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Teenagers are notoriously difficult to parent, which isn’t too surprising considering that they’re in the process of transforming from children into adults, and have a whole lot of strange hormonal shifts taking place.
And it’s not just hormones involved in this transition to maturity, either. Teenagers are also frequently pushing their boundaries, exploring the world directly, and developing the sorts of habits which will stick with them into adulthood.
So for that reason, it’s especially important to help your teens develop a sense of financial responsibility before it’s time for them to face down the world on their own.
Encourage them to get small, part time jobs
As soon as your teen is able to begin doing part time work for money, encourage them to do it.
There are many benefits to this. While getting an allowance past a certain age can develop a sense of entitlement towards money, where it seems like it’s always there, and it just arrives without effort, working makes the reality very clear. Money comes as a result of labour, and you only get so much of it to spend at any one time.
Additionally, the practice gained by working part time jobs will prove invaluable later on when it’s time for your teen to enter to enter the job market professionally.
Have open and honest financial conversations with them
One of the best ways to help your teen develop a good financial sense is to have open and honest financial conversations with them.
Money is a subject which many people don’t feel comfortable discussing with their children. Nonetheless, sitting down with your teen when the time seems right and explaining some good financial tips to them can be an excellent idea.
As much as you’re comfortable to do so, it can also be helpful to explain these lessons in terms of personal anecdotes from your own life. That being said, it’s of course not necessarily, or advisable, to give your teen an in-depth knowledge of, or access to, the details of your financial goings on.
Be sure that you explain to your teen some of the consequences of bad financial decisions and how to recover from them, whether that entails hiring a bankruptcy lawyer, or budgeting in advance for any emergencies.
Set a good example
Kids of all ages, but especially teens, are likely to pay only a little attention to the things you say, but a lot of attention to the things you do.
As much as possible, let your teen see you behaving in financially responsible and sound ways.
If they see you being prudent with your spending and investing your money wisely, the lesson will rub off.
If, on the other hand, they notice that you’re constantly impulse-buying whenever you see something that catches your eye on TV, or that warning letters keep turning up in the mail, they’re likely to internalise the message that these kind approaches to money are acceptable.
Simply by practicing what you preach, you can make a tremendous impact.