As the tween hurtles towards her teenage years, there are a few things I will have to take for granted.
Mood swings, temper tantrums, arguments and bickering about money.
That covers me, now let’s talk about her. In particular, about money and my increasingly empty pockets.
I realize, as the tween gets older, her needs expand, her tastes become more sophisticated and expensive and there is a desperate need to have what everyone else is having, eating, using, playing with or just looking at.
I understand it can be social suicide to not be in possession of at least some of the top 10 essentials required to be a happening tween about town. The trouble is, those essentials can change from week to week, and I can’t afford to keep up, nor do I want to. A sensible approach is obviously needed to get a reasonable balance, and I’m not sure I’ve got it right.
Part of my approach is to get the tween to start saving her own money and spending her own money on the things she desperately craves. Previously, I’ve been giving her regular pocket money for which she carried out basic chores, emptying the dishwasher and feeding the animals, but I was still forking out for random things which she really don’t need but “needed to have”. I knew however, that if I continued down that route she was going to think money was a given, not something you had to earn.
So, I decided to change the rules – very unfair to shut the gate after the horse has bolted, I know, but something had to be done. I established a low-based weekly pocket money rate and compiled a list of jobs up for grabs, should she want to earn more. And the problems began right there. What is a job and what should be done ‘’to help your mother’’?
I drew the line when she tried to negotiate extra payment to empty the dishwasher. I found myself doing what I said I’d never do and started off my response with “in my day … “. Yep, we all know where that pearler ended up. “…WE DIDN’T HAVE DISHWASHERS! (I think I actually did shout it)
“What about the animals and feeding them,” she spouted. I pointed out that in the absence of us living on a farm with a requirement for her to rise at dawn and move stock before feeding the chickens and poddy calves, she really only had to cater for her guinea pigs, fish, galah, dog and the cat. Okay, probably more than most, but hardly high maintenance, except of course on my pockets … again. And, I continued, that if it wasn’t for my regular intervention at feeding time they would have headed out the door to the takeaway joint up the road years ago.
So, I declared, her base rate would cover her “love for mum and animals” jobs.
Then came the dilemma about she should spend her money on and what I should pay for. I have a friend who expects her daughter to pay for a canteen lunch, the movies, CDs and any fashion accessories. Is that extreme? Or, is it teaching her child exactly what I want mine to learn – that if you want something you have to work for it.
Naturally, like most parents I can’t afford to let the tween have whatever she wants. She has friends whose every whim is granted, but she also has friends who have less too.
That’s life. She’ll always be surrounded by those who have more and those who have less. What I’m trying to figure out is how to keep more in my pockets, and indeed hers, and help her realize that a little less of the ‘’essentials’’ may be required.
What’s your solution to pocket money? Share your tips.