Skip To Content

    This Mom's Decision To Pay An Allowance For Hobbies Instead Of Chores Is Starting A Massive Debate Online

    "I pay her for things she's passionate about."

    When it comes to parenting, everybody has an opinion — even people without kids — and this certainly rang true when TikToker Destini Davis shared how she approaches giving her children an allowance:

    "Let me know if this is weird," Destini began her viral video, which has been viewed nearly 1 million times across TikTok and Twitter.

    @destini.ann

    Chores and Money! #positivediscipline #positiveparenting #positiveparent #momtips #mominspiration #adviceformoms #peacefulparenting #parenttips

    ♬ Darling - Trees and Lucy

    "I do not pay my daughter for chores," the mother of two shared. "But I do pay her for the things that she is passionate about."

    TikTok: @destini.ann / Via tiktok.com

    Destini used the example of when her daughter asked to learn gymnastics and, when lessons began getting difficult, her daughter wanted to quit. "I said, you know what? Let's make this your job. I'll pay you for that. And my belief behind it is that I want my daughter to know and have a positive association with money ... [and feel that she] can actually get paid to do something that [she] enjoys."

    After hearing her rationalization, some loved the idea of incentivizing interests and believed their younger selves may have been more encouraged to further pursue hobbies if they had been given such a privilege.

    @suxelamai This is actually brilliant. I quit a lot of things growing up because I felt embarrassed because I didnt think I was good enough for any of them. This could alter a growing adolescent’s perception drastically and for the better! That’s a wise and loving mom !

    Twitter: @bambinavendetta / Via Twitter: @bambinavendetta

    Or they believed that self-care tasks like daily chores would have been viewed less begrudgingly without the money.

    @suxelamai That's a beautiful idea. I don't think receiving money for chores made me hate chores less, just resent them more. Switching things up could have made a huge difference. I hope her whole family thrives off her way of thinking 🥰

    Twitter: @HoydenSpark / Via Twitter: @HoydenSpark

    However, as in any debate, others across the internet were completely opposed to the concept.

    @ATwstedFantasy My thing is, her daughter already decided she didn’t like it, so is she not indirectly teaching her to suffer through something she doesn’t enjoy just to get paid?

    Twitter: @Call_Me_Ki_ / Via Twitter: @Call_Me_Ki_

    Good. However in behavioral analysis it’s been shown that if you pay someone for doing something they already loved and did not require payment in the first place, it becomes a job, and eventually they stop doing it on the sir own just because but do it only if they get paid https://t.co/oBhTIun5zv

    TikTok: @destini.ann / Via Twitter: @sheg_tf_o

    Surrounded by thousands of differing opinions, I decided to talk with an expert — licensed marriage and family therapist Jaynay Johnson.

    Jaynay Johnson

    When confronted with the debate between intrinsic versus extrinsic motivations, Johnson clarified: "There is research that suggests positive and negative aspects of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in children," she said. However, "There aren’t many risks [in] providing an allowance for hobbies to children. ... As Destini stated in the video, incentivizing hobbies, passions, and even extra house duties teach children that their time and interests are valuable."

    Jaynay Johnson

    "It also helps children understand concepts such as delayed gratification, and it helps them build trust with adults and so much more," she said.

    According to Johnson, allowances can become harmful to the child when misused by the parent — either inconsistently or as a method of control or punishment. "For example, if you agree to give your child [an] allowance for cleaning their room but decide not to give it to them because they didn’t clean it by a particular time, that can be considered punitive," she said.

    Jaynay Johnson

    "An allowance is positive as it can help children learn about money management, be incentivized for using their skills, and completing tasks," Johnson concluded. "It also teaches them that they should be compensated for their effort and commitment. I encourage people to think about the long-term impact of this. As we all get online today, there are many conversations around worth and overworking without compensation, and I believe we have a tremendous opportunity with our children to close that gap in adulthood by laying foundations early."

    Destini's own reflections on her home's allowance system mirrors Johnson's thoughts on the importance of laying an early foundation. When she was younger, the 28-year-old told BuzzFeed that she was neither given an allowance nor taught how to save. "Money management was a real challenge for me because I never practiced it growing up," Destini said.

    Now, in response to commenters who criticize her allowance payments in return for pursing hobbies, Destini said: "I agree, partially. I think that external motivations can be an issue in the long run if they are the focus, but it’s not the focus in our house. We do so much to build her passion outside of the money. We play, flip, stretch, and watch gymnastics all day long. I set up ample opportunities for her to explore gymnastics with zero external reward."

    "She doesn’t focus on the money, but it’s like a backup incentive when she just 'doesn’t feel like it,'" Destini said. "Similarly to how I love my job, but some days I don’t want to go. Some days, my passion isn’t cutting it. On those days, that added incentive of a paycheck gets me through the door."

    What do you think about the idea of offering children an allowance for pursuing hobbies and passions? Let us know in the comments.

    Meanwhile, if you'd like to keep up with Destini and her girls, you can follow her on TikTok and Instagram. You can also follow Johnson and her career on Instagram.

    Want awesome parenting tips in your inbox twice a week? Sign up for the BuzzFeed Parents newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form