Monthly Article Archives: May 2007

Giving Children an Allowance: Contrasting ViewsRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

Parents often ask me questions that pertain to the topic of giving children allowances. The following are a representative sample: Should you give children an allowance? How frequently should you give an allowance? Should you give an allowance that is large enough to cover the costs of children’s lunches at school or some of their clothing or similar expenses? If you give an allowance, at what age should you start? As a parent, should you have some say in how the allowance is spent (or saved)? Should giving the allowance be based on children fulfilling certain responsibilities in the house? Should an allowance be withheld if our children display negative behavior or do not fulfill a responsibility? At my workshops and in my clinical practice I have offered responses to these questions. In general, my views about allowance are: Children should be given an allowance. The amount given should be reasonable and realistic, based, in part, on the child’s age; in deciding on an amount, the family’s financial situation should be taken into consideration. A small allowance can be given when children are five or six years old. For simplicity and regularity, an allowance given each week works best. An

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