Aren’t children taught the value of money any more?

I came across this article the other day on the BBC news website. It really struck home with me, especially the part about pocket money. I remember vividly receiving 50p per week pocket money when I was about the same age as my older son. The reason that I remember this was because I went through a phase of loving toffee. My favoured brand were sold in a supermarket in Bromley (probably Sainsburys) for 51p per packet. Spot the problem? On approaching my mother for a raise of one penny a week to cover the cost of the toffees, she suggested that I should do without for a week and then I’d have enough pennies to cover the extra for nearly a year! And that article was talking about how

holidaying children [are] struggling to buy new games and phone credit, and [are] forced to fill their time with pastimes that are cheap or free.

Oh poor children, having to put up with the same dozen computer games for a couple more weeks and fancy being forced to limit the time spent texting, talking or surfing on their mobiles! How will they cope?!? OK, of course I didn’t meekly listen to my mother and do without (I never was a meek and subservient child!); I went to my Dad and recounted the whole sorry tale, at which point he gave me some extra pennies to cover the shortfall! (Thanks Dad!) But my point is this – my mother taught me not only to be sly and go to Dad behind her back if I wanted something (!), but also she taught me that you can’t always have what you want, and that to save for something or to go without isn’t always the end of the world. Yes, I’d love two holidays a year, heck, I’d love the £35 red Converses I’ve been eyeing up in the window of Schuh every time I walk down Queen Street in Cardiff, but right now I have better things to do with my money. My children, I dare say, would love to have new Wii games every week, eat out every few days, go on the carousel and other fairground rides every time we walk near them and go to the cinema every week, but it’s just not going to happen (especially while a cinema trip for the four of us costs £23 before popcorn, see my previous post).

However, I am giving my children a limited amount of pocket money each week (a little more than I had at their age, but then that’s only fair given the rate of inflation!) with which they will be buying all sweets, chocolate and extra confectionery, any extra magazines (on top of the subscription to the Doctor Who Adventures magazine which arrives every Thursday on the door mat) and any toys which they want in between now and Christmas. Now, they are blessed to have many generous relatives who, in the past, have always made sure that they have little treats like kinder eggs (Auntie Liz and Uncle Mark) and extra books and toys (grandparents) so they don’t lead quite so spartan an existence as I’ve made out. I really do strongly feel though that children shouldn’t be presented with everything on a plate. I think that my kids appreciate an ice cream in the park all the more for not having one every time we go, and they definitely appreciate the occasional trips with their grandmother to Woolworths to pick out a toy more for not having new toys every week. At the end of the day I am just trying to do the best by my children. What more can a mother do?

I apologise for two money related posts one after the other, I must be subconsciously feeling poorer than is usual a week before payday!

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2 Responses

  1. Jennie,

    It is funny how human values are the same all over the world and transcend cultural differences. Both these posts on money are on point. As one of seven siblings, I grew up in New Delhi with parents teaching us the value for money and I have tried to instill the same in my son -perhaps even more so because I am a single parent. I must have done something right because he himself recommended that I fix the family jalopy for his local college use till he could save himself for a new car… Of course, I will be helping him greatly but it certainly made me happy.

    And thank you for stopping by my blog – Likewise I plan to visit your blog often as what you write resonates with me a lot and besides I plan to visit England one day also… We folks from India have ties with Britain which remained long after India got her independence. Namaste!

  2. Great post! Only if many adults got the same simple advise that your mum gave you as a child and listened to it.

    Its so important to teach children about money early, to prepare them to stand firmly on their feet later on in life.

    My passion is to help kids and teens develop money management skills and financial habits that will last a lifetime.

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