Posted by: whimsigal | September 1, 2007

It had to happen part 2

Thank you friends for your input and advice! Last night the boys told me that there were things that I was doing that were making them upset. They were, in this order:

1. Not letting them go onto You Tube
2. Telling Iain “no” when he asks to go to GameStop
3. Not buying them toys.

My parents would have been offended if I’d had the nerve to tell them they made them mad about something like any of those things. Once, as an adult, I defended my mom when I felt my dad was saying things that hurt her feelings and he went off on me about it. “Even the President of the United States can’t tell me how to talk to your mother!” O-kay…So anyway, since the kids were opening up about their feelings minus being hysterical about it, it was time to have a conversation about You Tube. It was really great! We aren’t any closer to a resolution that will work for everyone but the kids finally believe that we aren’t taking it away and they know we want to let them have access to it. Progress! We’re all working together and knowing that means we’re doing all right. They are a part of the process and not mindless kids who have to do something because we say so. I think that’s very important.

Issue number two was telling Iain “no” when he wants to go to GameStop. He would go every day so I HAVE to say no sometimes. But, is HAS been a while since we took him up there so we agreed that today would be a good time to go but Iain must spend his own money. Enter issue number three…not buying them toys.

I explained to Iain that dad and I have not been very smart with our money and part of that has been buying the boys toys anytime they asked. It’s hard to tell them no when they want something. Now though, we really have to watch how we spend our money so in order to help with this, the boys get an allowance. Initially Iain was getting more than Ryan but after discussing it with Sean, we decided they should get the same amount. If we were out somewhere together I would let them spend an equal amount on a toy and it seemed to promote ageism to have the older getting more than the younger. Now they will both get $25 a month. Ryan will be excited because this wasn’t the scenario when he went to bed last night! This is their money to spend however they wish but that is all they get for the whole month. Dad and I cannot buy toys left and right like we used to and this way with an allowance they can get whatever they want when they want. If they want something off the internet I will pay the shipping though. They’ve heard all this before but for some reason it seemed like good news to them last night. By the way they do not have objectives they have to meet to get their allowance. I believe they should have some spending money so they can understand how far (or not) it goes. It is not tied to anything else.

When all was said and done, it really felt like the kids and I had struck an accord and we were a team. That felt really, really good.



  1. Yay!
    I think sometimes those of us that are trying to parent respectfully (live ru) have an automatic reaction of “I can’t say no – it wouldn’t be fair.” It’s not an indulgence thing, but that we don’t feel that our spouse has the right to just arbitrarily say “no” to us, either. It’s a matter of respect.
    In thinking along those lines, we tend to think “Yes, and how can I make it work?”
    But really, for the well being of the family (such as finances) the answer sometimes needs to be “no”.
    The Difference (and it makes all the difference in the world) is that we are not saying no arbitrarily, simply because we want it that way, and we are used to calling the shots.
    It doesn’t feel awful at all when I just say to Trev “We can’t buy that today, Bub, we’re on a budget today, until Daddy gets paid again”, or “we need to save our money for food, or gas, or to go to the museum”, or whatever.
    They just want to understand, not necessarily be told always “yes”. They just want to be an equal part of the family.
    I think mostly they’re perfectly willing to be a helpful part of the family unit.
    They just want to feel as important – and rightly so – as the rest of the family.

  2. That’s great, Evie! I am so glad that you guys talked it over and you all got to voice your ideas.

    I didn’t respond to the last post because I didn’t have any advice. We are not there yet with Ian and so I couldn’t think how I would handle it.

    See you soon!

  3. I love this post because I am dealing with the same things. It is so awesome that your boys are able to talk about the things that upset them calmly with you. We are working on it and doing so much better.

    I also love your reasoning on the allowance as we’re going to start that soon. I just don’t know how to deal with the 2 yr old and an allowance.

  4. Yeah, I think it would be challenging to try and figure out how to approach the allowance with a 2 year old, too. I’ve been pondering it since you posted this comment and I haven’t come up with any ideas yet!

    The calm discussions are works in progress here, too. Sometimes they work sometimes they don’t happen. But at least we’re all trying, right? Many parents don’t give their child a voice and I’m just glad that all of us here (unschoolers, I mean) respect them enough to do that.

  5. Hi, I am a mom of six. Four of my own and two step-sons. I feel that trying to explain to a two year old about allowance would just leave you frustrated and him/her confused. When he/she is old enough to ask about money for themselves, that is the time to work something out. Just my opinion.
    We taught our six year olds to do their own laundry. Every time they did it, they got a dollar. It made them much more willing to help with chores around the house.

  6. Hello there, anonymous! Thank you for your comment. I’m going to respond to your comment but I want you to know that I’m not trying to be offensive or anything, just want to illustrate how we do things around here. As Radical Unschoolers, we do not believe in using things to bribe or manipulate our children into doing things. It seems tricky and dishonest to do so. We live our lives and hope that our children will choose to help on their own and many times they do. My kids help me load the laundry in the machine from time to time, they load or unload the dishwasher on occasion, and when I ask them for help, they have the option of saying no. Since I’m the adult I take on the lion-share of the responsibility for cleaning, etc, and am happy to receive their help when they offer it. We live in a consensual household, where we are all equal and respect each other as whole beings. We try not to treat the boys as though they’re inferior just because they’re kids.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to post a comment here. I enjoy seeing a different point of view, even if I don’t agree with it. 🙂


  7. I have a two year old, also.
    While I alot an allowance to our Son, who is six, the baby doesn’t get one, per se. (My son does not DO anything for this allowance, it’s just his toy allowance, he recieves $10 every two weeks to spend as he sees fit.)
    But she does choose her favored candy in the grocery store (as does our son), and we get her a bouncy ball if she likes ($1) whenever we’re at the neighborhood grocer, as well (not the natural market).
    I think it’s interesting – some days I think it’s mortifying- that folks believe that unschoolers live in a dream world, and real life is not being taught or demonstrated.
    But along these lines, I’d like to say, that my Darling Prince – who is the breadwinner in our house – does not pay me according to chore that I accomplish each day.
    5 points for dishes, one point for a tidy patio, three for tidy children’s rooms, 2 points for a cleaned out refrigerator, etc.
    I do NOT get paid per load of laundry.
    I have needs, and wants, as I am human, I am a part of this family, and I am recognized as such.
    How insulted and terribly, terribly hurt I would be if my husband afforded me no allowances for tears and fears.
    You may say “that’s only for the HomeLife” – but that isn’t so.
    My DH runs (head chef) a very successful restaurant – and has down days, and even down weeks. He does not get paid less for a bad moment – he would no doubt tell em to screw themselves, if he did.
    It’s insulting – we are all human, and have weak moments, and off days, and to hold eachother up to an imagined robot society that performs sans emotion and mistakes is why some of us feel incapable of admitting our weaknesses and mistakes in the first place.
    I am a mother, I am a wife, I have my Personal Quest for Truth, and I pray I am Never subjected to another’s thoughts on what I and my successes and achievements are worth.

  8. I’m thinkin’ it’s $20 every two weeks, not ten, guess I’d better ask Little Son! 🙂

  9. I”m thinking maybe I should apologize for the harsh tone of my comment (so I am doing so)… I just read the comment by anonymous as “They want the dollar (power), so they’ll do whatever I say!, even clean up after themselves!” and proudly and in a manupulative tone.
    It just got my goat.
    We invited our chldren into our lives, and knew very well all the commitments we were making.

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