|We can’t afford that.||We decided to….instead|
|I need that.(need gives the idea that we will hurt or lose out if we don’t have something)||It might be nice to have sometime but it wouldn’t add anything we value right now.|
|We don’t have the money.||That’s not a good value for the price.|
|I can’t pay my bills now so I sure don’t need to buy that.||This is not important enough to me to be in debt for.|
Answers to common concerns or requests of children:
|Everyone at school has one.||That’s interesting.|
|I won’t ask you for anything ever again if you get this.||I would miss talking to you.|
|I will pay you back.||I would not be comfortable having you feel you owe me.|
|I will save up my allowance.||Good. (the child usually goes on to something else before enough is saved)|
|I have $___ saved. Will you (give)(loan) me the rest.||This can be viable unless you see it becoming a habit. That is the desires are outstripping or coming faster than they can save up.*|
|Don’t you love me?(not worthy of a direct response) (money does not equal love)||What is it you hope this item will give you?|
|You don’t care.||Can you think of a time when you felt I cared?|
|Daddy (or Mommy) said I could have one.||Perhaps he (she) did but that is something we both need to agree on first.|
- Generally loans are a bad idea. If you cannot afford the amount as a gift, I recommend not giving it. Debts between parents and children do not make emotionally satisfying relationships.
Also, limit the exposure your children have to commercials and promotions aimed at children. With children’s movies and television programs being used to promote an endless stream of merchandise, the glut is growing. Children as young as 2 are being targeted, years before they have an ability to understand and evaluate such pressures.
Children shopping may also become overstimulated or tired. Rather than go through the trauma of going to mega stores where the aisles intrude upon children and adults as well, limit their exposure to smaller venues. Agree ahead of time what the goal of shopping is to counter the shopping for shopping sake. If needed, agree on what they will spend, and let them spend it. Do not supplement their spending if they do not have the price of the item.
Examine your own practices. Are you shopping unnecessarily and wondering why your children are focused on getting things? Are you routinely or frequently discussing the next purchase you want to make? Is shopping the biggest entertainment you do with your family? Is spending money the only way your family interacts?
Analyze what is being pressured the most. In an article by Janet Fowler November 2011 in Investopedia.com, there are five categories that seem to generate the most pressure: cigarettes, smartphones, alcohol, Apple products, and cars.
The American Association of CPAs surveyed couples and found money the top topic of conflict, according to an article May 4 2012 in The Huffington Post, specifically around unexpected expenses which may translate to impulse buying. This can become a double whammy issue if the impulse spending was a reaction to trying to satisfy children’s demands or if the couple plays “good parent/bad parent” where one parent spends unnecessarily on the child and the other one does not. Over half those surveyed do not set aside any time to discuss finances. Insufficient savings, deceitful financial behavior, aging, or when finances change were the other types of money conflicts.
Your child’s attitude and feelings about money and things are important for the impact it has on their behavior. Children who feel that money is more important than relationships or other people may decide to steal or otherwise gain those things they do not have a way to buy but think they should. Children are aware of the financial status of those around them, certainly, but the way they feel this impacts their self worth is in a large part about the messages their parents convey about the role of money and things in their worth. Before children are old enough to discuss the family finances with them, parents can bolster their children’ sense of security and worth with the simple words they use when discussing routine money transactions. Words of confidence and worth, not money, set a positive emotional foundation for your child in our consumer culture.
Focusing on creating memories, experiences, and activities are cost effective and can help your child tame the money monster. The best things in life really are free. My mother used to say your health is your wealth. We hear time is money. A friend with a chronic illness says if you have a problem than money can solve, you don’t really have a problem. All of these statements agree on one reality. Help your child identify the satisfying elements of life that have nothing to do with money and they will inherit self worth free of the money monster.