Whose Job Is It?


http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/how-the-internet-is-hurting-our-kids/  set me thinking and my response to her would be too long as a comment.

Is the Internet hurting our kids with expectations of instant gratification? Do parents enable irresponsibility in their children?

(Linda inserted a disclaimer, as do I. There probably is no exact right way but there still has to be an attempt at providing one.)


Perhaps there is an element of this but I can only speak from my own experiences with my own children.

They all have had access to the internet since I was able to make it available to them around 15 or so years ago. That was about the time we had our first internet capable computer, modem built in. Prior to that, the hand-me-down computer that we had was used by me and all of them for word processing, spreadsheets for work and some games that were onboard.

It’s difficult to imagine that such a relatively short time has passed and we have come so far in what computers are capable of and the multitude of social networking sites available for use. Not to mention the range of games and the graphics capability.

Each of my seven children, from the eldest at 24 to the youngest at 6, is well-versed in how to use the many programmes available. Most of that is self-taught. They have no fear of challenging capabilities, whereas my initial attempts were fear-filled at what I might erase or damage in my feeble attempts to become comfortable with technology.

They use the computer for school, work and social activities.

But they also read, play guitar, listen to music, watch movies, go outside to play, visit friends, play chess, have friends round, go to the cinema and a host of other activities that are not computer or internet dependent.

As far as depending on parents for financial support this is a matter that I have given a lot of thought to and have implemented various strategies with different degrees of success.

The general rule in our house is that the children are given pocket money up to the age when they can get a part-time/Saturday job. The pocket money has been a fixed amount or a flexible one depending on our circumstances. It is not dependent on doing chores but they are all expected to do some as well as keep their own rooms in order.

As soon as the children are of age to find part-time work (which is not always easily come by) they are then expected to buy their own clothes, provide for their own entertainment and any other extras. We still purchase their school clothes and necessities. They are expected to contribute £10 (15US$ 16C$)  a week from a part-time job to get them used to the idea that contributing to their upkeep is essential.

After they have finished full-time education and gone on to work in full-time employment, they contribute around £200 ( 310 US$ 326C$) per month for their upkeep. This is much less than they would be paying if they were in a flat or managing for themselves.

My eldest got her first part-time job at 16 and worked there until she started university. She then did auxiliary nursing in addition to her studies as a nurse and this helped fund her way through university. She still contributed at home. She is now in a flat with her fiancé and the two of them work and manage their home and know how to finance themselves, pay bills, save for holidays and so on.

My eldest son also had his first part-time job at 16 working for McDonalds. He moved from there to a warehouse job and kept that on while at university. He packed in uni as he hated the course and got a job working in a bank where he has done very well. After two years of working there he has decided to return to college and started just last week. He has kept on the bank work part-time and he still contributes.

My daughter at 20 started working in Cineworld about 3 or 4 years ago, part-time. When she finished school she did not want to go immediately to university so she went full-time for two years at Cineworld. She started the same college as her brother last week. She is in a flat with friends and pays her way there as she did when she was at home.

My 18 year old son has had one part-time job that only lasted a few months. He hated it and gave it up. I was not amused. He did a year’s course at college but now wants to get a job. He has an open evening visit at my other son’s work tonight.

My 15 year old has already asked me to help draft her skills CV in readiness for when she turns 16 to get part-time work while still at school for the next two years.

Until then, she and my younger children will be provided with everything they need. NEED not want. If they want something that I see as a possible nine days wonder or something very expensive then they are told to save up for the cost of half of it. If they manage to do this (from pocket money, birthday money, etc.) then I know they are serious about the desire and I pay for the other half of the item. In this way, over the years, various children have ‘received’ a computer/laptop/playstation/camera etc. It has happened, fairly often, that they stopped saving for the item and said they weren’t bothered any more. So, they don’t get it. If they had really wanted it, they would have saved for it.

With seven children, we simply could not afford to give into every wish and desire. We provide for everything they need but they have been and will continue to be taught to be responsible about all sorts of life lessons in order that they can, one day, join the world of independence with confidence and a sense of responsibility, as well as that all-important work ethic.

A long post, I know. What’s new from me, eh?

But, it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children are ready for the grown-up world. Not the schools’ responsibility. Not ‘society’s’ responsibility. Ours. And, if children are not expected to be responsible they’re not going to be. Would you?

It would be lovely, for a while, to be handed everything on a plate. But, those things that I have achieved greatest satisfaction from are those things I’ve felt I’ve deserved because I’ve worked for them. It is how I was taught. It is how I teach my own.


26 thoughts on “Whose Job Is It?”

