This is One Teen Milestone We Really Loved

This post is made possible with support from the Center for Parent and Teen Communication, part of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. All opinions are my own.

With four kids in our family, we’ve discovered that some are savers and others, spenders — and the tendency starts very, very young. For the most part, the kids who typically saved their allowance and birthday money have grown up to be savers. And those who spent as small children… continue to spend now that they’re older.

For a while, it looked like our youngest was going to be one of our spenders. If he had even a dollar, he’d find something — anything — to buy with it, as soon as possible. This all changed, though, when he set his sights on an expensive gaming computer. It was well outside the range of our holiday or birthday budget, and the only hope he had of getting it was to save for a long, long time. To our surprise, for the first time ever, he did just that. For most of his thirteenth year, he saved all his birthday and holiday money, took over the weekly housework, and did dozens of odd jobs until, many months later, he had enough to buy the computer. And on the day that computer finally arrived, it was glorious. For all of us.

We got to watch our son discover the joy and pride that comes with delayed gratification. My husband and I were bowled over by his dedication and persistence. Months later, the experience has changed my son permanently. He now regularly saves up for bigger ticket items, he’s planning on applying for a job soon, and he’s studying up on investing in the stock market. Our spender has turned into a saver and learned that good things come to those who are willing to work hard — and to wait. It’s a lesson that will benefit him throughout his life.

Learning to delay an immediate want is an important teenage milestone, and it’s one the Center for Parent & Teen Communication has covered on its helpful website, which provides science-based strategies to support healthy family relationships. You can sign up for the CPTC’s 100-word, daily parenting tip newsletter for helpful parenting inspiration and advice. Their tips really do make a difference, and yes, I speak from experience.

Of course, there are many more teenage milestones worth watching for and celebrating when they happen — You can read about them on the CPTC website. Check them out and tell me which ones you’ve seen in your own teens. I’d love to hear from you.

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This is One Teen Milestone We Really Loved