Recently a mom from Georgia’s Facebook post went viral. In it, she explains that she gives her five-year-old daughter a $7 allowance, but takes most of it back:
“…I make her give me $5 back. $1 for rent $1 for water $1 for electricity $1 for cable and $1 for food.”
I agree that it’s really important to teach your children about money management and the value of a dollar, I just think a five year old is a little young to be paying rent.
“You had one job.”
The reason I disagree with dystopian, militaristic parenting is that it’s unfair. It requires skills which a child that age does not normally possess. Growing up with unconditional love means growing up with unconditional housing, electricity, etc. By providing for our children we allow them to develop into adults who can deal with their own, inevitable financial challenges. This is our job as parents! Waiting until the age of 10 to teach them about money isn’t going to set them up for failure.
Of course, if the child has reached the age of majority and still drifts from room to room around your house like a money-vampire, I see nothing wrong with charging them rent.
Other Ways of Instilling the Value of a Dollar
- Spending plans: Teach kids about surpluses and deficits; coming in under/over budget for a project.
- Allowance: Set up a small allowance and allow your kid to save up for whatever the hot new toy is every month.
- Cash: Make an effort to pay for some things with cash and introduce the concept of making change.
- Charity: Kids can use the skills they’ve learned to allocate seed money to a selection of charities you’ve vetted for them.
Maybe my biggest problem with that viral post is the use of the word “rent.” I don’t think anyone believes this mom would commence eviction proceedings if her daughter defaulted, but even telling a five year old that she owes rent rubs me the wrong way.