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Kids, Allowances and Loans

By Jodie Lynn


What is the best way to teach my 12-year-old son more responsibility regarding his money? Once he spends it all, he asks me for a loan. Should I do this a limited amount of times and should I charge him interest? How do I get him to understand that the real world doesn't always work this way?


Kids need to learn how to be more responsible with their allowances. In our family, once it is gone, they are done spending unless it is an emergency situation. Paying it back is a must unless it is something their dad and I would have covered anyway. Our children are younger though, seven and nine, and also may not want or need as much as your 12-year-old son. - Jenny James in Chicago, IL


There are various things that need to be considered before deciding to give your nearly-teenage son a loan. For example, the frequency with which he asks for one, the amount asked for and the things it is spent on. Is it mostly for big-ticket purchases that his allowance just doesn't cover or is it for things he doesn't really need but only wants because he saw a commercial or one of his friends enjoying it? Maybe keep up with the items he is buying as well as the price. Teach him how to be a more savvy shopper and not to just buy things on a whim but to wait for a sale. If he is trying to save up for a new bike or something else you'd sincerely like him to have, make arrangements with him to withhold a part of his money each time to be saved for the item. As to the question about charging him interest, it all boils down to whether or not he actually pays it back and how soon after the loan the repayment takes place. In reality, there are several ways to settle up with you. It could be in doing extra chores, bartering for work on the computer, babysitting younger siblings, etc. Keep in mind that your son is at an age where just about everything costs more. If you feel he is making wise choices where he is spending it, perhaps it's time for you to increase his responsibilities and raise the amount of his allowance, if possible, so that he can have a little more leeway with his monetary resources.

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© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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