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Thread: 14 yo SS and pocket money

  1. #1

    Default 14 yo SS and pocket money

    HI there

    Not sure where to post this sorry....

    My 14 yo step son has been living with us for 9 or so months now and we are really struggling to get him to pull his weight around the house. He was never required to do any jobs when he lived with his mother. (not even going to school, making his bed, picking his towel up, putting dishes in the sink, doing the dishes etc) And she would just give out money randomly when she had it, it wasn't used as a behavioural reward.

    We have sorted out school, he now goes every day but we are struggling to get him to do his jobs to earn pocket money. We set up a schedule of things he had to do to earn money. ie. make his bed & pick up all clothes & pick up bathmat $4 per day. Doing dishes 4 x a week @ $4 per day etc etc. He had a list of things that he could tick off each day and by the end of the week if he had done all his jobs he had the potential to earn $60 per week (which I think is a shed load for a 13/14 year old.) He barely ever earnt the money and it was a constant battle to get him to do his jobs, in particular the dishes. He would continually argue about it- why should he have to do it, he is the kid etc. I am at my wits end and my husband works away Monday to Friday so its just the two of us with one on the way. I was wanting some ideas of how you dish out pocket money to your teenagers, how they earn it and how much etc.



    I was considering cutting him off completely now, no jobs, no potential to earn money, no use of the laptop. which means no bought lunches on fridays for having done 75% of his jobs, no lifts to the skate park etc. And then just waiting until he realises that he needs to do some jobs and start earning some money to be able to do things he wants to. Do you think that would eventuate? Could it work?

  2. #2

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    I would be cutting way back on the $ he gets for each job. As I understand it, he could avoid 75% of his chores and still get cash every week. Perhaps if the money was drastically cut to perhaps $1 per job, with no $ for making his bed but no $ at all if he doesn't make his bed (because to me making a bed isn't a chore, it's an every day habit that I even expect my 5 year olds to do for no reward) then he'll be more inclined to do more because by being lazy he will get next to no money at all.

    However I am known for being quite harsh and currently pay my 8 year old $1 a day for keeping the kids toilet clean (and it's not a fun job) and I pay my 7 year old the same for keeping the dining area clean and tidy which is a never ending job. I also don't have teenagers yet so feel free to ignore me completely, just my 2c

  3. #3

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    I wouldn't be paying him to do everyday things he should be doing regardless of where he lived.

    If his bed isn't made, clothes not in the washing basket, towels not hung up, then he doesn't leave the house until they are. No money involved, simply being a part of a household. No lifts anywhere, because he isn't going until his things are tidy and his chores done.

    Pocket money in my home was a privilege, not a right, and not payment for participating in my own life - ie making my bed.

    If it were me, it would be a sit down serious discussion about expectations and being old enough to do chores, exactly what he is expected to do without prompting, and being a part of a family/household. Until he can manage that, then how do you trust him to carry himself in a decent manner when out of your supervision? If that requires your DH standing there when he gets out of the shower and telling him to hang up the bathmat for a week so he gets the picture, then that is what it takes.
    My 5 year old makes her own bed, puts her own clothes in the washing basket, puts them away when they are clean and gets herself dressed everyday, it is part of living her life and it is what is expected of her, I don't pay her to do it. I think that sends the wrong message. That one only need do these things if there is an immediate and physical reward for doing them and that is just not the case in my house. FWIW, I know she is not a teen, but she does get pocket money and she does do her chores, and neither is dependent on the other, and they are never used to encourage or prompt for the other, itms.

    Anwyay, good luck, I hope you can work something out before bub comes!

  4. #4

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    Wow, $60 a week my son would love you lol. My DS14 gets $10wk pocket money, if chores are not done he simply doesn't receive his pocket money.

    Regards
    Dianne

  5. #5

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    $60 per week?! That seems an awful lot. What does he have to buy with this money? Does he buy his own clothes, pay his entertainment and canteen lunches etc? My niece is 14, she gets $12.50 per week!

  6. #6

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    My 12 year old gas the capacity to earn $40 a fortnight, for 6 hours work a fortnight. This is above normal part of house hold, her room being clean, bed made and towell hung up is normal house hold stuff.

    To earn her money she has to do an hour on monday and Tuesday and 2 on the Saturday she is at home with us. In that time she is responsible for washing her and her siblings clothes, including hanging out, folding and putting away. Main bathroom and toilet cleaning, washing the towels from main bathroom and changing bedding ones a month, I do the other bed changes during the month.

    She loses money from what she earns for leaving wet towels in her room. So if she does everything and also leaves towels in her room she won't get the full amount.

    In terms of behaviour if she mucho up she loses privileges eg, iPod, tv watching, electronics etc.

    Hope this helps.

    Teenagers are hard work.

