Money Talks, So Should You

50-Plus Finance: Why kids need to work

David Leto
by David Leto , Dimespring 30 (@50PlusFinance)

One of our duties as parents is to instill a good work ethic in our kids. But how? In my house both, mom and dad go to work every day to their full-time jobs. You would think teaching by example should be enough, but in this world it doesn't even come close; some kids are perfectly happy to see others do the work.

That’s why a job outside the home, at an early age, is the best way to teach responsibility.

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Each family can determine if the child is physically and emotionally ready to go to a job. In my family, we have found that around the time they get their driving permit, they’re ready for a real-world job.

At that point, they’re mature enough and are self motivated because they need money for their own life. Plus, you can bribe them by letting them practice their driving on the way to work.

It's around this time that kids also want to have their own cell phones. We were firm in stating that our kids would be paying their own cell phone bill  otherwise they wouldn't have one. This makes the job more of a necessity in their minds.

Though not a lot, the amount of money they made was enough to pay the cell phone and give them some money in their pocket. We also taught the kids to plan for things they would need in the future by putting money aside.

Having a job doesn’t just give kids a little disposable income; it teaches them valuable lessons about work ethic and managing money.

Everything about work is a lesson in life:

  1. Work = money
  2. Being somewhere on time is a skill that will be used the rest of your life.
  3. You will always have an authority figure over you in some form or another.
  4. Rely on yourself for what you want.
  5. Success only comes after many years of work.

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In spite of these positive life lessons, not all of our children responded well to having to work outside the home. Some embraced it and learned to work hard, but some never got on board. The disgruntled children had to be led kicking and screaming down the road to work, but they were led nonetheless.

Parents’ responsibility to teach their children is a never-ending job, and it takes resolve to keep trying. Kids have a great ability to resist what is good for them. Taking charge and being the parent will someday bear fruit, but be prepared to see some trees bear more fruit and some only a little. 

David Leto writes about family, finances, and retirement planning for the 50-plus person. David is a member of the Dimespring 30, a community of bloggers sharing their thoughts, experiences and attitudes on personal finance.