No matter how much pocket money you give your child, they’ll always tell you their friends get more.
Which, it turns out, may actually be true.
Recent research has found that while children get an average of £31.64 pocket money per month (just over £7 a week), some generous parents then spend another £108.22 per child per month on ‘extras’, such as mobile phone credit, make-up, music downloads, sports clubs and extra-curricular lessons.
The research by the Nationwide Building Society found that the extras mean some children are getting 342 per cent more cash on top of their monthly pocket money.
Older parents aged from 35 to 44 are much less generous than their younger counterparts. Mums and dads aged 25-34 are likely to spend an extra £21.72 on pocket money a month compared with older parents, and when extras are factored in, this difference rises to £67.14.
Psychologist Dr David Lewis, author of How to Be a Gifted Parent, said: “The main reason for this apparent generosity gap between younger and older parents is most likely to be the differences in their own childhood experiences and expectations.
“Those aged 35 and over had mums and dads whose own parents grew up during the years of post-World War Two austerity, when children were raised with much greater awareness of the value of money.”
He suggests that younger parents, closer in age to their children, may have a better understanding of the social and cultural pressures kids experience nowadays, and may also be more concerned about appearing to be a ‘friend’ to their children.
“It’s not that older parents are less generous than younger ones,” he points out, “but merely that their own childhood expectations of what the bank of mum and dad should provide are different.
“Often with age and maturity comes greater confidence in your own parenting skills, and less willingness to be taken on a guilt trip by demanding youngsters – they recognise that there’s a world of difference between being a good parent and an easy touch.”
Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of the Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg), said: “The good news is that, in many ways, the amount you give really isn’t that important – the key is to use pocket money as a tool for financial education, rather than giving it for its own sake.”
She suggests a good way of teaching children the value of money is to link an allowance to completed chores.
But she stresses: “If you do this, it’s important to be consistent – so if a chore goes unfinished or isn’t done properly, I’m afraid they shouldn’t get the whole amount.”