If you’re at a restaurant and you hear loud conversations about expensive brands and accessories then you’re probably sitting beside a bunch of teens ordering food and leaving with a hefty bill paid with their pocket money. Parents assume that pocket money makes teens responsible but how much is appropriate depends on their financial status. Sociologists believe, with the number of restaurants, branded clothes and accessories rapidly increasing the demand to raise their monthly allowance has also increased.
Dr. Sudeshna Mukherjee, a sociologist explained, “Due to peer pressure, children demand more money from their parents. In certain cases both parents are working professionals and along with managing the monthly requirements to meet their cost of living, it becomes difficult for them to add ‘pocket money’ as an extra expenditure. I believe that giving children pocket money helps in managing their finances however, the amount that is given varies from ages and parents’ financial status.”
Devika Hanumanthappa, a parent of a 15- year-old considers pocket money as a reward that helps cultivate a sense of responsibility in teens. She said, “I give pocket money to my daughter as a reward and later ask her to analyse her unwanted expenses. It is true that we’re busy with our jobs but giving them the utmost attention in this age is most important. Since everything is expensive in metropolitan cities, at least an allowance of ` 500 a week is necessary.”
Teens see the need to stay updated with fashion a bigger responsibility rather than focusing on a substantial career. Divya Raj, 18, a student said, “At times, when I do not have money on me I’m treated differently by my friends and in turn I fight with my parents. Though I know that I am from a middle class family, I try to keep up with my friends by buying clothes and accessories as per the latest trends. But, when it’s my birthday and I have to treat my friends I will need at least 4k and my parents did not give me that much money. I told my friends that I couldn’t take them out for burgers and so they called me poor. This had a vast impact on my education and I even failed a year.”
Do they over spend? Tanushree V, 17, a student said, “If I’m given a sufficient amount of pocket money, I can save some money and buy gifts for my parents’ on their birthdays and anniversaries. I spend my pocket money when I binge on snacks after my classes. If I need a little over my pocket money then I ask my parents, but mostly they don’t let me go out with my friends and that irritates me.”
Psychologists believe that teenagers between the ages of 15 to 18 tend to compare themselves with their friends and cultivate an inferiority complex.
Nisha Khanna, a psychologist said, “Teenagers tend to compare themselves with their peers and make a conscious effort to match the others and if they fail, it leads to a low self-esteem. Ultimately, with a low self-esteem they are vulnerable and become victims of bullying. The only way for children to save themselves from such a situation is to understand their financial status and learn to say ‘no’ when required. If they still demand an expensive lifestyle then parents must motivate them to help improve their financial status.”
Another way to cultivate the sense of responsibility in kids is by encouraging the entrepreneur in them by letting them sell lemonades during summer breaks etc....