Advice Column, Child, Parenting, Tween & Teen


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Children and teenagers have to be shown and taught how to deal with money. We are advised that, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” The source of this wisdom is the Book of Timothy in the Bible. This well-known adage is often mis-quoted as, “Money is the root of all evil,” which does not mean the same at all. It is greed and corruption and the misuse of the currency which can cause trouble for us, not the cold, hard cash or credit cards in your wallet.

In accordance with your family’s wishes and beliefs, it is a good idea for children to learn to manage small amounts of money and experience having to budget for desired items.

We know that we are living in a world and society where many young people feel entitled to have everything they want, or least everything their friends have. Not every family has the same financial means and children should be taught to understand that fact. Teach your children not to show off with money.

Decide, as a parent, with your teenager, what would be a reasonable weekly allowance. Receiving a weekly amount to begin with may be better than a monthly sum, which may seem large and be squandered initially. Just like all adults, all children are different, so watch, without interfering, how your teenager manages money in the early stages.

The amount to give depends on you as a parent and also on what you expect your teen to buy with this allowance. Do you give your teen a separate budget for cellphone usage or to buy family gifts? Those details need to be negotiated between you and your teenager.

 The teenager is still at school and either living at home or in the boarding house at school. He should not have to pay for his daily lunches at the tuckshop at school from his allowance. To avoid this expensive trap, pack an interesting and healthy lunchbox and provide a water bottle for school every day. If the child, sometimes, wants to buy something at the tuckshop, then that item should come from his allowance.

Many parents believe that children should do chores around the home in exchange for an allowance. These chores could include cleaning the house, taking care of the garden or swimming pool or feeding the family’s pets. A lot of teens also do the cooking at home if a parent is busy at work or with younger siblings. 

Some parents are stricter than others and will deduct from an allowance for tasks not performed satisfactorily. Doing work in exchange for an allowance can teach responsibility and give your teen a taste of what the real world will be like. Everyone needs to learn to perform basic tasks like ironing a short or polishing school shoes.

It is reasonable to expect a teenager to budget for non-school clothing and entertainment, such as movies or treats with friends. Should she wish to buy more expensive items of clothing, she should learn to save her allowance and budget. This is good training for when she is an adult and working and earning her own money for the first time.

Teach your teenager to work wisely with money and save a small amount every month. Allow him to learn the value of money whilst still in the safety of your home. Encourage him not to be extravagant or to waste money unnecessarily. Enjoy and use your money carefully, but don’t LOVE it!

By: Mrs Tracy Freemantle (Teacher at Pinnacle College Kyalami)

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