Money Matters and Money Talks: German Children’s Experiences with and Perspectives on Their Own Money
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The following thesis rectifies the often assumed notion that children are economic innocents and portrays the full complexity of children’s economic lives. It traces the experiences of 17 German 6 to 8 year old children with their own money and explores their perspectives on their money relations. Empirical data is derived from semi-structured individual interviews and focus-group discussions with children, children’s drawings as well as semi-structured interviews with the parents of these children. Through the theoretical lens of economic sociology, childhood studies and sibling research the thesis discusses the emotional and social value German children ascribe to their own money, the diverse economic activities and practices they are engaged in and their evaluations thereof, the degrees of and attitudes toward their decision-making power and the social role of money in the relationship between siblings. The thesis may give new impetus to policymakers, parents and other stakeholders to utilize the research findings for the design of educational programs to intercept juvenile indebtedness. Further and most importantly, it urges them to listen more carefully to children’s accounts of what appears to be "trivial" activities for adults but serious and vital for children.