We all know adolescence is a challenging time. Why, though? It’s the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood. As a parent, this time is critical to help your kids embrace and ultimately thrive as an adult.
It’s no secret that money is a critical part of adulthood. We can’t survive without it. How we use it greatly impacts our lives and security. In order to prepare your teen to be independent, teaching them about the responsibly of money is paramount. In order to educate your adolescent about the overall responsibility of money, one of the most important principles to teach is respect. And, here’s how.
1.) Model Respect Yourself. Talk to your teens with respect. Use a tone of voice that you’d use when talking to a friend or colleague, not like a child. Explain how you have learned to use money wisely. Don’t be afraid to tell them if you have struggled at times and how you’ve learned from those experiences.
2.) Give them A Salary. A lot of jobs pay bi-monthly or monthly. Give your child a taste of this experience and pay an allowance (you’re comfortable with) on a set schedule. If they run out of money, they will have to wait until the next pay period, just like any adult would have to do. If it’s lunch money they need, empower them to pack a lunch.
3.) Give them a Commission. Plenty of jobs are commission based. Determine an amount you’re comfortable paying for services around your house—from picking up little brothers and sisters, making dinner, cleaning, grocery shopping to mowing the lawn or other household duties. Don’t force them to do any of the services, let them decide how much money they want to make. Watch how fast they start volunteering! Paying for a service is a great way to help your teen respect the money they have in their pocket.
4.) Give Some Breathing Room. Now comes the hard part, give them a chance to use their budget. That means letting go and let them make mistakes. (I must note, this assumes you don’t think your child is using the money for anything illegal or dangerous.) Remember, most of us don’t get anything right the first time. When your child makes a mistake, don’t shame them. Talk them through it. Be kind, loving and understanding; but, remain firm to your salary and commission contract. In order for your teen to really respect money, they are going to have to feel what it’s like to not have it at some point.
5.) Pay Taxes. Taxes are a part of life. With the salary or commission you give your kids take a small tax. You can put it in a jar somewhere for family pizza night, a rainy day or an upcoming vacation. The principle you’re teaching is that earning money as an adult means contributing to society. It also means you have to work even harder if you want more money.
Remember, the main reason to teach your teens about respecting money is to prepare them for adulthood. Letting go can be difficult and painful. Watching them make mistakes (especially one’s we’ve made ourselves) can be brutal. But, if they are going to learn, they will have to do it themselves. We can’t learn for them. At the end of the day, it’s better for them to practice and make mistakes at home with you, than in the real world as an adult. Be respectful, gracious, kind and firm, while supporting them during this time of learning and transition. I can tell you personally that once I was an adult I did actually thank my mom. Your kids just may thank you one day. Just maybe.
Lauren is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Life Coach who loves working with teens. She has spent more than a decade combined studying psychology, counseling and participating in her own growth work. As a teen who attended counseling herself, Lauren knows firsthand what it is like to participate and how to empower adolescents in coaching. In her personal life, Lauren is a mother of two young kids, a wife of eight years, a mom-blogger and she serves her community as a Youth Commissioner for the Northbrook Village Government.
Easy Action: Start a conversation with your teen about what causes matter to him or her. Then explore the Internet for ways to contribute to that cause.
Resource at Your Fingertips: “WealthQuest for Teens teaches how to properly handle and prioritize money so we are not left asking ourselves, ‘Where has all my money gone?’” – V. Whitton, age 19. See what WealthQuest for Teens has to offer.
Remember to Pledge to teach your teen to be an excellent money manager! Vote “Yes. I will make the promise!” to let the world know that parents are doing their part to build a financially literate society!
© Your Teen’s Money Skills, Inc., 2012 All rights reserved worldwide.