As children start turning fifteen-- sixteen they can start getting jobs. With a job comes money. With money come opportunities to spend that money. But how much freedom does a teen have in the spending of that money?
What happens when a teen decides to buy Fruit Loops and Mt. Dew with “his” money? What if a newly funded teen thinks he can buy junk food and eat it in front of siblings without sharing?
What say does a parent have over a teen’s money? Does a parent have to reason with the teen until they come to a mutual understanding?
A parent is still the parent. A parent needs to be the parent as long as the child is in the home. A parent can make any rules they feel are needed as long as the child is in their home.
If a parent decides to give a teen total freedom to spend their income, that is up to the parent. If a parent decides to require a teen to run all purchases past the parents, that is up to the parent. There is no hard and fast rule about what a teens spending should look like, the hard and fast rule is that it is up to the parent.
Three of our four children have incomes, with that money they must tithe, put 50% of what’s left into savings and then they have the rest as spending money. Although the rest is called "spending" they are not free to spend it however they like. They still run all purchases by us first.
For example, if we are at the grocery store and they want to buy some candy, I may say “no”, “sure” or “only if you are willing to share with everyone in the car”. I do not feel obligated to have an explanation for my response; although at times I will explain my “no” to help them learn to see how they can think things through and say “no” to themselves. These reasons might include: frivolousness of candy, just had a sweet or going to be having a sweet soon, pull of visual (not a previous desire), or it appears the money is just burning a hole in their pocket….
Another reason to say “no” would be if a child is thinking they can buy things that are not normally had in our home. Fruit Loops and Mt. Dew are not normally offered so we would not allow them to be brought in just because someone can afford to buy them. Family standards are still family standards.
There are bigger purchases the children consider too that we talk them through. Often it gets to a point where we say, "it is up to you". We will have previously helped them research, weighed pros and cons, and discussed how this purchase would effect their bottom line, ie: bank account. After taking the time to do the above, we are ready to let them make the final decision. It is exciting to see our children grow in dealing with their finances.
Money is a responsibility; it is a parent’s job to train a child how to handle every new responsibility. How we as parents go about this is between us and the Lord, but we must look ahead to where we want our children to go and help them learn those lessons now while they are in our home.