Re: Paying Teenagers
From: Diana Carroll (
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2015 09:50:22 -0800 (PST)
If it's a one-time ask ("I'm not feeling well, any chance you could take my
trash out?") I wouldn't expect to pay a teen any more than I would an adult.

If it's an ongoing thing ("Can you come by to take my trash out every
Thursday?") then payment seems totally reasonable.

Also, does the kid actually get to say no?  There's a difference between
you asking a kid you have a relationship with to help you out, and you
asking the *parent* to ask the kid...where the parent is actually going to
say "Joey, go help Sharon with her trash"'s an expectation that Joey
is just going to do it because Mom told him to.  Those feel very different
to me.

I have teens, and at a certain age I expect them to start contributing
(like this year, I expected/insisted that they help with the endless snow
clearing, and also with the community wide "work day" a month ago).  I
wouldn't expect the community or any individual outside our family to pay
them for that.

But if they are asked to take on tasks above and beyond what a community
member would be asked to do, then payment would be appropriate.

Lots of folks pay here our teens for help with babysitting, pet sitting,
etc. and it seems appropriate to me because they want someone that is
committed to helping, not just a one-off or casual stop by.

On Sat, Feb 28, 2015 at 10:20 AM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]
> wrote:

> I'm conflicted about the issue of paying teenagers to help with tasks that
> an adult community member would just do for me, like taking out my trash
> and recycling when I'm sick. Running across the street to the market.
> Helping me repot plants. Break up the ice in my parking space.
> It seems clear that if I ask a 15-year-old to come work for an hour or two
> to help with chores that I would pay them. But if another person would just
> clear off the snow on my car gratis or grab my trash when taking out
> theirs, should I pay a teenager to do it?
> Since I want teenagers to feel more like members of the community, why not
> expect them to be part of the community?
> There is some line here that is blurry. Since they are often saving money
> for something, they need money. Sometimes to pay for their own phone or a
> new bicycle helmet or something their parent has said yes but you have to
> earn the money. Since they are in school and often helping at home as well,
> having a job is not practical. So paying teenagers is helping them earn the
> typical teenage necessities and it's helping the parents as much as the
> teens.
> What do other communities do about this?
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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