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Helping children become responsible adults is an enormous task, but parents owe it to their children to teach them how to prepare for life on their own. This includes financial literacy, and unfortunately, some recent surveys show that teens are not learning the lessons they need in order to become financially savvy adults.

Capital One and ING DIRECT USA recently released a survey highlighting teens' lack of knowledge about credit. The survey polled 1,000 teens aged 12 to 17 and 558 parents of children 17 and under. The results found that only 17 percent of respondents said they knew a lot about managing money.

These teens also had problems understanding the different types of cards people use for paying for just about everything. Nearly one-quarter of those surveyed didn't know the difference between debit and credit cards, believing that using a debit card means you borrow the bank's money, rather than tap into your own account.

Unfortunately, the lack of knowledge about credit and debit cards isn't an isolated incident. These survey results are similar to what Charles Schwab found last year in its 2011 Teens & Money Survey, which polled 1,132 American teens between the ages of 16 and 18. This survey found that only one-third of 18-year-olds understood how credit card interest and fees worked. Just 39 percent understood how to manage credit cards.

The Charles Schwab 2011 survey is a follow-up to a survey on teens and money conducted in 2007. In the earlier survey, teens actually knew more about credit cards and how to manage them. In the case of understanding how to manage credit cards, the results in 2011 were a 25 percent decrease in knowledge reported by teens, compared to the 2007 study.

These surveys could be indicators of a greater trend showing that teens need more financial literacy and may need to start learning money management earlier. These lessons can start early, and they can start at home.

However, parents may not be prepared to teach their children about financial products, including savings, debit and credit cards. The Capital One/ING DIRECT survey found that parents are more able to talk to their children about drugs and alcohol than they are about financial matters, with 35 percent ready to talk about substance abuse compared to 26 percent prepared to talk about money.

Given the fact that just over half of teens pick up most of their financial knowledge at home, it's not surprising that the lack of conversation about money and credit has a direct effect on teens being prepared to manage their own financial lives. "A parent's role in setting a financial example for their children is critical," said Jim Kelly, head of Direct Bank, ING DIRECT USA, in a statement.

The Schwab study has some similar sobering results. Although 82 percent of teens said they've learned some basic information about money management from their parents and 77 percent said their parents are good role models for being fiscally smart. Still, the survey also found that what parents teach their teens doesn't necessarily translate into concepts teens understand, which means there's an opportunity for improvement.

"As parents, I think we can do a better job of not only communicating conceptual information, but also teaching practical money skills," said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, senior vice president of Schwab Community Services in a statement. "Sharing how much we ourselves spend on necessities such as groceries, gas and insurance, as well as on extras such as clothing and entertainment, can open kids' eyes to the real cost of living. Spending decisions also provide a great opportunity to talk to kids about credit--how it works and the importance of maintaining a good credit rating--as well as how to use important financial tools. These are all topics teens want to learn more about."