  1. Wow, this is awesome!! I am so happy you took the time and trouble to write out such a thoughtful and pragmatic roadmap for motivating kids. My oldest is 11, and I am reading this just in time. I’m already getting the: “Mom, L– asked me when I’m going to get an iphone.” Apparently my son told him 16 (which he made up, since we didn’t discuss it) and then L– told him: “16! I’m getting a car when I’m 16.” Sigh. I’m going to make them save for phones. Can they really raise enough before 16 to pay the monthly fees for a phone? I think no.

    You’re right, though. Gifting them too much now, not only weighs heavily on our resources, but it steals their initiative and saps their motivation. I remember really wanting things, and being willing to put up with a job at McDonald’s to get it. And a job at McDonald’s is enough to convince a person of the virtues of higher education. 😉


    1. I think there comes a time when their wants exceed your ability to supply them without moaning about it. And, they should learn to work for their stuff. I started my first part-time job when I was 13 and I haven’t really stopped working since. I loved the independence it gave me.
      Although, if you want a laugh, I’ll tell you how much I earned. 50 pence an hour. But, as my pocket money had been 50p a week at that time, I essentially increased my disposable income by about 6.
      Most of it went on rubbish right enough, until I learned that spending meant earning and what I wanted to buy had better be worth the work involved to buy it.
      Poor McDonalds! What a rep they have. I don’t even like their food that much! x


      1. Not a fun job to wait on people with attitudes of entitlement and resentment and some of them were downright mean. Nothing against McDonald’s — even if I don’t like the food now either. I wouldn’t have minded cooking, but to put an introvert behind the register is just punishment. Why can’t young girls cook, but they don’t make boys do the service jobs? That kind of sexism was hard to forgive.


      2. Is that what they do? Is that company policy, do you think, or maybe just the one you worked? I know my kids didn’t like working for them or KFC because of some of the jobs they were asked to do. (Going outside to pick up other people’s rubbish, being one of them.) My eldest’s first part-time job was cooking and serving in a supermarket cafe. As she was so good around our own kitchen, she got on like a house on fire. She couldn’t believe that some of her fellow workers didn’t know how to clean a table properly or make a basic breakfast. I’m laughing at the idea of my eldest son being put to work in the back (now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure he was). His talents, at that time, did not extend to being handy around the kitchen. More of a liability. I seem to remember him talking about one of his jobs being to scrape the grease from around the cookers and burners. No wonder he didn’t like it!x


      3. They don’t take personality into account in the jobs. Just what height and sex, it seemed to me. I have no idea if it was company-wide policy, but I have to assume it was since they are trying to create a uniformity from location to location.


    2. I should say that mine all got a mobile phone when they were ready to go to High School. I did it for Christmas just before they started High School in the August. I did make sure there was a ceiling to the usage so that I always knew what the amount would be. (Tesco does a great family deal and tops their limit!) But, once they got their part-time job, that was their responsibility.
      Actually, I still pay for my 20 year old’s phone and have just made a liar of myself! But that was because she couldn’t care less about a phone and I wanted to be able to keep in touch (keep tabs) on her. Must remind her that it’s time she took it over!
      I also provided each of them with a Cineworld pass as the cost of movies was ridiculous. If they went three times in the month the cost of the pass had already paid for itself. As mine are all big movie fans, I figured it was worth it. Some Saturdays, a whole crowd of them go out and spend the day going from movie to movie! x


  2. Great post and some good tips there! My mum always made us pay a notional amount once we started working and I think that was fair enough. I love the paying half idea. Def going to keep that one up my sleeve!!


    1. I didn’t think it up myself. My lovely sister-in-law (hubby’s sis) told me she had done it with her two and I gave it a go. It worked so well I kept it up.x


      1. Btw just reading the comments with Brenda and want to chime in and say I LOVED my job at McDonalds growing up. I did get to cook as well as serve. I think the choice of girls out front and boys out back is more to do with teenager personality. Would you like to be served by a surly 15 year old boy??? Lol


  3. Bravo! I feel the same way. You gotta earn it. And when my son (11) asked if he could have a smart phone, I told him, when you get a smart job. I explained the cost and that it made no sense for him to own such an expensive electronic. He got a regular phone, and frankly never even uses it.

    I have friends who buy all their kids iphones. More power to them, but not in my house.


  4. Great post. I don’t have children, but if I did, I would want to teach them to value achieving the things they desire through their own efforts.


    1. Sell you one. He’s 23, can be a pain in the arse at times but. There is no but. He can be a pain in the arse at times.
      Mmm, better not. You might sue me.
      He’s a good worker. Ooh, I found a but. 🙂 x


  5. Great post! I have no children so I don’t feel qualified enough give you my thoughts. However, I am going to say this… I totally agree with everything you said. 🙂


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