Docking Kids Allowance as a Strategy for Behavior Management

by Kathryn Hatter

If you decide to give your children an allowance, you’ll have several decisions to make as you implement this child-rearing practice. One issue is whether you will tie the allowance to your child’s behavior. When parents make this connection, they might dock an allowance in an attempt to manage the child’s behavior.

Benefits of Allowance

Giving your child a regular allowance has benefits that can teach important life skills. Children learn basic skills about how to handle money. At the most basic level, children learn how to count coins and bills and receive change from a purchase. Children can also learn how to budget money, save money, give money as charitable contributions and invest money, advises David McCurrach, author and chief executive officer of An allowance can also teach valuable consumer skills such as comparison shopping and watching for sales and discounts. The process of paying a regular allowance to a child can also open up a dialogue between parents and children whereby kids can ask questions about money management and parents can share their knowledge.

Appropriate Consequences

When children misbehave or act disobediently, discipline and correction will teach the child which behaviors are unacceptable and which behaviors you desire or expect. Misbehavior should have natural consequences that occur due to the actions. For example, not putting toys away might result in the child losing the toys for a certain length of time. A child not completing a school assignment might miss out spending time with friends because he must work to finish his work. Docking an allowance is often not a natural consequence of misbehavior, so it does not teach an effective cause-and-effect lesson for the misbehavior.

Wrong Incentive

By tying money to good behavior, you might make a wrong connection for your child that could follow him through life. By using money as an incentive for your child to behave properly, you might teach him that money is the only reason to behave and make the right choices, according to the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Instead, help instill an internal conscience in a child that leads the child to make correct behavioral choices according to the morals and values you teach. This internal conscience will stay with the child for a lifetime, guiding behaviors and decisions to keep them in check.

Dock Elsewhere

When a child misbehaves and you wish to dock a privilege, look elsewhere for something more appropriate, recommends the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. You might curtail cellphone use, electronic games or TV time when a child does not conduct herself with acceptable behavior. You could dock minutes from these privileges in the same way you might dock an allowance.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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