Real Mum Interview: A Mum and Her Teen Talk Money
Show me a parent who has never had a fall out with their teen and I will show you a war waiting to happen. Parents are overheard repeatedly saying how difficult it can be to raise a teen.
They are moody, rude, disinterested, difficult and in their own words, misunderstood. They are continuously going through new emotions, feelings and trying to figure out their personalities. Couple that with parents who are struggling to understand them and you have a potentially volatile relationship. This makes it harder for parents to teach their teens life skills such as financial responsibility and the value of money.
Recently I had a chat with a mum of 4 girls who’s currently parenting her last teen, her 15-year-old daughter. I wanted to find out what her views were on financial responsibility and how to teach such a skill to her teenage daughter Ciku. Ciku was also happy to share her thoughts on how to be a financially responsible teen from the teenage view-point.
Ciku, Age: 15-years
What is it like being a teen in 2017?
It is work!
What do you think about money?
Money is very important. Without it you can’t achieve some things. For example, people think because you are young, you can’t be responsible with money. But you save and invest it.
What do you think makes a financially responsible teen?
A responsible person is someone who can make good decision about spending money, how they spend their money and how they save. A teen who’s bad with money, they don’t think, they just spend. But, those who do that probably have a higher allowance than I do.
Do you think you are financially responsible?
I think I am financially responsible because I can save. If I am given money, I won’t spend it immediately.
When do you spend it? Until further notice..[Laughs] For example, if I have plans with a friend. I don’t remember how I acquired money, but I acquired money – Sh4,000. Then my friends asked me to spend money and I spent it bit by bit, which I did. I had a system of spending based on the person, place and how much I needed.
One time, I was going for a movie at Panari with friends. The movie was Sh300. I took out Sh1,500 from my kitty. Luckily one of my friends paid for food or transport therefore when I got home, I had Sh1,200.
Another time, there was a plan to go to a soccer tournament: Two of my friends and I were broke, so, we needed to put our money together to get home. Usually, if we don’t have enough, we put our money together to pay for things. In this case, we didn’t have enough individually for the taxi, so, we contributed Sh500 each to pay for the Uber. That day, I spent a bit more than I would have preferred.
Do you think the money your mum gives you now is enough?
Nope, the money I’m given isn’t enough for my needs.
How much are you given? I am not allowed to say how much I earn as my salary [Laughs] But, I earn Sh3,500 per month. It took me a month to earn that money but I am yet to receive my payment.
How did you earn it?
Working for my employer, Lucy, my mum.
- Housework, cleaning the house, catering to her needs etc. For example, she’d say, go wash dishes, then if I take long she says that if I take too long, I won’t be paid. So, I’d hurry up. We made an agreement with her to get paid if I do chores. No specific costs, mum decides.
- Making my room – no one understands my room, they say it’s messy but I say it’s me being artistic.
- Making my mum’s room – Why?– I asked the questions but I never got a response. She’s not only my parent, but my boss.
- Sometimes I do businesses with other people, luckily, I so happened to be related to my uncle, whenever they feel generous, they give me money. No work involved. But living on this earth is work.
If you could use a mobile wallet like Zeep to monitor your spending, would you? Yes, I would! That would be good. Why?It would teach me how to spend money well and not misuse it.
What about if it limits your spending? That’s not a bad thing because, it would help me know how to work towards being financially stable.
Lucy, Mother of 4 girls, Aged 15-35years
How is life raising a teenager in 2017?
Raising a teenager hasn’t been easy. It is quite a task.
What types of challenges are you facing and how do you handle them?
You are not always on the same wavelength. You are always butting heads when they want things. I have learnt to sit and discuss with her the positives and negatives of the requests that she makes. For example, with regard to entertainment, she usually wants to go somewhere but as a parent, I don’t feel like it’s the right thing.
Therefore, we sit down, I let her explain what she wants and why, I set limits on what she can and can’t do and then grant her permission. But there are many times I say no [Chuckles]. Then I have to deal with her tantrums…[Laughs]..they get out of hand. But that is why I let her cool down then explain to her my reasons for turning down her requests.
How do you explain to her good vs. evil?
I am the parent, I am always right. Seriously, I have a success record with her elder sisters who turned out pretty good, if I may say so myself.
What about money?
Oh my…you pay for everything for them. You cater for all their needs.
Is your teen daughter financially responsible?
I believe she is because I have taught her and I am still teaching her, the value of money. We have discussions where I explain to her how it is earned, how to plan for it and use it for things that are of value. I think I taught my other children the same financial literacy..hope they agree.
If you could go back in time, what would you have re-taught your older kids?
The ways to save by providing amounts in bits and pieces to see how they spend it in bits and how to plan better.
If you could use a mobile wallet such as Zeep to reduce your teens spending, would you?
Yes, I would! Why? I prefer a method of not giving cash so that the money is used for what it is meant for. Also, it restricts her from misusing the money.
What type of needs does she have?
Entertainment, buying a certain item e.g phones, clothes, giving friends for gifts or contributions, tithe payments as well.
What type of vendors would you like to see on an such an App?
Hotels/restaurants, movie theatres, outdoor events e.g rugby/soccer tournaments, clothes shops, shoe shops, where to buy gifts and gift vouchers.
What advice would you give to parents on raising financially responsible teens?
Most times, kids might not need money but the parent isn’t available to spend time with them or discuss things with them. They just give them money instead to go spend with their friends. But, the teens might use the money to buy drugs, alcohol etc. My advice, parents, spend more time with your kids, not only to discuss about money, but discuss issues as friends e.g prevention from alcohol and drug abuse, the value of money etc.
What do you think is the difference between the teens of today and the teens of 10 years ago?
There are definitely generational changes. The life of today is more materialistic than it was in the past. The differences in the asks from the teenagers now compared to past generations where there were no mobile phones, going for matches that need to be paid for etc. As a result of globalisation, they want things in other countries that aren’t available here. E.g. online shops. But it is a good thing because teens are spending more time online, doing research and becoming more informed. This is good as it makes a teen more broad minded.