Chores and Allowances vs. BMXs and iPods

Can $2 equal instant gratification?

Does this comic strip resonate with you? It does with me. One of my favorite sayings is that my money burns a hole in David’s pocket!


David wants a BMX bike that cost $350. What kid wouldn’t, eh? But, really, $350!?! I’m mystified by the seeming lack of obstruction to obtaining the bike raised in David’s mind by the price tag on this bike.


Oh, and he wants an iPod. Me thinks that iPods require a data plan of some sort. I don’t really know because I have a cell phone that is just a cell phone. The contract was paid in full a year ago. We did not upgrade and sign a new contract. Also, I have an Mp3 player that I bought from a company in China. Seriously, the confirmation email from the seller had Chinese characters in the subject line. It’s a little 8G do-da that doesn’t have a screen and doesn’t have a menu and I paid about $40 for it. I don’t know nuttin’ about iPods.


Except, that David wants one. And, a BMX. And, a laptop. I mean, really, I didn’t raise him this way.


I’ve struggled long with the dilemma of allowance, chores and how to put it all together. I’ve thought long and hard about this and here are the choices that I’ve come up with:
  1. Give the kid what he wants, when he wants it. As long as he keeps his grades up and stays out of trouble, he gets what he wants. I can see the merit in this.
  2. Give the kid an allowance because he needs to learn how to manage money and make him do chores because he is a part of the household. One is not tied to the other. I can see the merit in this, as well.
  3. Make the kid earn every penny he gets and spends. More merit.
I have tried 1 and 2. Didn’t work. With number 1, since he’s homeschooled, the requirements are entirely subjective and entirely up to me. Just doesn’t work the same as if he were in school and ends up being one more fight. With number 2, he got the money and didn’t do the work. Yup, another fight. So, we’re going to try number 3. And, here’s how it’s going to work.
  1. He is now responsible for every last thing that he wants, every pack of gum, every quarter for those blasted gumball dispensers that you see at every blasted door of every blasted retail establishment that you ever walk into… (ok, I’m ok…) BMX, iPods, music downloads, you name it. If it’s not necessary for life or his education and he wants it, he buys it.
  2. He will have an opportunity to earn money at home. Each job will have a price that I will pay and he will get paid immediately upon completion of the job. (see dollar bills clipped in a recipe holder – payment for cleaning up the kitchen tonight – clipped in the recipe holder and fluttering before his very eyes…)



    (see? the first $2 towards his BMX. He just needs to do this 175 more times and he might just have that bike. Is-that-unreasonable-I-don’t-think-so!) 
  3. If he chooses not to take any jobs and earn any money, he will forever hold his peace if he wants something and doesn’t have the money to buy it.
  4. If he chooses not to take any jobs and Mom has to do it all, there will be consequences. I’m not sure what they will be but I am absolutely convinced that there is just not enough of me to go around these days and someone besides me just might have to suffer…
  5. There are a few jobs that don’t get paid. Things like picking up after himself, taking care of his clean and dirty clothes and mowing the yard so Dad doesn’t have to do it after working 50 hours last week.
Harsh? Maybe.


Unloving? No.


David needs to learn to work. He needs to control his desire for instant gratification. Don’t we all need to learn these things? The ADD / ADHD person will face even bigger challenges in these areas because of difficulties with impulsivity and self regulation. He can knock his head against these walls within the confines of his family. We love him, we support him and we will not let him down. And, because of that, we will not coddle him anymore.


That’s true love.


That’s better than a BMX.


I’ll keep you posted and let you know if he actually lives through this 🙂


Best regards,





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