  7. #7

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    What LS said. He's part of the household, he pulls his weight or he can live elsewhere. Why should he? Because it's part of being a civilised human being. It's not fair? BS. It's totally fair. It's not fair that people should run around after him when he's perfectly able to use his hands, feet, head. He's 14. In many communities, he'd be out earning a living by now.

    tell him to stop being a bloody princess and act his age.

  8. #8

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    Thanks everyone, ths is exactly what I was thinking. I'm going to show it to DH and tell him we are sending the wrong message. Paying him for stuff that is part of living in a household is not on.

    We are going to have to sit down & rethink everything. Thank you so much for your input

  9. #9

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    We tried a similar system with our DD (although lesser amounts) around a similar age. The problem was, the reward/consequence was too abstract. The money is completely imaginary until they get it, and the time between when they leave the towel on the floor and feel the sting of the missing $$ is too long to really make the connection. We found that even when she got not pocket money at all, it didn't really make any change.

    So we've separated chores and pocket money. She gets pocket money now but it is not tied to doing chores, and she's expected to supply her own toiletries etc, as well as funding her own (limited) social life. So she's learning about how to make her money last for what she needs. Re the chores, we thought up some more immediate consequences. Removal of devices is one that works very well here. They can be confiscated at short notice, and if the behaviour does not improve, further devices are removed. She's got down to none and having to do her homework in the library at lunchtime (without her laptop) and I can tell you there was a very sudden and steep improvement in her chore-doing around that time!!

    Another thing that works (and I have done this) is to make them "practice" the chore (like, on a Saturday morning). For example, you could send him into the bathroom to practice hanging up the towels for 5 minutes. As if they clearly have some difficulty with it so they need to practice in their spare time until it gets easier . Ok so I wouldn't overuse this one but it does make a point. Alternatively, you could have him write down a list of all the chores you do in a day on one side of a piece of paper, to compare with his own (very short) list.

    FWIW I think $60 is far too much pocket money for someone who already has an over-inflated sense of entitlement. Pocket money is something you get when you demonstrate that you are a responsible person IMO, it's not an automatic right. I would be cutting that right back (bearing in mind what his actual need-based expenses are), with a view to reviewing amounts when the general level of helpfulness/responsibility improves.

  10. #10

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    Thanks Marydean, when you confiscate phone, laptop etc when do you return them or how often do you keep the, confiscated for?

    I really appreciate all your assistance on this- its very hard to be an instant mother. The tips you have given me have given me great points to bring up in terms of house rules, respect and responsibility

  11. #11

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    Depends on the scale of the infraction. Usually, if she's getting a bit slack and not getting the jobs done daily, I confiscate her ipod (that hurts the most) and provided she starts doing the job, she'll get it back in a day or two. If she doesn't apply herself, the time lengthens. We also use this when she doesn't meet other expectations, eg we come down hard on her if she doesn't get homework finished. With her it's not usually willful disobedience, rather distraction and failure to organise herself. I'm hard on her with these things because she's so scatty and I figure I've only got a couple more years to get her into good habits, or she's not going to cope with the "real world". I also talk a lot about our expectations and how that relates to what real life requires. What we expect is often the same sorts of things that employers expect, kwim?

  12. #12

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    We have a system suggested by DS psychologist, that I also saw on 1-2-3 Magic.

    Basically they get 20c per year of age (this amount can change, mine are little so $1 seems a lot to them ), regardless of what they do. We have certain expectations taht they are part of this house, so should help out, so they are expected to take their plates from the table to the dishwasher, DS to empty dishwashers, DD to set the table at night, and for them both to take their bags in from the car. If they don't do these things, that is fine, I will, but I charge for my time, because my time is valuable too. I charge between 5 - 10 cents to do 1 of their jobs. I have only had to charge each of them once and they never did it again (although sometimes I do things like take their brekky stuff over once they have left for school if I didn't notice it before they leave, but thats 'cos I don't want it sitting there all day, and they are only little). The thought of having to part with their money kills them, so it gets them back to do their job (they normally get 1 warning before I do it).

    I agree $60 is way too much, and I think it lowers their sense of self-purpose to be paid for such menial jobs. They need to learn that they have to contribute for the very fact they are part of a family.

  13. #13

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    Oh I like the idea of charging him for doing his jobs!!


    I have done up a bit of a list of house rules and required tasks and potential pocket money.. what do you think? Am I asking too much? Am I being too harsh?

    -I have something in there about homework as well because he has a history of being very disruptive in school when he doesn't understand something, most likely because he spent the majority of upper primary school suspended or simply absent and doesn't have a good grasp on a lot of background knowledge. I am trying to instill some discipline and a bit of knowledge, he has a maths tutor and we will be getting her to also tutor him in science this year as he got a D last year. He did get a B in social sciences which was great because first term last year he received all Fs or whatever they call them now.

