Do We Need To Say No To Our Children More & Our Pocket Money Decision

piggy bank

Do We Need To Say No To Our Children More?

At the weekend I read a very interesting article on a Australian news site – The Sydney Morning Herald – ‘She terrorises us’: How parents are under siege from their entitled children. It is an interesting article on modern day parenting and it took me a while to process it, because I didn’t know how I felt about it at first.

The basis of the article is that there is a generation of children growing up where their parents have rarely told them no. This can be around the way they behave or when it comes to buying the newest toys or gadgets. The reasons for this type of parenting is numerous, but the article seems to hint at modern fast paced life. Where it is easier to say yes and do things for your child when time is limited. Or to want buy them new things in a more affluent dual income household, or because parents simply want their children to just be happy. But because of this parenting style the children have developed into violent teenagers hitting or acting out if they don’t get the items they need in their lives right now. This is then leading to larger scale problems in adulthood to depression and mental health issues.

This is really interesting and in some ways I can say my husband and I are raising our children differently from the way our parents raised us, and in other ways not so much. The word no is a tough one to introduce, one I found easier for my son than for my rather outspoken toddler daughter. But a lesson that needed to be learnt never the less.

It is actually something we have recently discussed in our house. The fact that we don’t want our children to grow up – in want of a better word – spoiled. It started after Christmas. My son got a lovely scooter from Father Christmas, with super dinosaur accessories including a dinosaur head on the handle bars and dinosaur wheel trims. A present he was thrilled with. After Christmas he (politely) asked if he could have the matching bell to go with it. On the surface of things the bell is a mere £6 and if I had thought about it something I would have purchased at the same time as buying the scooter. But the question made me pause. My son had just received lots of lovely presents for Christmas, it didn’t sit comfortably with me to just buy him another item – even if it was just £6.

I also have to confess to a love of making my children happy. Who doesn’t I guess. There have been times when my husband and I have seen something – usually in the supermarket – we know our children would love and buying it for no particular reason than just because. Recently, as my son has got older we have tried to put a stop to this as we’re not sure it’s a healthy habit to get into. Ok, we may get the occasional treat, but I do not want my son to grow up believing if he wants something he just has to ask and he gets it, as that’s after all not how the world works. I have to hold my hands up and say I’m not so good at this when it comes to children’s clothes! I’m working on it…!

The Pocket Money Decision

After the bell question, we decided that now (my son is 4) might be the time to introduce pocket money. We both wanted to teach my son the value of money and to understand the process of saving up for something you want, rather than instant gratification.

The first decision we had to make was this money to be chore related or not. Should we introduce a set of chores my son should do every week in order to receive his money? After some deliberation we decided not and here is the reason why. My son already has a set of chores that we expect him to do around the house. They are age appropriate and simple at the moment – putting his clothes in the washing basket, his pjs under his pillow and pull-up in the bin in the morning, tidying up his toys each day, putting the cat’s bowl in the dishwasher in the morning – but they will grow as he does. We didn’t want him to expect payment for doing chores that he should just do in order to be part of the family and our home. He should just do them.

However, chores above and beyond he could earn extra money for. He is too young at the moment, but I remember as a child earning extra pocket money for washing the car and helping with the cleaning. I would be happy to do this with my children too. I think it is a valuable lesson to learn.

With that decision made we have decided on a £1 per week which is going into his money box. With the option to earn more with extra chores when he is older. At present he is saving up for his £6 bell. Each week we are putting the money into his money box, counting how much is in there and how much more he needs to save up to buy the bell. I am really pleased with this decision and can see my son learning about both maths and saving up at the same time. I hope he will feel a sense of achievement when he finally gets there and saves for his scooter bell.

Saying No

I truly get the huge desire to make your children happy. The love you feel for them is all encompassing. Christmas alone taught me how much I love seeing their eyes light up when they receive a present they really wanted. But in the real world, sadly life is not like this. When they move out of home and get a job they will have to work and save to get what they want or else get into terrible debt which I would hate for them. In the work place they will be expected to deliver in order to receive their salary. Our role is parents is to slowly, and ok at this age gently, prepare them for this. To raise them to be happy and healthy adults and to flourish in the world that they live in. In order to do this we have to say no. No isn’t a bad word, sometimes it’s a kind word.

A Cornish Mum

34 thoughts on “Do We Need To Say No To Our Children More & Our Pocket Money Decision”

  1. I never got pocket money as a child so I’m not sure what we will do with Mini M. I want him to understand the value of money and that he can’t just have what he wants all the time. I’m the “no” parent whereas Mr M finds no hard to say xx

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    • Oh wow, no pocket money? It’s really interesting how different families do things. Saying no is hard some times, especially if your partner doesn’t always agree.

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  2. Totally agree!! I am a believer in no means no and my children do not get everything they ask for! Sometimes if they see a book or something in the shop, I may buy it or if they have been pains in the bum, I tell them they can have it when they are good. It is so important for children to learn the value of money. However, I have never given my children pocket money. Like I mentioned, if they see anything in the shops they like the look of (depending on price!) I will buy it for them (or at a later date) but it is dependent on behaviour!

    Gemma xxx

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  3. I couldn’t agree more. We had this dilemma a year or two ago, and we opted for the same strategy! Eldest is generally very good now (7) though he still has spates of “that’s not fair!” (child at school) “..has one his parents got it last week as he asked” I think pocket money and saving their own money is a vital life skill. Even if you feel mean, you’re not! X

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    • Thanks Vita, it’s good to know it’s working well for you. Sometimes this parenting thing is trial and error as we try and work out what the right thing to do is.

