When older teens get involved in a team project where they live in modest or meager accommodations, they learn important lessons, such as getting along with others and living with less. This translates into greater life appreciation, especially for those of privilege.
Kids of all ages can be social entrepreneurs. Young children love to set up lemonade stands and create things to sell. Teens can fundraise (think car washes) or provide special services, such as dog walking, yard work, babysitting and tutoring—with proceeds from these efforts supporting favorite personal causes.
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Creating a start-up to benefit someone else can be the greatest reward you will ever get. Reaching out to peers to get involved will add to the excitement. Teens, and even preteens, can also attend summer programs that teach start-up social responsibility skills.
It's important not to feed into entitlement and to establish the difference between true needs and simple wants. For example, if your child asks for the newest iPhone, yet their current version works perfectly well, have them "earn the reward" by doing extra chores around the house or offering services to people in the community. It's a matter of delayed gratification. Think of being on a diet: If you want dessert but make yourself wait an hour, you will realize that you no longer want it.
—By Stacy Francis, special to CNBC.com. Francis is president and CEO of Francis Financial. Jill Tipograph, founder and CEO of summer programs and teen/college enrichment coaching firm Everything Summer, contributed to this report.