Family Finance: Can Your Teen Handle a Budget?

Teenagers aren’t famous for their good spending habits and responsible purchases, so is it a good idea to leave your teenage child to handle their own budget? Some might argue that this is just irresponsible because they will only indulge themselves and then will ask you for more money, so you should handle their budget for them. Others consider the fact that the if you’re always handling their affairs, your children will never learn to do it on their own. Let’s explore both positions and see who is right and who’s wrong.

No, your teenager can’t handle a budget!

Some people firmly believe that teenagers are fundamentally unable to handle money. It’s in their blood to be immature and irresponsible since they are still too young to understand what to do and how to make rational choices. Everything a teenager does is caused by their hormones. Although I understand where these people come from, I can’t firmly agree. Yes, most teenagers are immature and when they get their hands on cash, all they look to do is to indulge themselves. Most of their choices are irrational and based solely on emotion. Being shortsighted, it’s impossible for them to handle a budget because they don’t think in perspective. They frequently disappoint their parents due to inexperience. All of this is true for most teenagers and it’s completely natural.

However, there is something most people aren’t considering. Most teenagers are immature because they are not required to be mature. Their parents are trying to shield them from everyday problems, forcing most them to grow up in a bubble which bursts in their twenties. Indulging themselves and their overall hedonism is another aspect of their personalities caused by their lack of responsibility. In a sense, their lives are too easy for them to become mature. Maturing is a gradual process, but most parents don’t realize they are artificially decelerating it by being overprotective, causing all of the other problems that follow. We are as much a product of our upbringing as we are of our nature. If we are treated like children we will act like children. Have a little more faith in your teenage son or daughter and see what happens. Make sure they know that when they are out of money, you’re not going to supply them with more so that they spend it all in one place. If they do, leave them without money for a while. You have to be firm in order to teach them. Try starting with a weekly budget and then move on to a monthly budget. It will be difficult at first, but soon your teenager will realize the level of faith you’re putting in them and start trying to behave more maturely and learn how to handle their finances better. But what if…

Your teenager can handle a budget.

Some teenagers are naturally more responsible than others, for one reason or another. They will be able to seamlessly handle their finances and will be able to deal with what they have. If you are parenting such a teenager, then you’ve done well and you’ve taught them that most things in life don’t come easy and that responsibility is important. It maybe hard to imagine but such teenagers do exist.

The Outcome

Whether your teenager can or cannot handle their own budget is irrelevant. The point is that you have to let them try. If they are able, great – they will become even better at it and one day will hardly have financial difficulties no matter how much money they make. If they aren’t very proficient at it, then it’s better to give them the chance to learn while there is still time for that and while they can count on you as a safety net. Otherwise one day when they are older they will fall badly and there will be no one to help.

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