Money is always a sensitive subject especially with Kids. As parents we work very hard to give our kids the life we think they deserve. As the father of a 2 year old, Money is one subject I need to teach her to make sure she can take care of herself in this fast paced world.
I have already written a couple of articles about Children & Money – more on the “Dos” or the things we must do. We haven’t touched upon the “Don’ts” so here we go…
1. We Cannot Afford to Buy That
Imagine this, you are in a super-market or a Mall and are shopping for stuff. Your kid sees some nice but Pricey toy which he/she likes and is adamant about wanting it. What do you do?
Some people say, Sorry, we cannot Afford it and try to reason with a kid. This may sound like a perfectly plausible discussion with a teenager but with a kid who isn’t even 10 years old? They may find it hard to understand why we are unable to afford a toy after seeing their parents buy many different items in the shops. You may argue that you just bought groceries and essentials for the home while a TOY isn’t an essential. Do you think a 6 or 7 year old understands that?
Don’t use the phrase “We cannot Afford it” in front of kids until they are at least in their teens. Alternately, try something like this “You have many toys already my dear. If you want more toys you are going to have to start saving for it. Let me get you a Piggy bank and put some money on your behalf. Every time you save some money, Daddy (or Mummy) will also contribute. Once you have saved enough we can come back and buy this toy for you…”
2. I spent a lot of money on this Gift of yours
Have you ever seen the most popular toys in your kids play room? Kids don’t worry or care about the price of a Toy or a gift. It’s the gift that matters, not its price tag. A child that loves cakes would love it irrespective of whether you got a $100 gourmet cake or got it from a nearby baker for $5 or just baked it home all by yourself. Of course the gourmet cake would probably look and taste the best but for a child a cake is a cake. They don’t related items with money unless and until we drum this thought onto their heads.
Putting a price tag on gifts can leave an indelible impression on your innocent little childs head. Don’t teach them the price of items, teach them the value of those very same items. Teach them that the value of a gift is not in the price tag, instead on the givers generosity and love.
3. Your Uncle or Aunty owes me XX Rupees
Talking about money especially in front of young children often might result in counterproductive results. Yes, you may be upset that your brother or sister or relative or someone has borrowed money from you and hasn’t returned it. If you make such statements in front of children, they will often result in them developing unwanted or uncomfortable feeling toward the person who owes you money. Yes, it is an admirable quality to be open & honest with your children and also teaching them about lending money to others but, that all must happen after they reach a certain age.
For a child an uncle or aunt shouldn’t be associated with money and we shouldn’t be responsible for them building ill-will toward their relatives or cousins.
4. Your Dad (or Mom) makes more money than I do (Or Only your Dad Makes Money)
Talking about who is the Main or Bigger breadwinner in the family especially to a young child might confuse the child. As a parent, you don’t need to explain why only daddy goes to work (for a home where mommy is a home maker) or in a dual income household, why one of you makes more money than the other. For a child they should understand that it’s a joint effort between both mom and dad.
5. I hate my Job. I go to work only for the Money
Granted, you may really hate your job and are dragging yourself to work just so you can provide for your family. Your child doesn’t need to know this. Talking about such things especially hatred toward your job or your boss might reflect negatively on a child and scare them about their future.
Keep your work stress & negativity off home and try to instil positive thoughts in your child’s mind.
Some last words:
Kids are extremely impressionable and smart these days. They pick up things at the drop of a hat and as parents our actions leave a lasting impression on their minds and their lives. It is up to us to Lead by Example and teach them the value of life and money.
If my daughter sees me lying or being a spend thrift and then I go about lecturing her about how important it is to be honest & truthful and to save money, do you think she would listen?
What do you think? Are there other Donts you want to add to this list?