Now one of the most important parts of the education of both girls and boys, whether they are to inherit riches, or to enjoy a moderate income from the fruits of their own industry, or to spend their lives in extreme poverty, is to teach them the proper management and use of money. And this may be very effectually done by giving them a fixed and definite income to manage, and then throwing upon them the responsibility of the management of it, with such a degree of guidance, encouragement, and aid as a parent can easily render.
Objection to the Plan of a regular Allowance.
There are no parents among those who will be likely to read this book of resources so limited that they will not, from time to time, allow their children some amount of spending-money in a year. All that is necessary, therefore, is to appropriate to them this amount and pay it to them, or credit them with it, in a business-like and regular manner. It is true that by this system the children will soon begin to regard their monthly or weekly allowance as their due; and the parent will lose the pleasure, if it is any pleasure to him or her, of having the money which they give them regarded in each case as a present, and received with a sense of obligation. This is sometimes considered an objection to this plan. “When I furnish my children with money,” says the parent, “as a gratification, I wish to have the pleasure of giving it to them. Whereas, on this proposed plan of paying it to them regularly at stated intervals, they will come to consider each payment as simply the payment of a debt. I wish them to consider it as a gratuity on my part, so that it may awaken gratitude and renew their love for me.”
There is some seeming force in this objection, though it is true that the adoption of the plan of a systematic appropriation, as here recommended, does not prevent the making of presents of money, or of any thing else, to the children, whenever either parent desires to do so. Still the plan will not generally be adopted, except by parents in whose minds the laying of permanent foundations for their children’s welfare and happiness through life, by training them from their earliest years to habits of forecast and thrift, and the exercise of judgment and skill in the management of money, is entirely paramount to any petty sentimental gratification to themselves, while the children are young.
In case the parent—it may be either the father or the mother—decides to adopt the plan of appropriating systematically and regularly a certain sum to be at the disposal of the child, there are two modes by which the business may be transacted—one by paying over the money itself in the amounts and at the stated periods determined upon, and the other by opening an account with the child, and giving him credit from time to time for the amount due, charging on the other side the amounts which he draws.