A lot of kids these days are being let down badly by their parents. They get to middle-school age, even high-school age without knowing anything about the world immediately around them. They either think that their food magically appears for them in the fridge or the supermarket. They stuff their faces with junk food with no regard for their own health. They sneer at good manners and talk back to figures of authority. These poor kids are in no way prepared to deal with the realities of life when they have to go out and fend for themselves and build a life for themselves.
One of the worst things I see is kids demanding new toys or money or money to buy them with, even throwing tantrums to get what they want. One of the most enjoyable and useful things I did as a youngster was to earn my own pocket money. I didn’t have to be pushed into it at all – I liked the idea of having money that I could spend or save as I wished and I learned new skills and had a lot of fun in the process. If you don’t live in a place with a strong sense of community, you might not want your child to go too far away from home, and that’s not a problem at all. Make your child earn their pocket money by washing your car, tidying up the yard and helping you to take care of your garden.
If you’re comfortable letting your child visit your neighbors, they can offer to do these jobs for them, too, in exchange for a dollar or two. I would many times do a number of jobs for different families after school – washing their dishes, walking their dogs, painting fences and so on. There were also opportunities with local businesses. On weekday mornings I spent three hours walking around the whole town pushing flyers into folks’ mail boxes. Once I’d saved enough to buy my first bicycle, three hours became one and I used the remaining two hours to take a job at a diner washing up during the busy breakfast period when their automatic washing machines couldn’t cope.
The benefits of allowing kids to earn their own money are manifold. For one, they learn to appreciate and understand the value of money. They learn that effort is rewarded whereas sloth is not. They improve their social skills, they learn to deal with different people and pick up lots of interesting skills along the way. At the same time they are becoming more worldly and gaining respect within their community.
So, please stop spoiling your kids and give them a chance of a decent future. Thanks.