Almost all of my children had employment of some sort at our last home. With the current job market, my kids haven't been able to find jobs at our new location. My enterprising son, Joe has solved his cash-flow problem by gathering bottles and returning them for the deposit. He started small by just gathering bottles he saw on bicycle rides, but has developed a route that he does each day. A normal day will net him about $5.
In addition to gathering bottles, Joe is dumpster diving now. So far he's gathered 3 working video games for Wii or PS2, a working radio, 4 umbrellas, a replacement wheel for his bike, and some watches and jewelry. I've been allowing his "hobby" as long as he washes up very well when he gets home.
Last week, a friend went to Joe's best dumpster and gathered up the bottles. Joe was upset, but I explained that the bottles are up for grabs. He doesn't own rights to the bottles in the dumpster until he collects them. Later in the week, Joe's friend explained that he couldn't get the bottles any more because his mom thinks that I make the kids pay for their own school books.
What? I know that the mom believes that I'm too tough on my children because they do chores. But making them purchase their own school supplies seems pretty extreme. After some questioning, we realized that she learned that I had made one child pay me $25 towards replacing their math book. The child had destroyed a hard-cover math textbook by carelessness, something along the lines of abusing a library book. This was a 3rd offense for this child and I wanted to make a strong impression.
Now the neighbor believes that I'm unreasonable. At least Joe will have a steady income until he finds employment.