I can only envision the reader who is preparing to read this article, asking what? How could parents do this?
It actually happens in many families though some do not realize or had not planned to spend money in this manner. You have heard parents say, I want to give my child everything that I did not have as a child or I want to ensure that everything that my child needs is at his fingertips. Noted just this past week in a widely distributed local newspaper, one parent told the story of his child who wants to live as a princess and he says that he will go to the end of the earth to ensure that she gets what she wants.
It is hoped that when you have read this article, should you see “yourself” in it, you will begin to think of alternatives ways to support and love your children. Children really want your presence and not only your money. When they grow older, it is amazing what they will tell you about their childhood. It will not be the expensive IPhone or computer that you had purchased but little things such as taking time to listen without negatively criticizing a low grade that was obtained in a course. Allowing them to go with friends to the park to ride their bicycles, though it was not your first choice but saw this as developing friendship and a trusting relationship.
My daughter is now an adult and I was so surprised when we were having a recent discussion about the challenges that some children faced in school on a daily basis; she responded “Mom you care so much about children, you remind me of the time when the teacher wanted me to go into a special class for challenging learners and you came to meet with her to explain that children learn in different ways. I was never more proud of you than when you took the time to go with me to meet this teacher and made her understand that I was smart”.
Now what about the parents who say I have given my child everything and this is what I get… meaning a negative outcome! A recent cartoon in the daily paper said it so correctly from the child to the parent who gave him everything: “What do you mean that I have no social skills? I am on all social media, Instagram, Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter and I own an IPhone”.
Here are a few tips on how to manage your children and money in an effective and loving manner while spending time with them:
- When giving money to your children, ensure there is a discussion, a goal and responsibility for spending that money or you are setting them up to fail.
- When children ask for money, explore why it is needed especially when a weekly or monthly allowance is given to your child. Sometimes this is a want and could wait for a birthday or a special holiday.
- Giving your older child a credit card is not a bad idea if you take the time to talk about expenditures and place a limit on the card.
- Take the opportunity to discuss money with your children and not necessarily when they request money. Talk about their allowance and how this can be used for such things as saving a percentage for special items.
- Assist them in creating jobs to do around the house so that they can increase their allowance.
- Assist with opening a bank account and discuss how savings can add to future purchases.
- Model good spending habits such as refraining from impulsive buying. Your children will model your behaviour especially when they are being pressured by their peers to “keep up with the Joneses”.
- Be reminded that children take some of their spending cues from media advertising. Talk with them about unrealistic expectations of buying items that are advertised.
You can really spend money on your children and spend lots of time with them. Ensure there is a balance.
Norma Nicholson, RN BA MA (Ed)
Author, educator, public speaker and youth expert