With the influx of mobile phones and other gadgets to the latest Converse, kids these days don’t seem to have any respect or value for hard earned money. HEALTH speaks to an expert how we can change this mind-set and instead get them to appreciate the value of a Dirham.
Training Why are parents having such a hard time, here especially, getting kids and teens to understand the value of money? Psychologist Devika Singh-Mankani points out that children and teens are still developing the cognitive skills and brain processes that are applied to money management. “The brain is still developing abilities such as identifying needs
versus wants, delayed gratification, gratitude, and recognition of positive experiences brought about through the privilege
of access to money,” she explains. Yet with the frenetic pace of today’s busy lifestyles, sometimes parents just don’t have the time to do this, or are not modelling the behavior themselves which makes it hard for children to replicate. Also Singh-Mankani points out that in this part of the world it is not common for children and teens to receive money for odd jobs which actually helps youth to establish the value of money.
“These skills have to be trained consistently for them to develop and this usually happens over the period of a few years.”
According to Singh-Mankani, until about age 5 to 7, money is a very abstract concept for children. “It is viewed as a tool rather than a symbol; somewhere around this time it is useful to start having conversations with children about how much something costs by engaging them in practical exercises,” she tells. “For example, at the supermarket checkout desk you can have them pay for an item and count the money as they pay.” She suggests doing this with different items and then start asking if they can guess how much something costs while you are buying it.
The big question; is it too late to instill the value of money in a teen who has an annoying habit of asking for money all the time? Singh-Mankani emphasizes that it is never too late, but adds that the longer you wait, the longer it will take to create the shift. She advises to start by introducing the idea as a developmental progression by identifying it as the next step towards adulthood. “Without these concepts it will be very difficult to manage money, which is a relatively fixed resource, leading to frustration and distress,” she explains. Some tips she advises include: Start with smaller chores and build up
to more significant ones. You may face some resistance to this but try to liken it to a job and they may be more open to follow the plan. Parents can use personal examples from your own life, such as how much you budget for various expenses and what you do when you exceed this budget.
The Best Ways to Instill the Value of Money in Your Child
- Do the following exercise with your child: Make a list of needs and wants and discuss these items in detail. Thiscan turn in to a debate, so keep it light and fun!
- When you are looking to purchase an item of significant value play the ‘deal game’ where the person who findsthe best deal gets a prize, or bonus pocket money.
- Acknowledge the conflict many of us feel when we really want something but can’t have it, or know that it is betterto wait. The only way to get through this is to recognise the reward that comes from saving, and watching your savings grow.
- Start to talk about how the banking system works including credit, debit, and most importantly, the debt trap.
- Discuss interest rates and how they work. Use numbers to demonstrate these concepts. This usually works well with older teenagers.