Should a child learn about the real world so young?
Single mom Essence Evans has caused an uproar with a single Facebook post. In the now-deleted post, she explained that she is already working to teach her daughter about how expensive living can be. In her Jan. 14 post, she explained that she makes her five-year-old daughter pay five dollars of rent and utilities out of her seven weekly dollar allowance.
“I explained to her that in the real world most people spend most of their paycheck on bills with little to spend on themselves. So I make her give me $5 dollars back. $1 for rent, $1 for water, $1 for electricity, $1 for cable, and $1 for food. The other $2 she gets to save or do what she wants with,” the mother explained.
Pay Up, Kid
Essence continued to explain that she doesn’t just take the $5 back, she’s putting it into a savings account that the girl will get when she turns 18. “So if she decides to move out on her own she will have $3,380 to start off. This strategy not only prepares your child for the real world,” she said.
Parents were both appreciative and shocked by Essence’s way of parenting that they shared her post hundreds of thousands of times. Many parents praised her for helping to prepare her child for the real world.
“To teach a child independence and the value of money and hard work is the best gift a parent can give to their child, especially in this day and age of the spoiled, entitled generation,” user Johnna Esper said. “Don’t listen to the haters and the clueless. Your daughter will have a good life because you gave her a solid foundation to build from.”
Others were quick to chastise her for making her child worry about finances way sooner than she should. “Wow, what a moron. Let your kid be a kid and enjoy their youth before they have to spend the rest of their life worry about bills,” user Tia Kaulana wrote. “I wouldn’t share this story with anybody because you’re a horrible parent.”
Within 24 hours of her post going viral, Essence’s Facebook page was shut down due to people reporting her page for being fake. Essence’s page was reinstated, and she took to Facebook Live to say that she was the one who wrote the post and that she would never shut down her page just because some people were disagreeing with what she said.
While some parents were outraged by what Essence does with her child’s allowance, there is some indisputable value to her lesson according to research done decades ago.
In the 1960s, Stanford professor Walter Mischel conducted a study with hundreds of four and five-year-olds to determine if a certain trait would make them more likely to succeed in life.
He would give a child a marshmallow and say that if they didn’t eat the marshmallow while the researcher stepped out of the room, the child would be given a second marshmallow. They would get nothing if they ate the marshmallow they already had. The child had to determine whether they wanted to eat one marshmallow now, or save the marshmallow in order to receive another one.
During the 15 minutes that they were alone in the room, some ate the marshmallow immediately, some waited a few minutes and ate it, and others did not eat it.
Later in life, the children were studied again and again for over 40 years. Those who didn’t eat the marshmallow and delayed their gratification to receive a larger payoff had higher SAT scores, were less likely to abuse drugs, were not likely to be overweight, had better quality relationships with people, and plenty more benefits. The children who couldn’t delay their gratification were less likely to succeed in all of those areas of life.
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