First of all, yes, I am a product of Generation X. The generation that Wikipedia says lacked parental guidance and produced a whole generation of latchkey children. Luckily, I was most definitely not a latchkey child (when I look back on my childhood, I wish I was!) My mom was a stay-at-home mom and she was mostly home when I got home from school. Sorry, Wikipedia! But I am Gen X in the way I have experienced hard work and the feeling of accomplishment when I’ve been able to provide things for myself, without any handouts, without any parental meddling.
This leads me to the one thing that both mom and dad taught me: if there is something I really, really wanted—I had to pay for it myself. Don’t get me wrong, my parents did buy us things that weren’t necessities and somewhere in my toy chest I still have the ET doll I demanded my mom buy for me, but it was those things that we wanted that were not actually necessary that my parents expected us kids to get for ourselves.
This is the same thing we are currently teaching our daughter who is 15 years old. Luckily for her, she is a gifted artist and her dad and I encourage her to do commissions in order to earn money from her talent. In the Generation Z pool, illustrations are a huge deal and kids and young adults apparently pay good money for illustrations of their favorite anime and video game characters. Do commissions, we’ve told her. Save the money you earn and buy yourself the things you want and think you need.
For other parents, this may seem like we are de-emphasizing the importance of studies. These should be first and foremost in any teen’s mind but because our daughter is a good student, doing commissions during her down time is a sensible way to earn some spending money.
Sadly, unlike our American counterparts, summer jobs and working at the local Ben and Jerry’s isn’t available to teach our children how to earn and save, but at least what we’re teaching her is that if you can earn, earn and save for what you want.
It is a big mistake to provide every single thing your kid wants. This produces an entitled, spoiled child and as much as I would love to provide my kids with all their whims and desires, I prefer they feel the accomplishment in getting it themselves.
Teach your child about finances early. I have discussed with her that keeping her savings in a bank account will not assure her of a good future because the interest the amount earns in the bank is less than the current inflation rate. We are planning on investing in bonds when her savings have reached a certain amount that is enough to get a few bonds.
If your child wants to sell things, be a tutor to a kid in the neighborhood, help classmates with projects and the like, let her. It’s only when they earn their own money and spend it, that kids will learn the importance of money and these experiences are—yes, you guessed it, priceless!
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.
Art by Tricia Guevara
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