What’s in it for me?

Fez (video game)

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Lately my son has been in full-on greed mode. It seems like every time I talk to him he asks me to give him something buy him something, do something.

“Dad, can you buy me a Yu-Gi-Oh card?”

“Dad, can you buy me a videogame?”

“Dad, can I get this?”

“Dad, can I get that?”

That is really kind of obnoxious. My response has turned into “What’s in it for me?”

Really, he’s constantly asking for stuff and he’s trying to provide no value back.  What kind of lesson would I be teaching him by handing him everything he’s asking for?  So, I’ve decided to make him come up with a value proposition: “What’s in it for me?”

Now, when he asks me to buy him a video game, I ask what’s in it for me.

Sometimes, he comes back with “Well nothing, you just love me.” That is garbage.  I’m not going to buy him stuff just as because I love him and teach them that you can buy someone’s affection or that you should be paying for someone’s affection.

Other times he comes back with “If you buy me video game, I will clean all of the poop out of the backyard.” (We have a dog.  I’m not messy.) That seems like a much better deal.

Other times, he reminds me that I owe him back-allowance.  That one’s a given.  If I owe him more than whatever he is asking for, he’s going to get it.

Sometimes, he’ll say that he willing to do a bunch of extra chores or something, but he is learning that he needs to trade value for value instead of assuming that every whim he’s got is going to be indulged by me just because I’m his parent and I’ve been generous in the past.

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    1. LOL! I don’t know if you meant this to be funny, but it is! My kid is too young now, but I can see how it is going to turn out! 🙂

      If he asks me about Duke Nukem Forever (hoping it’ll be released by the time he grows up!), I get to play first!

    2. You could have him pay for his wants from his allowance! If he does not have enough, let him save up. These are all good lessons. Important lesson for you, don’t be delinquent about paying him. That is a lesson too.

      • It’s not really delinquency. We pay him for doing some chores around the house, and only pay when he does a set number of chores. We also let him keep track of how many chores he needs to do to get paid. I really don’t know when he’s owed allowance until he tells me.

    3. This made me laugh! I don’t know how old your son is, but my son is almost 7, and he begs incessantly. It drives me crazy! Sunday at the grocery store he begged for boxed pasta. I mean, seriously, if you are going to annoy me with your begging, at least beg for something good!

      I like your approach. I will have to try it. (I do make my son pay for most of his “treats” out of his allowance; that kid blows through money like you wouldn’t believe!)

    4. Great subject. I put up a post a few weeks ago about teaching kids about money the right way. One thing that we did with our boys was to disconnect their allowance from chores. We told them that they do chores because they are part of the family. It seemed to work.


      • He’s got some chores that he just has to do as part of the family and some he does to earn his allowance. I don’t want to make his allowance “free money”, but I don’t want to pay him for everything he does, either.

    5. This is a good topic, timely for me based on my experience last week. I was asked at least 10 times by my 7 year old daughter to buy her some little girl perfume of some kind. I don’t recall the name of the product.

      Anyway, I do have a weakness for getting her things on occasion, as it’s tough for me to say no. But I do it anyway, and am stepping it up now so that I can get past these types of situations. Ultimately, I never bought it. Sometimes it just takes strength on our parts as parents.

    6. Why not a chart that shows necessary chores that if not done base allowance is withheld for that week – these chores need to be done because you give him food and shelter lol

      Then there are those extra chores to get extra bucks?

      This was a pure guess considering my son is 4 months old lol


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