. Modeling respect and all.)
One has serious patience issues. He gets mad and fast.
Another can be a grouchy wildcat, especially in the morning.
This led me to initially develop a plan where ach worked on their challenging characteristic, and then each could earn a reward at the end of each week if they did well.
But I worried it would hyper focus on a weak point in each of them and reinforce negatives. I know that could certainly demoralize me. Plus, each of the skills we’d focus on for one would help them all.
Who can’t use an extra dose of responsibility? I sure can.
So we kicked off our character allowance this week with responsibility. The challenge begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday. They are informed at bedtime if they received a check mark for exhibiting the characteristic all day. I will not penalize their allowance for other bad behavior. This means if one brother punches another one, but our characteristic isn’t kindness or patience, he’ll be punished but not lose a check mark toward their character allowance.
I really want to do this.
I’m terrible about starting things with the kids and then not following through. I’m making a list of focus characteristics (and I welcome any ideas you parents of elementary school kids have).
I’d like to support each focus area with what the Bible has to say about the trait.
This week, our scripture guidance for responsibility comes from a couple of places. Primarily, Galatians 6:4-5:
Each one should test their own actions.
Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,
for each one should carry their own load.
Then, as support, we’re using:
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord.
I Timothy 6:20
Guard the treasure you were given! Guard it with your life. (The Msg)
It’s tough being a kid these days. But it’s going to be even harder to be an adult. I hope this attempt at character allowance can at least keep them mindful of the behaviors we value in our family (and in their faith).