A teen with plenty of money to spend can quickly spiral into senseless spending just for the sake of spending, showing off to peers or to simply feel good. Money or possessions have always been used as a tool to impress peers since time immemorial and today is no different.
However most parents would like their children to value self worth above what money can provide. Still, money can be a very good thing and can indeed add value to the quality of life especially if it is well understood and managed well.
A parent has many, many responsibilities. Teaching your child good money management skills is one - and in this day and age money matters are at the forefront. Lucky for the parents that follow this column, I have done a bit of research and can give you a few key tips to start you off if you are not too late. I am sure the parent’s with the blossoming teenagers will thank me especially.
First of all, internalise that all teens are big spenders and given a chance they will always have reasons to spend your money so from the get go, practice “distraction techniques.”
You can distract the child from their immediate desires to spend by helping them to plan and think about an attractive alternative for example a “makeover” party with friends or a barbeque, which might help them overcome any inclination to make an impulse decision to spend.
Keep them away from frequent visits to the mall and encourage healthier pastimes and hobbies like sports or even jogging.
If your teenagers must go to the mall, teach them the great art of window-shopping. This is having the liberty to check out anything you may want to buy but may not be able to afford.
This is a clear message that teaches the kids that they can’t have everything. It also provides good opportunities to discuss facts relating to not being able to afford everything that is wanted.
A study by the University of Cambridge in 2012 says that the experience of foregoing what they want provides children with a good environment in which to reason about equality or inequality in the economic world.
Teach what the advertisers are really after - the money! An endearing emotive advert can persuade us to forget that the purpose is to make us buy something we don’t really need. The children are even more gullible than adults.
Some literature recommends that you pay the kids for small jobs – but be careful not to pay them for things they ought to be doing anyway like washing up after they eat, or keeping their room tidy and clean.
At some point, children need to learn that the amount of money they earn is directly related to what they accomplish on the job. So instead of letting kids enter the workforce with an inflated sense of their own worth, why not teach them how to become a valued employee early on?