Some parents, who grew up in a world where they were expected to earn their own spending money, feel disadvantaged by the experience. They seek to deprive their children of the same privilege in hopes of helping their kids get ahead. What a disservice!

We live in a world where people are universally expected to be productive members of society. Today, too many kids finish college lacking real work experience. They don't know what it's like to show up to work on time, take direction from a supervisor or be responsible for accomplishing a task by a deadline.

Chances are, you worked as a teenager - babysitting, waiting tables, delivering newspapers, or mowing lawns. Maybe you hated it, but the experiences of work helped develop you into a productive part of society. Encouraging your kids to earn their own spending money teaches them the value of money and how to be valued employees.

The key to motivating your kids to take responsibility for earning their way in the world is to limit the amount of spending money. It's not a bad idea to give your kids a modest allowance. It's best if the allowance is tied to doing chores around the house. Even then, be sure to limit the amount of money you give your kids. The whole idea is to leave the kids wanting more money than you give them so they have the desire to earn some money on their own.

It seems unwise to give teenagers exclusive access to a car for which they have not paid. If you choose to give your teen a car, consider requiring them to be responsible for the insurance, gas and maintenance so that they learn responsibility along the way. In most cases, it would be better to encourage them to save for a car or simply use public transportation. If you dare, you can also let them borrow your car - as long as they gas it up for you once in a while.

The more pressure teenagers feel to earn money for their own expenses, the more you are teaching responsibility. Some parents worry they are depriving their children of valuable study time and that working will lead to lower grades and fewer opportunities in the future. Of course, there needs to be a balance, but a college graduate with straight A's through high school and college yet has never held a job will be at a great disadvantage in the workforce. Similarly, a high school graduate whose grades are not strong enough for college will be at a great disadvantage in the workforce. Help your teens find the right balance.

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