A prior post about how lunch money is handled in schools (cash vs. pin #) got me thinking. I see SO many parents stopping by the office to fill up their kids' lunch accounts. I know these people, and many who have FIFTH graders are still taking care of this task. By first grade, mine were expected to take the money to the office, have it applied to their accounts (split between siblings) and let me know when the account is low (they buy infrequently). Of course, I started with small ammounts. At this point, I have no concerns sending either the 3rd or 5th grader to school with $20 to split between their lunch accounts. I walk with them and watch until they get into the office, and they know to NEVER brag about money to other kids, lest other kids try to steal it.
Some of the other parents are shocked when I "admit" that my children have access to that kind of cash. (they ask why my kids go to the office in the morning). I think it is insane that their kids do not! How are they to learn financial reaponsibility? "Oh, but Johnny is so irresponsible with money; I can't leave it to him to do that. He'll be hungry because he lost the money" Yup, and he will probably not lose it the next day! Why do you think Johnny is stupid with his money???
My kids receive more money as they mature and their responsibilities increase. My oldest has more cash than I do! He is well paid for the extra work he does, and he is expected to pay for many things: gifts for friends, treats, any toys he would like, etc. We do give the kids money to buy birthday and Christmas presents for each other. As he gets older, he is expected to budget for more things. I recently told him that I would not replace his soon-to-be outgrown scout uniform and that he needed to find a way to cover half of the cost. No whining, no fits. Instead we had a brainstorming session and he came up with about 10 ways for him to earn the money.
All of my kids have wallets (and purses for the girls) and bank accounts. They all help out and work for extra cash. This starts the minute they notice the coins are shiny and are old enough to not swallow them. :) My goal is thay by high school, I will give them a monthly stipend to cover their expenses. It will be enough to cover the cost of sports, clothing, food eaten out of the house, and academic activities. They will need to budget accordingly. Football costs $1,000? Better start budgeting for it in June! I don't get extra money from my boss just becasue it is September and I have scouts, sports, and school supplies to buy for 3 kids!
Even my 8-year-old has a back to school budget. I looked at her closet, made a list of "must buys" (jeans, shorts, new shoes) figured out a reasonable ammount to cover those costs and added a little more money to buy some fun stuff. She has to get the "musts," and can buy whatever she wants with the rest of the money. Guess what? Turns out her lunch box and backpack from last year are suddenly just fine! And, she's looking at websites to find the best deals on the "musts."
So, am I insane, or are the other parents coddling thier kids?