We need to talk about Kevin….

In a recent blog post we stressed the importance of planned savings for children to help them build towards a brighter future. It is just as important to consider their welfare as they are growing up…

We live in the technological era, children and teenagers have more freedom and access to more information than we ever had. Given the type of unrestricted information available on the internet, is it any wonder so many teenagers go astray?

Teenage years can be a dangerous time. The internet exposes teenagers to the temptations of drugs and underage sex at a time when they are most impressionable. Rather than educate them on the risks, the internet has simply added to the lure of risky behavior. A survey by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found out just how much, and those that are most vulnerable.

The survey found that teenagers who are highly stressed, bored or have too much money to spend are twice as likely to succumb to the allures of tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs. What’s worse, the study assessed that more than half of 12 to 17 year olds fall into at least one of these categories!

If you have teenagers yourself, these findings might either sound alarming or not too surprising. After all, how many times have you heard teenagers complaining of being bored with nothing to do? Resolving the problem of teenagers having too much money is easy – put it into an inaccessible savings account! But dealing with boredom or stress may need a more radical solution.

Teenagers need more than financial planning

Do you have problems coping with the demands of teenage children?

The view of a judge who regularly deals with youth was this,  “ Always, we hear the cry from teenagers, “what can we do , where can we go?”

His answer was this – “You should go home, mow the lawn, wash the windows, learn to cook, get a job, build a raft, visit the sick, study your lessons and after you have finished read a book”.

“Your town does not owe you recreational facilities and your parents are not there to provide you with fun.”

“The world does not owe you a living, you owe the world something, such as your time, energy and  talent”

In other words, grow up, get out of your dream world and learn to develop a backbone rather than a wishbone. Start behaving like a responsible person. You are important and are needed. Don’t wait for somebody else to do something. Take the initiative and do something now!

I wonder though do these words apply only to teenagers or are they more universal, what are your thoughts?

Advising teenagers of how they can relieve their boredom is one thing. Seeing them actually take action is another matter. This is where parents need to help, parents should be sensitive to the stresses their teenagers are under; help them relieve their boredom; limit the amount of money they have to spend and, ultimately, be more engaged in their lives.

Part of being a teenager is learning how to behave like a responsible person. This is something they have to learn on their own; other people can’t organize their entire lives for them. But parents should be there to pull them back on the right path should they wander astray. Just like they need parental guidance to avoid the risks of drink, drugs and tobacco, they need you to spend an appropriate amount of time with them.

If you have no children of your own, consider offering support for others through voluntary work and helping an impressionable teenager choose the right path through life.

Alternatively you could consider sponsorship. I have sponsored Kathy from the Dominican Republic for over eight years now, she was living with grandparents who gave her the love and care she badly needed but had no money. Kathy had a medical problem and a dental health problem (her teeth were malformed). Sponsorship often means more than sending a few pounds a month for the child, you often have to provide more widespread financial support for the family.

Sponsorship was a big step for me, largely because for most of my life I had been fairly selfish, supporting Kathy has made me a better person. The financial cost is small in comparison to the benefit I have gained.

Kathy is now like a daughter to me. Being partly responsible for her upbringing has brought me tremendous joy and fulfillment. Nowadays I cannot imagine life without her.

Ray Best can help you protect your financial future. To find out more, simply click here!

About Ray L Best

Ray Best has had over 30 years experience of advising on complex financial matters. A published author of a number of books including “Partnership and Shareholder Protection”, Inheritance Tax Simplified”. We provide an initial meeting at no cost and only engage with clients when we can add significant value.

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