The Life Files: pocket-money and the gender divide

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When I was growing up, there was just my sister and I in our home, we had no brother, probably why I have never thought about pocket-money and the gender divide. But it was bought to my attention a week or so ago and article where, according to the Westpac Kids and Money Survey it found that girls on average received less pocket than their male counterparts however, on average worked longer at completing their chores. The main reason seemed to be that as parents, we dished out the chores according to gender, with boys receiving jobs such as washing the car, and mowing the lawn and girls jobs such as doing the dishing, tidying up and folding washing.

I’d never thought about it until now, having Princess and Ragamuffin, but it is time I did. When I was growing up, the chores/jobs were listed and divided into two, my sister did one lot and I did the other, the next week we alternated. We received the same amount of pocket-money if we did our jobs, and if we didn’t, well, the back was closed!

Initially I find the idea of giving my children different amounts of pocket-money somewhat unfair. But then when I thought about some of the jobs I used to do as a child individually, I’m not so sure? My thinking at the moment is, that when my children are in fact old enough to receive pocket-money, we list the jobs and as a family discuss the time involved in completing it, its level of difficulty and the impact it would have on the family if it wasn’t done and then put a price on each. From their, fortnightly, the children can opt for which chores they would like to do. If they want an easy week due to other commitments, they can choose that but in doing so may possibly not earn as much. Or, if they had something they were saving for, they may opt the other way. Negotiations would have to take place between them and us, generating good communication skills (hopefully!).

So what do you think? How would you divide the jobs up between your children and what price would you put on them? I’d really love to hear your take on this!

Bel x

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11 thoughts on “The Life Files: pocket-money and the gender divide

  1. linbritt says:

    I’ve thought the ame and found some great ideas on Pinterest (couldn’t magnate to attach a link). Jobs are labelled with a value and kids choose (or are possibly given) a range of chores. These go onto their “doing” list and once completed are moved to the “done” list. Can see what they’ve tackled and add it all up!

  2. thebusymumma@ thebusymumma says:

    I haven’t really thought of it but I am now that you have mentioned it. How disgusting that as parents sexism is being reinforced, without parents realising it and with all the best intentions. I like the idea of discussing as a family the jobs, how much time they take and their worth, etc. However, I can see huge problems that could occur if two children (or more in my case) want the same jobs because they are worth the most and so fight. Or are not extrinsically motivated and so don’t even want the money in the first place or are happy to do the least amount of work to get the least amount of money.

    I think the way I will go is have a discussion about the jobs and allocate worth depending on time and effort needed to complete the job. Then I will place the jobs into three groups that are fairly distributed to have approximately the same amount of effort and time required for the week. The jobs then get rotated on a 3-weekly basis.

    Let’s face it, as an adult there are plenty of things I would rather not do but I don’t get the choice. I think as a responsible parent I need to teach my children that sometimes we have to do things we don’t like. They won’t be able to pick and choose in the real world, or sadly they will learn they can choose to do the least possible and not put effort in when things are hard. I don’t want my children thinking they can opt for less effort as this could affect schooling and their future prospects, whatever they choose to do.

    Then there are the jobs that I think the children should be responsible for because it IS their responsibility. As they get older this could include keeping rooms clean, their washing, etc. My parents didn’t teach me this, didn’t ask this of me, and I really wish they had. It is so much harder becoming a self-sufficient “adult” when these things were not habits formed when younger.

    As for not doing chores and jobs no punishment required. Don’t do the jobs you don’t get money. The first time they want something and can’t afford it they’ll learn (as long as there’s not a soft parent who gives in lol). No clean clothes to wear out, well whose fault is that? A dirty room and a new boyfriend / girlfriend / friend coming to visit, guess they’ll form an opinion of you based on that.

    Don’t get me wrong I want to help and support my kids as much as possible, but I have seen the effects of parents doing everything for their children, or enabling their laziness and lack of motivation to do anything for themselves. I think the best way I can help and support them is to encourage growing degrees of self-sufficiency so when they do one day fly the nest (hopefully well into their 20’s minimum) they will be able to cope with being an independent adult.

    I don’t think anyone else’s way is wrong its just what I believe will be for the best.

    • amumsreality says:

      Thanks for your well thought out comments and the time tou took to write them! Some great points there Bec and funny you mention that there are some things we just ‘have to do’ as that is the discussion I have pencilled in next is in fact chores and family responsibility, and what the difference is. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on that!

  3. Caz (The Truth About Mummy) says:

    I heard about that too – but to be honest I’ve never been aware of it. We didn’t get much pocket money as kids. Know I have 3 girls myself – so no gender divide. And if I had boys I assure you there would still be no gender divide. Boy or girl if you do the same job you get the same pay in my books 🙂

    • amumsreality says:

      Totally agree! If there is going to be a pocket money difference in my house it will be because of the jobs you choose, and I will be making sure they are changed up so that both my daughter and son have a go at everything. They’ll be no stereotyping going on in my home!

  4. Bec | Mumma Tells says:

    Such an interesting post, Bel. I’ve not given pocket money a great deal of thought before, probably because as a child, I did not receive any. I do love your idea of giving value to each chore individually though. That’s a winner in my book! I’m taking mental note too. X

    • amumsreality says:

      A lot to think about isn’t there? I think we got $5 a week when we were older, at the same time though we were taught to save part of it for rainy days and things we had our heart set on. I think pocket money can teach great life lessons if done correctly. Thanks for popping by and sharing your thoughts x

  5. Sarahdipity says:

    I’d honestly never thought about the idea of gender being a factor in pocket money! Definitely think the ideas you and others above have come up with are much fairer

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