When is the right time to teach your children about money?
Growing up I knew that my mother didn’t have the money to pay for a lot of things. In fact, I grew up in a very “poor” area. Most of the people in my neighborhood were on welfare and food stamps were what we all used to pay for our groceries. When it came to my clothing, well, most of it was “hand-me-downs” from other family members and I barely ever had anything that was mine first. Yet, I was okay with that because I understood that the money had to go to food and paying bills like rent and electricity.
I was in the store the other day and there was a child that was around ten years old. The boy was throwing a fit because he wanted a video game. His mother told him a few times that she didn’t have the money for the game but the boy simply did not understand and got angry with his mother for saying no. This made me wonder whether or not she ever sat down with her son and talked to him about money.
As a divorced woman that gets child support I had to learn how to balance the money given to me to take care of my children. I know that the money given has to last two weeks before more money comes in so I have to be able to pay for the things that my children need during that time frame before I can even consider what they might want. And even then I have to be reasonable. I know that It just isn’t feasible to spend $60 on a brand new PS3 video game when they need lunch money for school. This is what made me sit down with them (or at least the older one) and really explain to her what money was all about. I explained to her that money doesn’t fall off trees. I talked to her about all the places the money needs to go and what it is used for. I also told her that once the money is spent it is gone forever!
I see so many children walking around in $200 pairs of sneakers and expensive clothing that I wouldn’t even buy for myself if I had the money and I wonder if these children truly understand it’s value. And what are parents teaching their children if they are allowing them to have such expensive items when they will either out-grow it or trash it in weeks? I know that even if I had the money I could never do that to my children. They will grow up understanding the value of money and working hard for it even if I were to win the lottery!
If I walk through the stores with my children my daughter may say she likes something and I may say “maybe for your birthday”. My son may ask for it but when I say “Sorry bud, mommy doesn’t have the money” he simply says “okay mommy”. I would love to give my children everything I never had but I also want them to grow up appreciating what they do have.
What’s your take on this? Do you think children should be taught about money?
Published in: Family