One of the more important skills you can pass on to your kids is helping them understand the concept of money. Giving them control over money and giving them freedom to choose will also build sense esteem and sense of self.
I grew up in a home where there was always money. My dad had a good job and made lots of money… our family car was a Mercedes. My mom wore designer clothes and my dad’s suits were custom made . Our homes were filled with Swedish furniture and my parents threw lavish dinner parties every weekend.
My dad declared bankruptcy when I was 16. My parents divorced. I got my first credit card at 18 and had it wracked in 3 months. I took out I started dealing with collection agencies before I was twenty. I got one of my first personal loans at 20 to pay off my debts and I vowed then to get a grip on my money situation. I struggled until my mid-30’s.
I think my upbringing was partly to blame. Never saying no to yourself- looking to THINGS to fill a void and feel better about yourself Never saving… for anything and buying whatever you wanted regardless if money was there- or not.
One of the most dangerous tings I think you do with money is tie emotion to it. Make some one feel guilty or better buy “buying” stuff. Or telling a child if they are “good” you will get them a new toy.. or video game or whatever.
I buy my kids what they want if we have the money. I don;t place a judgment value on things. A book has the same value to them as a teen magazine or video game or Webkin.
I also give my daughter a generous allowance. She can buy whatever she wants with it. If she wants to buy a case of chocolate bars at Costco.. fine. ( judging what food are “good” or “bad” is another post :-) ) I don;t make her save it if she doesn’t want to- and I don’t “force” her to give it to charity if she doesn’t feel like it.
We also talk about play value and I HELP her decide. It would be cruel to just watch her do something she may regret and then watch her flounder. I know my daughter and we talk about buying toys/things with a good intrinsic value. She has bought a Polly Pocket that she saved for for 3 weeks.. played with it for 3 days… and forgets about it… She has bought things she later regretted- and that is a good lesson. We can talk about purchases and i can HELP her decide- but I don’t ban anything. I have also lent her money to buy something she wanted NOW and then held her to paying me back.. so no extras for three weeks and that has been a good lesson too. I have also told her to forget the loan as well.. just because I can and I feel like it or I see her struggle and it makes no sense to drag the “lesson” out anymore.
I am trying to give her sense of money and what it can do. I also want her have CONTROL or at least feel like she has some control over her choices and choice. Learning that control at 9 years old with a 10.00 a week allowance is much better than learning it at 24 when she can’t pay pay off her credit card.
I also strongly believe their is a link between drug use, promiscuity and eating disorders among girls/women who feel like they have no control or choice in their lives. Giving them money an not judging what they do with it is a small part of letting them assert control over their own lives. It is an essential life skills they need to thrive.