The objective of this article is to provide suggestions to parents for dealing with their teens around the subject of money to prevent those teens from becoming problematic later.
By: Susan Adams, M. Ed.
Summary: Money is one of the three big battlegrounds of marriage and is also a prime source of friction between parents and children. Because of its association with power and love, money can trigger many family explosions. The following suggestions are meant to help reduce the friction and accompanying rebellion.
Set an example for your children in the handling of money. Don’t expect them to do as you say and not as you do. Handle finances reasonably and confidently. Don’t exaggerate money as a value–don’t over or underspend. Discuss finances in a matter-of-fact way without getting emotional–a good prescription for any conversation of any subject. What counts is the attitude of the family about money–the teen is likely to reflect the philosophies of his parents.
Introduce your child to money management at an early age through the use of an allowance. Use this opportunity along the way of life to talk with him about the uses and misuses of money. Don’t wait for teens to be ready to leave home to introduce the idea of money management or of saving.
Avoid using money as a means of control, punishment, or reward. Don’t use money as a bribe for good behavior nor as compensation for what you may have missed in your own childhood. It is a tool–not a power ploy.
Discuss monetary needs with your teen. Let him itemize his needs and explain the purpose of each and its cost. Then review his budget (or allowance) request in terms of the overall family budget. Let him see whether or not his request for money is in line or not with the family income and expenditures. Let him suggest what adjustments might be made in the family budget. If these are unrealistic, he will need to revise his own budget to stay in line with total available family monies.
Include your teenager in family financial discussions. This is part of living in a society which is what you are modeling while he is at home. Teens who feel that they are an integral part of the family–their society–are much less likely to become problematic because they already have a sense of importance and thus a sense of how their behavior will impact the rest of the family.
So, bring money matters into family discussion and let your son or daughter participate in family financial problems and decisions. This will not only teach responsibility, it will also gain cooperation with older children in helping them to support decisions that need to be made.