Face Off: Should parents keep their children’s lai see for them?

  • Each week, two of our readers debate a hot topic in a parliamentary-style debate that doesn’t necessarily reflect their personal viewpoint.
  • This week, they discuss whether parents should hold on to their kid's red packet money
Joanne Ma |

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Should parents hang on to kids' red packet money?

Angelina Wang, 17, Chinese International School

Every year, people around the world celebrate the arrival of the Lunar New Year with a variety of traditions. There’s no doubt that one of the customs young people enjoy the most is receiving lai see. However, the question as to whether parents should keep children’s red packet money is still up for debate.

I believe that parents should keep the money for their children so that they won’t grow up into adults who take money for granted. Young people should be taught that money is something to be earned, not something that is handed to them for free.

Keeping their lai see money will give them a more realistic idea of money from a young age. It will also teach them to be more grateful for what they have, and teach them to respect  the value of hard-earned money.

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Parents can keep their children’s money  and choose to give it to them at a later time, when they are older and are more responsible with their money. It would be even better for the children if the money was deposited into a bank so that it can accumulate some interest over the years.

The amount of money that is put into red packets has become increasingly exorbitant. There is no reason for children to have thousands of dollars at such a young age. As long as their parents have their best interests at heart, I think it is I good idea for them to keep their children’s lai see until they are more responsible adults.

Do you normally save or spend your lai see money?

Nicholas Ng, 16, South Island School

Many young people are, with Lunar New Year right around the corner, expecting to receive a plethora of lai see soon. Sadly, though, not all of them will get to keep the money inside them – their parents will.

I believe that when parents keep their lai see, children lose out on more than just money. Firstly, by taking away their children’s money, their parents are depriving them of a perfectly good opportunity to learn money management. 

It is so important for young people to know how to manage their money wisely and parents can teach them this, starting with teaching them how to manage their lai see. Parents can teach them how to save and not spend all their money at once, perhaps even introduce them to the world of banking. 

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If parents keep their children’s red packet money, their children’s self-esteem might also take a hit, because they might think that their parents can’t trust them with money. They may also lose their confidence in handling money when they are older because the concept will be unfamiliar to them.

Children will have to learn to handle money eventually when they are adults, so why not start early? Parents should look at the lai see tradition as something they can use to teach their kids about the value of money, and something that can help them grow into responsible adults.

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