CHILDREN are handing back their pocket money and asking for more modest birthday and Christmas presents to spare parents during the economic downturn.
Far from being a generation looking for a free handout, youngsters today are increasingly aware of the need to be responsible when it comes to money, according to a report by Asda.
Many are taking matters into their own hands. Almost half earn their pocket money by doing chores, and a quarter of 12 to 18-year-olds already have a part-time job, the report found.
One in five in the same age group has even offered to give some of their pocket money back to their parents, and over a third have asked for fewer or cheaper presents.
More children also have entrepreneurial ambitions, according to the results of a survey of 5,500 mothers and 500 children.
A quarter of eight to 18-year-olds want to start their own business, and name people such as Sir Richard Branson, Lord Sugar and David Beckham among their role models.
Parents also believe that the recession has made their children more financially savvy and responsible.
Two thirds of mothers of youngsters between 12 and 18 say their children are aware that the family is having to watch the pennies, while half believe they are more aware of money and its value.
But parents want schools to play a bigger part in teaching their children about finance and budgeting.
Three quarters of mothers say these are the most important skills children need to lead happy and successful lives, but only 20 per cent of mothers feel schools are currently fulfilling this role, and only 31 per cent trust them to do so.
Hayley Tatum, executive people director at Asda, said: “The economic downturn has created significant challenges for the younger generation, particularly in terms of employment prospects, so it’s good to see that the recession has had some positive outcomes.
“A quarter of kids we spoke to said they have ambitions to set up their own business, citing Lord Sugar, David Beckham and Sir Richard Branson as role models.
“While these are great role models for young people, it is disappointing to see the lack of women in this list.”
Sir Richard said: “Natural entrepreneurial spirit should be encouraged, celebrated and supported.
“By giving the younger generation opportunities to stand on their own two feet through schemes like Start-Up Loans, which helps young people set up businesses, they will flourish and create the jobs of tomorrow.”
Tracey Bleakley, from charity Personal Finance Education Group, said: “It is crucial that we give all young people the skills they need to manage their money.
“After years of campaigning, financial education finally looks set to be taught in secondary schools through the new National Curriculum [in England].”