Genesee Valley Parent July 2012 : Page 24

[ parenting teens & tweens ] By Myrna Beth Haskell A Penny Earned is a Penny…. Spent HELPING YOUR TEEN LEARN THE VALUE OF A DOLLAR D oes money fly out of your teen's hands faster than a cheetah chases its prey? Perhaps you thought that the job she recently started was going to make her more money conscious; instead, she has stocked her closet with more trendy shoes. It's true that some teens are thrifty, but many others have surely purchased items they really didn't need because "it seemed important at the time." Parents can fall into this same trap. Even if you consider yourself frugal, there has probably been a time or two when you bought something on a whim, only to ask yourself the next day, "What was I thinking?" Without mortgage payments and heating bills, however, many teens find it hard to value a dollar. Parents can learn from introspection and examining their own relationship with money to encourage their teens to become adept with financial matters. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES "Smart Start: Money Management for Teens" This free publication can be down-loaded from the Federal Citizen Information Center: http://publications.usa.gov/ USAPubs.php?PubID=5983 Tykoon An online family finance tool that helps parents teach their kids money management skills: www.tykoon.com The Teen Mindset Practice what you Preach Your teen has been watching how you've handled money over the years. He has lis-tened to your conversations and has watched your spending habits. There is nothing more powerful than a teen realiz-ing that his parents are fiscally responsi-ble. Lisa Reynolds, a savings specialist and Mom Saver-in-Chief at RedPlum (a provider of online and newspaper coupons), reports, "You can set a good example by choosing to look for savings, clipping coupons, and comparing prices. You are teaching your children by doing." Teens sometimes have a hard time distin-guishing necessary purchases from frivo-lous ones. "The line dividing what we need and what we want can easily become blurred for teens," warns Reynolds. If parents lead by example, they can help teens determine what they really need and what they can pass up. Parents have long been aware of this typi-cal teen pitfall: wanting instant gratifica-tion. Advancements in technology, such as texting, instant messaging, and social net-works, have taught teens that information is sent and received almost instantaneous-ly. Shopping is at one's fingertips, too. In the good ol' days, you drove to a store, searched through racks for price tags, and then waited on line to make your pur-chase. Today, you can click on a website and make a purchase in just minutes. My own teens don't even have the patience to stand on line! It's no wonder parents have a hard time teaching teens that some things are worth waiting for when so many tasks have become effortless. Parental Guidance Cathi Brese Doebler, author of Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family: How to Thrive on Less Than Two Incomes , urges parents to teach money management skills from a very young age. "I gave my children an allowance when they turned four years old," she reports. Doebler also set a stan-24  WANT TO SHARE YOUR IDEAS? UPCOMING TOPIC: Latest on "sexting" – how parents can ensure their teen is using his cell appropriately and legally. Send your full name, address, & brief comments to: myrnahaskell@gmail.com or visit: www.myrnahaskell.com www.GVParent.com

Parenting - Teens & Tweens

Myrna Beth Haskell

A Penny Earned is a Penny…. Spent
HELPING YOUR TEEN LEARN THE VALUE OF A DOLLAR

Does money fly out of your teen's hands faster than a cheetah chases its prey? Perhaps you thought that the job she recently started was going to make her more money conscious; instead, she has stocked her closet with more trendy shoes. It's true that some teens are thrifty, but many others have surely purchased items they really didn't need because "it seemed important at the time." Parents can fall into this same trap. Even if you consider yourself frugal, there has probably been a time or two when you bought something on a whim, only to ask yourself the next day, "What was I thinking?" Without mortgage payments and heating bills, however, many teens find it hard to value a dollar.

Parents can learn from introspection and examining their own relationship with money to encourage their teens to become adept with financial matters.

Practice what you Preach

Your teen has been watching how you've handled money over the years. He has listened to your conversations and has watched your spending habits. There is nothing more powerful than a teen realizing that his parents are fiscally responsible.

Lisa Reynolds, a savings specialist and Mom Saver-in-Chief at RedPlum (a provider of online and newspaper coupons), reports, "You can set a good example by choosing to look for savings, clipping coupons, and comparing prices. You are teaching your children by doing." Teens sometimes have a hard time distinguishing necessary purchases from frivolous ones. "The line dividing what we need and what we want can easily become blurred for teens," warns Reynolds. If parents lead by example, they can help teens determine what they really need and what they can pass up.

The Teen Mindset

Parents have long been aware of this typical teen pitfall: wanting instant gratification. Advancements in technology, such as texting, instant messaging, and social networks, have taught teens that information is sent and received almost instantaneously. Shopping is at one's fingertips, too. In the good ol' days, you drove to a store, searched through racks for price tags, and then waited on line to make your purchase. Today, you can click on a website and make a purchase in just minutes. My own teens don't even have the patience to stand on line!

It's no wonder parents have a hard time teaching teens that some things are worth waiting for when so many tasks have become effortless.

Parental Guidance

Cathi Brese Doebler, author of Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family: How to Thrive on Less Than Two Incomes, urges parents to teach money management skills from a very young age. "I gave my children an allowance when they turned four years old," she reports. Doebler also set a standard for saving as well. "We separate their earnings into three piles: 80% for spending, 10% for saving, and 10% for giving. We offer advice on good spending decisions, and then let them make choices on how and when to spend their money."

Doebler emphasizes that teens learn from consequences. For instance, when teens realize they can't buy something they really want because of an earlier, impulsive purchase, an important lesson is learned. She states, "Learning lessons when they are young over small amounts of money is much better than learning lessons when they are older over larger amounts of money."

Some experts caution parents about enforcing specific rules. Marietta Jelks, manager of the Consumer Action Handbook, a publication of the Federal Citizen Information Center, counsels, "I don't think it is fair to force teens to save their allowance. Allowances are a learning experience, and it may be that some teens will learn the importance of saving after experiencing the consequences of not planning adequately." Teens need to learn to make tough choices between being responsible and satisfying their immediate desires.

However, Jelks encourages parents to advise their teens. "Parents should talk to their teens about how they plan to manage their allowance and encourage them to save a portion."

Myrna Beth Haskell is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Rochester Area & Genesee Valley Parent Magazine who lives in Salt Point, NY. She is the mother of two teenagers and specializes in parenting issues and children's development.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

"Smart Start: Money Management for Teens"

This free publication can be downloaded from the Federal Citizen Information Center: http://publications.usa.gov/ USAPubs.php?PubID=5983

Tykoon

An online family finance tool that helps parents teach their kids money management skills: www.tykoon.com

Read the full article at http://bluetoad.com/article/Parenting+-+Teens+%26amp%3B+Tweens/1100397/116707/article.html.

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