Friday, July 10, 2020 19:07

Teens and Stuff

No new stuff, stewardship, parenting teens

Good News:  70% of teens say their parents had the greatest influence on their attitudes about money and spending habits.

Bad News:  Two-thirds say their parents didn’t teach them enough.

It’s good news because it just goes to prove what we all know.  Parents are the greatest influencers with their kids.  Greater than school teachers, greater than Sunday School and youth group leaders, and even greater than their peers. (Thank God!)

However, it’s sad that teens apparently want more help from their parents in the area of money and possessions and than they are getting.  (OK, maybe they’re lying to the researchers, but that’s what was reported.)

Here’s something else interesting.  Christine Roush, in Swimming Upstream, reports that children ages 8-17 average slightly more than a dozen trips to the mall each month and individually spend about $3,600 there each year. 

I was flabbergasted with that stat . . . and then I thought back to our daughters’ teenage years. Hmm.  I have actual photos of their rooms that prove they were not deprived of stuff. (And I plan to use them as evidence a few years from now when they start complaining about how their children “never clean their rooms.”)

Let me offer three points of encouragement to parents of teens who are drawn to STUFF like bees to honey.

The teacher always learns the most.  So you can teach your kids about the value of a dollar and how to live with less stuff.  You may feel that you don’t have it all together in this area and are therefore disqualified from teaching on the subject.  But don’t let that deter you.  Admit you aren’t perfect.  Confess your shortcomings.  (Your teen will happily point out your faults, in case you need some help.)  Keep it honest, and you can grow in this process together. 

Help is available like never before.  It is actually getting easier in some ways.  This generation of parents in America has more help available than any previous generation.  You don’t have to develop materials out of your own head.  One example: Go to Crown Financial Ministries and check out their resources.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  At least you should try.  The only complete failure is not trying at all.  Progress is made by process.

Some day you will look back and be glad for every scrap of knowledge and every hint of good habits your teen learned.  Here’s one practical reason why.  My wife likes to joke with our girls that “We will not live with you one day longer than you lived with us.”  And when that day comes, I’ll be grateful I at least tried to instill in them good biblical, financial principles.  It could mean a lot to my own comfort and wellbeing as well as theirs!

Day 19: NEW STUFF = 0

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© 2011, Linden Kirby, Excel Ministries, Inc.  All rights reserved. 

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