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Pocket Money – Pampering Children or Instilling Independence


Over the last seven years, the amount of pocket money given to children in India has shot up over 200% (according to the New Generation 2011 study by the Cartoon Network channel). The average monthly allowance given to children in the age group 7-14 is Rs. 280 and about 35% of children between the ages of four and six receive pocket money as well. It does appear that the idea of giving pocket money is gaining acceptance in India. But, do these numbers tell the whole story? ParentEdge decided to explore further.
 
We wanted to better understand what grandparents, parents and teenagers think about the concept of pocket money. Do parents advocate it, or are there still some reservations? Why do they want to give pocket money? Are there any generational differences? Do children believe that pocket money is important? We got some interesting perspectives on the topic. Read on to find out for yourself.
 


Pocket money, as the word suggests, was traditionally the money that you carried in your pocket (originally a small pouch that eventually became part of the garment) as opposed to the bulk of your money which you stored in a safe, a bank or buried underground! Today, the term is used to refer to the money given specifically to children or adolescents to use for their day-to-day expenses. In some families, children are expected to use their pocket money for necessities such as commuting, canteen food, etc. and in others it’s a supplementary allowance to spend on “extras.” Some children get a fixed allowance at regular intervals (weekly, or monthly, for example), and for some others, pocket money is merit-based income.


 

 

Grandparents’ Speak

 
Do you think pocket money should be given to children? Does it inculcate a sense of independence in children or does it ‘pamper’ them?

“Yes, it is absolutely necessary to give some pocket money to children nowadays. However, depending on the child, it could inculcate a sense of independence or it may have the effect of pampering them.”
 
“Parents can definitely give their child pocket money if she spends it in a proper manner. If the child spends it well, then it promotes independence. However if it’s not spent well, then it spoils and pampers the child. Hence, this depends on the child’s spending pattern, not on whether you give pocket money or not.”
 
“Pocket money can and should be given, provided that the parent has control over how and when it is given. It should be monitored. If this is not the case, then it will pamper the child and shouldn’t be given.”
 
What factors should be taken into account when deciding whether an allowance is right for your child?
 
“The needs of the child, for example, transport, some snacks, etc. It also depends on the child’s ability to deal with money and the attitude to money.”
 
“You cannot generalise. This changes from child to child and depends on how the child uses pocket money. For example, a child who needs pocket money for transportation will need more money, more often. They cannot always ask their parents, especially in emergencies.”
 
“This depends on what the child needs to spend the pocket money on. If the child needs to buy books, stationary, or something useful, then pocket money can be given. They can also help themselves and others using this money in emergencies and times of need. You can only hope that the child spends it well.”
 
Is there a certain age at which it is appropriate for a child to learn how to manage money on his own? What age is that?

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