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  4. We have been debating this for a while now. I said I was going to do pocket money and made a plan and everything, but then somehow we didn’t. Then since Christmas we have found our eldest asking for games ALL the time it seems like, and there are still (expensive I might add!) presents from Christmas he hasn’t played yet. I think we do need to start the pocket money thing ASAP! xx

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  5. Excellent post and very interesting article! Similar to you, I can see differences in the way I’m raising my children in comparison to how I was raised, but then again there are definitely several similarities. I don’t want my children to be spoiled and ever think that they are entitled to everything, as the real world is not that way. I agree that making your kids happy is very important but they can be just as happy in understanding the value of things and learning to appreciate things more. Thanks for sharing!

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    • Thanks Cara, I think inevitably we all take parts of how our parents raise us and then add on our own thoughts and learnings. And you’re definitely right saying no does not have to make a child unhappy.

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  6. LP and Little Man don’t get pocket money at the moment BUT they do little things around the house – washing in the washing basket, nappy in the bin, taking plates and cups out etc. When we introduce pocket money I think it will be in lieu of us buying things so at the moment they’ll get a treat on a day out or something when they’ve been extra specially good. Those things they’ll end up buying themselves from pocket money.
    On the no front, it’s incredibly hard to teach it when children are older and I really think that’s where many parents go wrong. they have to hear it from a young age and regularly. LP and Little Man definitely know what no means 🙂 x

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    • Yes I agree it is much harder to introduce no when your children are older. Ours do little things around the house too – well not Aria yet, she is a little young – but Logan definitely has to be small things everyday.

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  7. I love this post Laura! I am in the middle of writing a post about whether my parenting needs some work because I am way too soft. Anything for an easy life here, but I have crazy, resistant children because of it. Something that definitely needs some work. With regards to pocket money, it would go over Hayden’s head but Ellis is starting to learn a bit more about money at the moment, so I am hoping introducing some kind of system to earn money over the next year will help get Ellis understand more about earning money rather than just receiving new things all the time. xx

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  8. This is really interesting. My daughter is quite used to being told no mainly because our finances are really tight! I like to think it makes her appreciate the things that she does get more than if she had lots and lots of toys. We don’t do pocket money yet but she does like to save up and count up the money in her money box (from the tooth fairy or little bits of money she is given) and will very carefully try and find something to buy that is within her budget which I feel quite pleased with. I think it is good for kids to learn these life lessons from us in the loving home rather than have the world teach them later on.

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  9. This is a good post. We try not to give our daughter things fro nothing and allow her to earn the things she wants. We really need to sort out a money box too. At the minute Sylvia has been doing little photo shoots and chores for shopkins but now she has collected plenty, I am thinking of doing the money box thing too. It is healthy for our kids to learn they cant have what they want when they want. Otherwise they will grow up spoilt and struggle as adults.

    Angela from Daysinbed

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    • Yes that is what I think Angela, I don’t want my children to grow up spoilt I want them to understand they are fortunate and be grateful for what they have.

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  10. This is a great post, Laura. I think that by saying no to buying things we are helping our children. Initially they are disappointed but in the long run they have learned a lesson about money & saving. Great idea to give your kids a little bit of money each week so they can learn about saving. It is so hard to say no, I agree with you there but it’s definitely for the best. x

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  11. This is an interesting post. We haven’t introduced pocket money to Bella yet but I think she should be ready for that as she is starting to understand what money is. When I pick her up from the school she always wants something from the shop that is on the way to the house. Most of the times I say NO and try to explain her that I don’t want to buy snacks because then she won’t eat dinner. It is always a drama so sometimes I just say yes because I want her to stop. I know I’m “guilty” of that!! She is very spoilt and she doesn’t understand the word no sometimes. Having said that, the other day I was talking to her about poor children and that they don’t have food, clothes or where to live and then I showed her photos of poor kids and explained to her that she should be grateful for what she already has. She was really interested about this. So then I thought we should be honest with our children and tell them the things how they are. She behaved better after that. 🙂 xx

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    • I have done this too, sat down with my son and talked to him about children who do not have any toys who are hungry, trying to make him understand that he is lucky.

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  12. Great post. We’ve encouraged the Tubblet to save and she knows she doesn’t get everything she was as we don’t have the money. As she’s older, she does have to do chores to earn pocket money. For her, it works better as when we just gave her money, she didn’t do them. I think you’ve got do whatever works for you and your family. But you do have to learn to say no. Otherwise the real world is going to come as a real shock!

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  13. This is a fab post. I have been thinking about pocket money lately too. We’ve not introduced this idea to E yes (he’s 6 in May) but he does help around the house with setting the table and taking washing out, tidying toys away.

    I think its a good idea to instil the value of money at a young age. My parents never really did this consistently with us!

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  14. Some days all I feel that I say is no. I keep having to say to my 5 year old when Mummy says no it means no no matter how many times and different ways you ask me the same question. He’s usually wanting more food like biscuits. Thanks for linking to #PickNMix

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  15. No can be a hard word to say. Especially to a toddler! The main “No”s my little one has learned to accept are mostly safety related, like touching plug sockets and going downstairs by herself. No to more biscuits is another one. I agree it’s important for kids to get used to being told No sometimes and having to respect that. Unfortunately, now she’s getting pretty good at saying No herself! #KCACOLS

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  16. I know people who just give their children whatever they ask for… one of their children is a complete bratt who appreciates nothing so I do think it is healthy and reasonable to make them aware of the value of money. My boys get points for doing jobs around the house, as how many points they have correlates in to how much pocket money they earn.
    I think of it as preparing them for the future nd I feel that things they have earned mean that much more to them.
    Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix

    Stevie x

    Reply
    • Yes I completely agree I don’t think never saying no to children makes for nice children always, so saying no is actually a kindness. My parents used to do the points thing with us too 🙂

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