    Anyway, I'd love your feedback:

    House Rules that everyone must follow, and if not followed, there will be consequences
    - Make your own breakfast and lunch daily
    - Make your bed every day
    - No clothes to be left lying on floor
    - Put things back where you found them, including scissors, tools, things from pantry
    - Put dirty dishes in sink/ put in dishwasher
    - Pick up bathmat after each shower
    - Towels are hung up, not left on the floor or bed
    - No name calling or disrespectful behaviour
    - No verbal abuse, whining or whingeing
    - If you break or damage something, you are responsible to pay for the repairs
    - Rinse and put own dishes into dishwasher after snacks/ drinks
    - Laptop is to be returned to the office each night
    - Dirty dishes are not to be left in bedroom
    - TV/ Laptop/ Ipod/ Ipad/ Phone is a luxury and allowed to be used only after finishing homework (whether from school/ Michelle/ Dad/ tutor)

    Potential to earn $30 per week if you do the following:
    - Do own washing, hang out, fold and put away
    - Each week do a thorough clean of bathroom and bedroom
    o Change sheets each week
    o Change towel at least once a week
    - Each week do a thorough clean of backyard (this section is really just a courtyard- 4 m2 at most)
    o Sweep up
    o Pick up dog poo
    - Dishes on a Sunday night- wash, dry and put away
    - You are earning enough to buy your own canteen lunches, deodorant, clothes, school socials/ dances and any socialising you want to do.
    - All jobs must be completed and approved or no money is earnt
    - There will be no advances on pocket money

  14. #14

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    I don't want to sound rude, or daft here, but he is 14, yes? And he is your son.
    Why would you make him buy his own deoderant and clothes? Surely that is the same as buying the rest of the household toiletries and such.
    I am concerned that while there is nothing really outrageous on your regular list, being the person solely responsible for the yard etc is taking things a bit far. This is his home, not a workcamp, and I worry that you are overthinking this and turning what should be about family/community/belonging/contributing into work, iyswim.

  15. #15

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    Default 14 yo SS and pocket money

    I've got 2 teenagers (and one 12yr old) and I've just read them your suggested list and they were horrified. They (and I) think its really harsh and they didn't think your house sounds like much fun to live in.

    I agree that children need to participate in household chores - after all they live in the house too but at this age I'd much rather they concentrated on studying than housework.

    We have a weekly roster drawn up that includes all of us (2 adults, 3 children) and everyone has a job to do each day. They had a say in choosing which job they wanted per day and no-one has sole responsibility for a job (we all have to pick up the dog poo over the week!!)

    I don't pay them for helping round the house but I do pay for everything they need. If they want something we negotiate (usually involves them helping cook dinner during the week before or hosing off the gutters).

  16. #16

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    Our children use their pocket money how they wish (within reason off course), it gives them a sense of worth. I buy their clothing and toiletries, those sort of things aren't really special to the kids, in the past they have saved for things and feel a sense of accomplishement once they buy themselves something.

    Regards,
    Dianne

  17. #17

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    Argh, one extreme to the other, first I was asking too little and now too much!

    I appreciate your honest feedback and god I would never make the kid collect all the dog poo!! I collect it every weekday morning, just not on Saturdays or Sundays!

    They are all fair points, I guess my aim is to try and take away from his sense of entitlement, give him some responsibility and the desire to earn the money. I was using some of the ideas others had suggested above (deoderant and clothes) ie. paying him for work done, rather than just participating in the household but I do take your point and think that maybe the roster is a good idea and will show him that everyone has to pull their weight to some extent.

    He has his own bathroom & toilet so perhaps he should only clean it once a fortnight and I can do the rest, is doing his own washing too much? Removing the comments re buying his own things- is the list of jobs excessive? Maybe we can sit down and negotiate the jobs he wants to do/ can do from a list of jobs and that way he has input?

    Also Ms_fi, how would you recommend helping him to concentrate on studying? He has a tutor and I used to spend time with him each Sunday doing half an hour of maths as well. I think he needs more though- he spends the first 20 minutes whingeing that he doesn't need to do the extra work. I tried to help him study for his science test and we were doing revision for a couple of nights but I found out later that he had already done the test the week before and he hadn't told me. He ended up failing that test. Should I go through with him each night what he has learnt that day and just do some revision with him? Should I do it weekly? Or should I find resources on the internet/ books etc and make up my own little tutoring sessions?

    Thanks everyone, such a steep learning curve and its so overwhelming! I am off to see a counsellor tomorrow to help me deal with a teenage step son and absent father so he might give me some more tips.
    Last edited by shells79; January 31st, 2013 at 07:17 PM. Reason: bits about homework

  18. #18

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    When I was growing up it was always us kids' responsibility to do the night time dishes. We also each had a weekly household job to do on the weekend. Mine was the bathroom, my brother vacuuming and my little sister dusting (she was less than 10 at the time and determined to do something too). We were all responsible for keeping our rooms tidy, hanging up towels etc - it wasn't a 'job' just an expectation. I feel this was plenty - we also had homework and after school sports too. We would occasionally do other things (like cook dinner or ironing), but we generally volunteered as it was all about working together.

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