I don't think children are given excessive amounts of money. As a mother of a teenage boy I'm often amazed that some parents don't seem to give their children enough money for the activities they are doing. You need to be realistic about what things cost and if you don't give them enough you have to worry about how they are paying for things. My 11-year-old daughter is much less interested in cash. Having a puppy is far more attractive. She doesn't get pocket money as such, but I'll give her some money if I think she needs it. My own mother made a great effort not to spoil me, which has encouraged me to indulge them a bit more. Parents need to strike a sensible balance. I wouldn't buy my son a sports car, but then I'm hardly in Ivana Trump's league.
I think children today do get too much. I've taught children up to the age of nine in both state and independent schools and many of them have problems understanding the value of money. Money to buy things seems to come straight out of mum or dad's pocket, so they don't realise that one game costs more than another. In one "show and tell" class I used to teach they would bring in their latest toy to show off and I finally had to explain that they were meant to bring in something they had found. Children should be given their own money, probably as little as possible, and should be shown how to use it. They need to learn whether to spend it in one go or to save it. In all my teaching years I don't think I've heard a child say "I'm saving up for something special".
DR RICHARD WOOLFSON
Children have a higher disposable income today, but that's due to the changes in society rather than over-indulgent parents. Society as whole has become more affluent and so children have more to spend. The amount of money they get isn't as important as encouraging them to use it properly. Children will always complain that so-and-so gets more than they do. So parents need to balance the amount they give according to their lifestyle, work out how much the child really needs. The figure should force a child into having to make decisions about what to spend it on or how much to save. It teaches them responsibility and self-control. There will always be some children who seem to get everything they want, but things have always been that way.
Unemployed single mum
Far too many children are being given what they want today. They sit down with the Argos catalogue and make lists of what they want. It's partly due to peer pressure. When one friend has the latest toy, they all want it. But they're also bombarded with advertising. I've tried giving my daughter, who's nine, pocket money, but it doesn't really work. What can she buy with a couple of pounds? She has got a lot more demanding in the past year. A friend of hers has divorced parents and gets given anything she wants by her father, who is away a lot. I'm divorced myself, so I know there's a temptation to shower the children with gifts when you split up. I'd like to give my kids everything, but I want to teach them the value of money too.
I don't get too much money. I'd like more, but I don't need it. I get pounds 2 pocket money a week plus Match magazine. My friends get a little more or less. I spend mine on sweets and other small things or save some up to buy football stuff. If I got more money I'd probably save it to buy an Arsenal shirt. Some people keep their pocket money and think about what to buy with it. There's one boy in my class who has saved loads. If I have saved a lot I sometimes buy a computer game. The last one I bought was Premier Manager 99. It cost pounds 19.99, but that's not a lot compared with other games and it will last me a year. I try to keep at least pounds 15 from my birthday money saved. If a friend comes round to play I might ask for an extra pound to buy him some sweets.Reuse content