Should I give my child a credit card?

By Randell Tiongson on September 15th, 2009

Many parents are thinking about giving their children credit cards either as an extension of their credit cards or arranging for a bank to give them one with their guarantee.  Is this a good idea? Well, not really.

Parents often think that by giving their children credit cards, they can help them become financially responsible… uhmmm, I don’t think so!

Having credit cards are often associated as a passage into adulthood, like a driver’s license, drinking alcohol legally, watching an R rated movie, etc. Sadly, none of them are in anyway related to adulthood. Credit cards, without the discipline is potentially dangerous. By giving your child a credit card, you are exposing your child into the temptation of spending money he does not have. As parents, we do not give our teenaged children alcohol so that he will learn how to control his liquor… that’s really dumb. Many ‘macho’ fathers feel that if they teach their children to drink alcohol early, their children will not feel deprived and will not go on a drinking spree. Toink! Parents who expose their children to alcohol end up having a liking to alcohol at a very early age. I should know, I was one of them. A father who introduces pornography to his teenager is a guarantee that his son will have a pornography addiction. To think that many fathers do that makes me wonder.

I believe that getting your teenager a credit card is teaching him to be financially irresponsible. Dave Ramsey (my favorite Personal Finance Coach) says “By giving a teenager a credit card, the parent, the one with supposed credibility, introduces a financially harmful substance and endorses its use, which is dumb but unfortunately normal in today’s families.” Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

Some parents will claim that credit cards are just for their child’s ‘emergencies’. Here’s a thought: with a credit card, they will define many things as an emergency (shopping, trips, parties, etc.). An ATM card now doubles as a debit card with the same convenience as a credit card – without the danger of getting into debt.

We all know that credit cards are dangerous. Exposing young people to a potentially dangerous thing is very unwise.  Instead of giving our kids a credit card, why don’t we teach them about budgeting and the power of delayed gratification?  If we really want our teenagers become financially responsible, let us spend ample time in educating them about the intricacies of personal finance. Let’s teach them about the value of savings and introduce them to the idea of investing.

Here’s a better idea, introduce the principles of biblical finance to your children – then, and only then can you assure that your kids will be very responsible adults, financially and in all the facets of their lives. “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (Deuteronomy 4:9, NIV).

Tired of money seminars that promises prosperity but fails to deliver practical, sensible and real financial knowledge? Attend a real money seminar, the No Nonsense Seminar on Finance on Sept. 25 at the Victory Center, Upper Level, Promenade, Greenhills. This is a program presented by the Registered Financial Planner Institute and V Cargo.

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9 thoughts on “Should I give my child a credit card?”

  • Hi Randell, this is Marites ” Tess” Dimacuclangan, I totally agree with you on not giving your kids credit cards. I recall my kids when they were still in the elementary grades whenever my husband gives them extra money other than for their “baon” he would require them to account for where the money were spent for- especially when they ask for a bigger budget during school fairs- talagang ililista yan. So since then my children had been very conscious of their spending. Up to now when they are already working, naku very tight sila sa pera. Its a good thing they learned this from my husband, who is also a CPA like me, ako naman kasi am a Bisaya and medyo sabihin mo na the spendy type. But I also learned from my husband- matoto mamaluktot habang maiksi ang kumot- Godbless!

  • I firmly believe it is better not to give the child credit card … it will just encourage him to spend. the best is to teach the child planning his expenses and saving his money

  • Children with credit cards? No way, period. Only those who have the capacity to earn and pay may have credit cards. But then again, even those who have the capacity to earn and pay get into trouble with their credit cards. In the wrong hands, credit cards may be the root of all evil.

  • so true…i remember dad gave me 2 credit cards on my 1st year in college. And i agree that its not a very wise idea because it contradicts the whole concept of STEWARDSHIP. At that time it seemed cool but looking back it was more of a disadvantage than an advantage.

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Should I give my child a credit card?