Parenting Blog

My Kids Don’t Get An Allowance, They Get Paid

One of the coolest aspects of growing this here site and expanding the writing opportunities I’ve found outside of OWTK has been my ability to pay my two daughters for their creativity, time and effort.

My girls contributed to most all of my old PBS Parents learning activity posts and they film and edit videos for fun and for OWTK sponsored jobs. In short, they are a fountain of ideation and a reservoir of unshackled imagination. And they are paid accordingly.

At the same time, their tweenage (and now teenage) ‘influencer’ paydays are helping me help them learn how to place a proper value on their creativity, time and effort. Something, cough cough, many of my peers could stand to learn too. Cough cough.

These are important lessons for young people growing up in a modern employment world that is transient, freelance, and increasingly self-directed. I mean, unless you are a young person looking to get into the burgeoning coal industry. Then the focus is less on valuing yourself properly, more on understanding your medical coverage and life insurance plan.

My kids don’t get an allowance, they get paid.

Having been in the freelance world now for over a half decade as a writer and photographer, I have personally encountered countless grown-ups, each with a very marketable talent and skill, who struggle mightily to value themselves properly. These creative people also have difficulty expressing their self-worth to others who wish to employ them for a one-off job or a recurring gig.

For many of us, myself included at times, asking for $x to do work that we enjoy doing, can do quickly, and always do very well is damn near debilitating.

It is not uncommon now for me to say these things to myself quietly and to share these thoughts with my dad blogger peers — a kind of modern day freelance mantra:

  • I am a creative person
  • I have worth
  • I have spent years building up something of value
  • I have skills
  • I have relationship management smarts
  • I am timely, passionate, dedicated
  • and throughout it all I have invested in new technology to help me do work better and faster

My hope is that by having open conversations with my daughters about how much I make for each individual job, what those jobs entail specifically, and how I came to ask for/accept that amount, they will see that there’s an achievable balance between being fair to yourself and being greedy.

*We talked about these exact things in negotiating a contract for them to work with Cricket Magazine for one year, making quarterly videos to share on social as a way of encouraging kids their age to nag ask their parents to subscribe to a Cricket magazine because they themselves have been big fans ever since I bought them annual subscriptions a couple years ago.

I also talk to my kids about how much I think I should make when I turn jobs down that do not make sense from a time/cost standpoint. How much my peers are asking for and getting paid (in so much that that this intel trickles down to me) for similar work is something else I discuss with them because it is important to know where you fit in the marketplace.

Ideally, if I do my job as a self-employed entrepreneurial dad well enough, my daughters will not face the same hurdles or self-doubts as they grow up and go out into the transient, creative, freelance workforce.

As for all the other stuff, the normal stuff, the household chores of changing cat litter, making beds, emptying lunch boxes in the afternoon, putting away the piles of clothes I wash, dry and fold during the day while they are at school: that’s all expected to happen gratis as members of the family, as productive human beings.

My kids don’t get an allowance to be members of this family, but they do get paid to be partners in the family business.

Note: I recently wrote about nurturing entrepreneurship in my kids for WHYY Newsworks because they’ve started an Etsy shop to sell their handmade earrings.

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