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Topics Homepage> Giving children an allowance does more good than harm

Giving children an allowance does more good than harm

PRO (6 assertions)

Define: Allowance: a commission given to children after successfully completing a chore or duty_ a small reward_ parent’s discretion on what to reward or not_ in it’s perfect sense; we’re debating whether the idea of allowance would work in a perfect world, not whether it would work in today’s ever-changing society

Children:  People aged 4-16

More good than harm: more good than harm to the child


1. Assertion: Allowance teaches children values such as responsibility, generosity, independence, and money management

Reasoning: Allowance gives kids money management skills and responsibility, two key life lessons that take years to acquire. We cannot expect our youth to pick up these skills quickly in adulthood, when they are occupied on many other pressing issues and their personalities and attitudes toward life are already fully molded and unchangeable. If we want our children to succeed in life, then we need to start instilling life values in them when they are young, or never 

Evidence: According to a study conducted by the Associated Press, by the time a child reaches the age of 14-15 their ability to plan for the future and their personalities and values towards life are usually “set in stone”

2. Assertion: Children will develop the confidence to make their own choices

Reasoning: By teaching kids how to handle their own money from an early age, kids will acquire an increasing sense of confidence to make their own choices. They won’t feel they always need to turn to other people to make decisions for them. Because of their exposure to money at an early age, they will have developed good habits and will be better able to handle increased responsibility as they get older. Also, confidence translates to other areas of life: school, athletics, personal.

Evidence: Poll conducted by Gallup-15000 people aged 8-15 were surveyed whether they were confident in their money management skills or not. Of them, 71% of them said that they had confidence in their money management skills. And of this percentage, over 96% of them received an allowance. 96% of the people who were confident in themselves received an allowance! No allowance= no confidence

3. Assertion: It will help to strengthen child-parent bonds

Reasoning: As parents work with their kids on concepts, they will have the opportunity to discuss thousands of topics. That’s because money issues affect virtually every area of our lives. And the parent won’t be seen as a person who only says “Don’t do that” or “No” They will now be seen as generous people, encouraging kids through positive means

Evidence: 150 people who didn’t receive an allowance when they were young and 150 others who did were surveyed by NYTimes. Only 13% of those who didn’t receive an allowance said that they remained in contact with their parents at least once a month. For the 150 that did receive an allowance, though, over 75% of them stated that they regularly contacted their parents and were happy with life.

4. Assertion: Allowance is also a good form of discipline

Reasoning: Allowance is a two-use tool. By giving a child an allowance, you are positively reinforcing good values and behavior. By not giving an allowance because they misbehaved, for instance, you teach the child that what they did was wrong in an indirect yet still meaningful manner that they can accept

Evidence: Elizabeth Swan, a professor of psychology, stated through the NYTimes that “Allowance is a great way of discipline for young children. It is much better than its contemporaries, such as physical or verbal punishment, and in most cases, is easily understood by the child because they realize that an allowance is a privilege in the first place, not a right."

Assertions #5, 6

CON (7 assertions)

No framework

1. Assertion: Kids will not understand how to use the money given to them

Reasoning: In some areas, teens may be introduced to drugs or other things that can harm the child. W/ allowance money, these kids could purchase these harmful items. And to give allowance to children, parents must first trust that they will not fall victim to peer pressure, which many cannot. So overall, allowance does more harm than good

Evidence: 27% of all children in the U.S. live in dangerous and poor areas. The outside influence and peer pressure will force these children who get allowance to use it for bad things.

2. Assertion: Ideal vs. Real scenario

Reasoning: Yes, in a perfect world, allowance would be great. Teaching kids good morals, giving them money to be independent with: that’s all good…but only if the world was perfect. But it’s not. There’s crime, and violence, and drugs, and myriads of other things that can negatively influence children. Yes, ideal if we had allowance. But in this realistic world, allowances just don’t work. Unless the pro can get every single parent in America to agree to constantly monitoring what their child spends their money on, allowance will definitely do more harm than good to our society.  

Evidence: In the cities of today, there are slums. And ghettos. And negative influences on children. But giving children money to spend on these negative influences only makes the situation worse

3. Assertion: Children will take advantage of their parents

Reasoning: Since parents cannot monitor their children every second of the day, children will claim they “earned” something or “did” something when their parent wasn’t looking and lie to get money. This, in effect, SPOILS kids and actually creates bad habits in children. If allowance could be practiced correctly, it may be beneficial, but as we cannot be sure that children are not taking advantage of their parents, allowances are detrimental.

4. Assertion: Allowances will send the wrong messages to kids

Reasoning: Kids will get the sense that everything they do deserves recognition and reward. They will start badgering their parents to pay them for everything, which creates bad manners and habits. This will translate to other parts of life, like school, athletics, and social life. E.g. student asked by teacher to pick up an eraser- student will say “How much money will you give me”

Assertions #5, 6, 7