I've actually been thinking a good deal about the idea of giving my children some sort of an allowance, and I still find myself uncertain as to the wisdom of the practice. But over at The Washington Post, Michelle Singletary has her mind made up.
[W]henever parents ask me whether they should give their child an allowance, my answer is: It is not really necessary. I am not saying it does not help, but the absence of an allowance does not produce spendthrift children, either.
After listing numerous examples of parents who have had success with the allowance, Singletary makes the following observation:
What is the common denominator in the comments from the parents? They were talking to their children about money. You use an allowance as an opportunity to have financial discussions and relay your family values. The talks can occur without the tool.
I wouldn't call that argument the decisive blow in the debate, but it's pretty good. I'm definitely leaning in the "no allowance" direction.