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Obama Girls May Take Babysitting Jobs

In an effort to teach their daughters about personal financial responsibility, the First Family are adopting many of the strategies we’re familiar with in any middle American household.

Sasha and Malia get an allowance. They have their own savings accounts. And their dad has suggested they may be old enough soon to pick some extra money babysitting.

Salon wonders if they’re too young. I wonder if babysitting is really the right first job for the First Daughters. Should these kids be concerned about earning money at all?

I love the way the Obamas are working so hard to protect their childrens’ childhoods. They’ve done a lot to keep things normal for two girls growing up under the intense gaze of the world. And being a babysitter or a mother’s helper is certainly a time-honored way to earn your first paychecks.

But maybe the Obama girls have better things to do? Homework, enrichment programs, volunteering for causes? I babysat a lot as a young teen, partly because I loved children and partly because I needed to supply my own pocket money. Not just for candy and movie outings with friends, but for clothes and books and other small necessities.

I assume Sasha and Malia’s parents can well afford those things for their children. While earning your own money certainly teaches fiscal responsibility, I tend to think teenagers energy is better spent on pursuing their dreams: performing in theater, working on environmental causes, playing sports.

Adolescence is a unique chance to set a course for life. Not that you’ll stay on the straight path you start on. But the more you experiment with your interests and dreams as a kid, the more clarity you’ll have about what you want when it comes time to set off on your own.

I’m all about teaching my kids financial responsibility, but I also want them to focus on things other than earning money while they’re under my roof. They’ll have plenty of time for dollars and cents later.

Photo: MaterialBoy

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