With this year’s fresh class of Senior One students having reported to school, new parents are already falling for the tricks employed by their teenagers to obtain more money.
And the tragedy is when the parents take leave of their financial sense in their enthusiasm and shower their children with excess pocket money.
They are likely to box themselves into a corner by setting their children’s conspicuous consumption for the next six years and at the expense of pressing domestic needs.
Some parents give their children as much as frw100, 000 a term, about ten thousand every week, for their “personal use”.
The amount of money translates to frw300, 000 a year and frw1, 800,000 over the entire course. This money could buy a modest stake in the stock market tripling in four years and giving one a fabulous return.
But often, such children end up being undisciplined. They may try out drugs and alcohol and playing truant. Often, they pay other less privileged students to do their washing, homework and assigned duties for them.
Besides growing up with the notion that money can buy anything, including friendship, such pampered children fail to get the all-important lesson of financial prudence at a critical and impressionable age.
Yet there are some stingy parents who believe in strict control and leave their sons and daughters practically no pocket money and teachers have to step in for mundane things like pencils and pens.
So, the question arises: how much money is good for your child in school? New parents should inquire from other seasoned parents or teachers on the acceptable cash to entrust a child. Of course you should factor in the geographical area of the institution and the facilities on offer there.
Expenses like bus fare back home on closing day, over-the-counter medication, occasional refreshment when on school outings, and emergencies like loss of clothes and so on are other factors to consider.
But, these teenagers are not altogether dumb. They daily devise new schemes for conspiring to defraud parents and students in Senior One, in their newness, are not above this. Some of the students’ money-getting designs you should beware of are as follows:
Verify all trips with the school authorities: Soliciting for funds to pay for many upcoming school trips is the oldest of all students’ money scams. And the new Senior Ones are likely to learn and practice this antic with ease.
Debts accrued from friends: Students desperate for cash will often fake a misfortune, like theft of their personal effects. They will claim that this drove them to borrowing cash from friends.
Their accounts may look plausible, until you examine them. As a parent, demand to be brought all the creditors, in the principal’s office and you will nip this adventure in the bud.
Special diet in school: When your child demands for extra cash ostensibly to be buying food items, demand to see the note or prescription.
Ask why the problem has suddenly arisen. It could be a simple medical issue but exaggerated with a calculated financial aim in mind.