It’s the easiest of expectations: your teen comes sauntering toward you, craving the latest technological wonder and wanting money to pay for it (he has none of his own). His hand is stretched toward yours, waiting for dollars, for acceptance. And you give in — as you always do. It’s far simpler to offer him the funds he needs than suffer through the tantrums. You spare yourself wasted time and energy.
And you spare him the financial foundations he must have.
A common misconception traded between families is that teenagers are meant to be without responsibility — their focus is to be offered to their studies, their social development. Money is instead to be ignored. This pattern is incorrect, however. It denies all youths the fiscal understanding (and responsibility) they need for the days to come. Knowledge must be earned, not denied.
Offer your teen an education of pennies. Expose him to finance and budgeting. Establish a checking account for him, allowing him to track his funds (helping him to set goals for specific purchases, generate interest and maintain savings). Let him keep his bank-book balanced, with every expense itemized and catalogued. Use prepaid credit cards to introduce him to the power — and temptation — of plastic. Create limitations on the cards that he can easily maintain but be certain that he’s aware of them. If he exceeds them make sure he takes responsibility for it: pay no fees and match no debt. The purpose is to demand common sense.
It’s too often believed that adolescence is an excuse for indulgence. Teens, it’s assumed, are to be free of chores or requirements. They’re instead to enjoy their days — with their parents paying for every single wish. Such wishes must instead be gained through hard work and budgeting, however. Allow your teen to earn the information he needs. Offer an education that won’t fail and an experience that will last a lifetime.