I think I’ve mentioned it before but I have a teenaged daughter – we’ll call her K.B.. I love my child; she is the light of my life and has brought deep meaning and profound joy to my every day. BUT, she is sixteen. For anyone with a teenager, announcing her age is enough explanation. For the rest of you, check out a little slice of my life below.
Teaching Strategies: What’s not working
K.B. has a nightly chore of doing the dishes. Every time I remind K.B. of said chore, it becomes an epic saga of Kafkaesque angst and torment. Allow me to elaborate:
K.B.’s Initial Thoughts:
K.B. Remains Unmoved:
K.B. Still Unimpressed:
When it finally comes time for her to do the dishes, she is convinced that her fate is equal to those who must petition the United Nations Human Rights Commission to protest the crime against humanity which has been committed against her. Like so:
Teaching Strategies: Out with the old, in with the new
So my question, dear reader, is when is your child too old to collect an allowance?
K.B. informed us at the beginning of summer that she didn’t want to get a “real” job this summer so she can “relax” and enjoy time with her friends. Her opinion is is that she’s still a kid and should be able to ‘take the summer off’. After a few conversations, she reluctantly agreed to write a resume and apply for jobs. Now it’s three weeks into July and she will only look for jobs if someone pushes her to do it and that’s only for as long as we are on top of her to do it.
It’s not the job that’s important, it’s that she doesn’t understand the value of money in any real sense. She connects the two facts that there are things she wants and that they cost money but that’s about it for insight. The idea that she has to earn money before she can spend it seems to be the missing link in her brain. In summary, K.B. can be a little entitled when it comes to what she thinks she deserves from us.
Earning an allowance seems to keep K.B. stuck in the idea that she is entitled to money from us because we’re her parents. Cleaning the kitchen, taking out the garbage, and doing the yard are just annoying realities of living with such tyrannical parents.
Forcing the kid to get a job does not seem like the ideal solution. Unfortunately, she’s too old for “because I said so” – one of my personal favourites – and too young for “move out and get a job”. Surely there is some middle ground?
Teaching Strategies: New and improved!
So I’ve done some research and I’ve come up with some teaching strategies:
1) K.B. is at an age where we can have more extensive conversations about our financial situation. If we take the time to sit her down and discuss our income and expenses with her – it might help her start building an understanding about the value of money.
2) Get K.B. involved in the financial goal-setting of the family and let her contribute to what our plans should be for the family’s money. This would have to be done within reason, of course, but I think these discussions offer valuable opportunities for learning how to prioritize and plan out saving and spending. For instance, we could have her help plan out where we should go for a weekend vacation – the costs of staying in this hotel versus going to that attraction.
3) Having K.B. participate in these plans can help us when she having an “I want” moment. Helping her understand that wanting a Samsung Galaxy III phone costs about $600 and that would take away from our goal of traveling to where ever for the weekend. Appreciating the reasons for why we say “yes” to one thing and “no” to another won’t always cut down on the angst, but at least she’ll know in the back of her mind why it’s not going her way.
4) We can also introduce K.B. to the importance of dividing money into spending, saving, and investing categories. Using ourselves as examples – complete with where we went right and wrong – can perhaps help her start wrapping her head around how to make these decisions.
5) Perhaps the most important part of this is for us to let K.B. make her decisions and experience the consequences whether they are good or bad. If she is allowed to be dumb sometimes, she will probably learn a whole lot faster than us being the talking heads about common sense stuff.
Perhaps these new teaching strategies will help us pass along to our darling K.B. daughter that with great money comes great responsibility (totally bastardized that quote, I know).
Let’s see if we can avoid this:
What about you, reader? Do you have any tips for teaching teens to be responsible with money?