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The Do’s and Don’ts of Punishing Kids with Money

October 28, 2021

When your child or teen hits their sibling, breaks something important, or says something mean, it can be tempting to automatically turn to cutting their allowance to discipline them. The issue with this is that punishing your children with consequences that have little to nothing to do with their behavior won’t do much to help solve the issue.

Research has shown that the most effective form of discipline for teaching your children right and wrong is to dole out related consequences for their actions. For instance, if your child hits their sibling, taking away their allowance will do little more than teach them to avoid getting caught the next time, which can lead to sneaky children. However, doling out a related consequence will teach your child that hitting causes other people to feel unsafe around them, meaning they won’t want to play with them.

Now, let’s say that your child refuses to do their chores. You would assume that the related consequence would be to take away their allowance, right? This could be a great consequence- as long as you have already been clear that your child’s allowance is earned from the help they provide the household. 

In the real world, you don’t get paid if you don’t complete the duties your boss assigns you. Creating a clear plan for your child to earn an allowance will create clear expectations for both you and your child. Why does your child get an allowance? How do they earn it? Will they have to contribute money to the household? 

When you set this plan, you are setting clear boundaries for yourself and your child. With a plan, your child will know that actions like breaking something that isn’t theirs, not doing their chores, or mindlessly spending will create money consequences they would rather avoid. 

It is important to remember that you are one of the biggest influences in your child’s relationship to money. Every decision, instruction, and lesson you provide your child with regarding money will affect them. Because of this, you must be mindful when using money as a consequence for your child’s actions.

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