Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Mother of a Man-Child: Pocket Money – Blackmail works! February 18, 2011

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You would recall a few weeks back we decided to try a new approach to pocket-money with the men-children.  Rather than giving them money automatically each week, we moved to a user pays model, whereby they have to ASK for money for a set event, and in return do set jobs to actually EARN the money.  Well readers I am delighted to tell you it worked!!!!

Both of the men-children wanted money the other weekend, so tasks were set.  Apart from insisting their bedrooms were tidied, and various dirty dishes were collected from numerous points about the house, both were given jobs.  Naturally their individual responses and approaches to the tasks were chalk and cheese, just like them.

Man-Child I was asked to hang out a load of washing after cleaning up his bedroom.  He accepted the request without fuss, completed it promptly, finished his room, got his money and left.  Job done, no fuss.

Man-Child II on the other hand complained from the minute the requests started.  I decided since I had the upper hand in the situation that no stone would be left unturned.  Every inch of his room was finally cleaned, and his doona cover was finally put on his doona after three weeks of pleading.   Every wayward glass and plate finally found it’s way to the dishwasher.  And the newly purchased school shorts were not left on the floor in a crumpled heap but folded and put in the cupboard.  Such was the effort to get him to complete the most basic jobs he avoided any extra tasks – I honestly couldn’t bear it any longer.  But he finally got paid, and I finally got a clean bedroom.

Interestingly Man-Child I later asked exactly what his brother had done to earn his money beyond tidying his room, and I muttered something about quite a lot (it’s all relative isn’t it?).

The point is, when they want/need money to fund their weekend entertainment, you’ve got them right where you want them.  I am looking forward to clean bedrooms and a little extra help around the house in the future.  It’s amazing how nice it is when you don’t have to hang out every load of washing yourself.

I got so excited about their new-found abilities, that we’ve also decided it’s time for the men-children to learn to cook, and to prepare a meal for the family once a week.  Helping them gain a life skill, and helping Mother of a Man-Child and Father of a Man-Child have one less night at the stove after a day in the office.  I’m sure there’ll be plenty of tales about their culinary skills (or lack thereof) to follow!


Mother of a man-child: Pocket Money – it’s never enough is it? June 4, 2010

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The debate about pocket-money has probably raged in households for centuries.  It’s a bit like wages – it seems the more you earn the more you spend, and then the more you need and so the vicious cycle begins, for the balance of our working lives.

In the house of the Man-Child and Teen-Child, pocket-money has been paid for some years now.  We only started paying them pocket-money when they realised what the concept was about, and from an early age encouraged them to spend a little each week and save a little each week, for a rainy day, or for special something.

Based on what our friends pay their kids, we seem to have managed to minimise the pocket-money we pay quite well, always lagging in our generosity (not intentionally I have to say).  Interestingly every time a raise was sought, it was Man-Child who went into negotiation mode, invariably securing himself (and by default) his twin brother a small financial victory and windfall.

Of course when they were little, the point system seemed to work quite well, with scores for chores done, and bonus points/earnings for any extras.  As they got older, and life got busier, their list of chores seems to have diminished (I’m so desperate it’s now enough to make a bed daily and keep a room tidy) but the pressure on the rate of pay remains.

For those who haven’t yet endured the receiving end of a negotiation, here are some key points/techniques that will be used to secure increased parental funding:

  • Peer pressure is often used to good effect, eg. our friends all get WAY more than we do (insert massive number at least double what they “earn”)
  • Friend X just has to ask for money and he always gets some.  One day his Mum drove to school at lunchtime and gave him $50 for tuckshop.  (Note, I find the behaviour of the parent in this case horrifying – what sort of spoilt kids are they bringing up?)
  • We need more money if we have to pay for our mobiles as well (gee, try using the landline and not sending 500 texts a month and the money might last longer)
  • Mum, can I just have $5 for a drink/lunch ‘cos I’m meeting friends.  Response – why don’t you eat/drink for free at home, then meet your friends?  What happened to your pocket-money anyway?
  • Can I have an advance on next weeks pocket-money (hoping next week you’ll forget and pay them again)!
  • And beware the very, very clever ploy of asking ever so sweetly for some money in front of their friends.  I call this being fleeced.  Nothing like public pressure to ensure Mum comes across as the generous, caring type.

My twins are 14 now – at 14 years and 9 months they can get their first legitimate job (Maccas here they come).  In the meantime they rely on the generosity of us, their parents and our irregular need for odd jobs to be done around the house. Which we will happily pay for, when done well of course. 🙂