|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.
Using the power of your words to create your experiences can be very satisfying and stress relieving. More than just positive thinking, denials and affirmations are a dynamic duo in managing our perceptions and feelings toward achieving satisfaction in relationships, work and other areas. They are based on the truth that the universe is supporting us and that love prevails in assuring us our good because this is the Divine Will for our lives. They create what Jesus called “the Kingdom of God within you”. If we think about what would the evidence be that Good prevailed, that is what Jesus meant. Harmonious relationships, happiness, fulfillment, peace, love, wisdom, kindness. We can create these through the power of our heart-mind-words.
Basically as I have practiced this technique,
As a young girl, I heard relentless anxiety and fear about my weight and what I was eating. If I was a good weight in my mom’s view, I had to worry about not gaining. If I was overweight in her view…well, you know, it was a shame because I had such a pretty face. This was discussed while we were being served her cake which she would be upset if we didn’t eat it while she worried if it was good enough. Unfortunately 12 step recovery programs were not around then and she did not realize she was an obsessive/compulsive. Today, this attitude is more likely to be reflected in the women’s magazines with diets on one page followed by cake recipes on the next. The same self-hatred is still there, however. Fix it with a diet or surgery or a pill or a 3 marathons a month or…
As an educational counselor, my take is that we project our anxieties and fears for our young one’s health in negative ways. If we have concerns about the hysterical tragedy of weight gain, we will worry about our daughter’s. I remember the natural signs of puberty – breast and hip developments – as signs I was getting fat. But the reality was that my body was not finished growing. To interfere with the process at this stage disrupts the natural metabolic process. I shot up before eighth grade and was not overweight, but the constant messages about being overweight left me with low self esteem, shame and thinking I was overweight when I wasn’t. So I would seek comfort in carbs.
I think a more promising approach for us is to replace concerns about our daughters’ eating with other emphasis. The real damage is what messages she is getting about her body and her worth, and she will face a constant onslaught from media and some peers about needing to being different than she is. So the best thing is for us to continue to build self acceptance and teach ways to process feelings and be ok. Books and other programs, even positive girls clubs, are doing a better job of this now.
If she is mindlessly crunching unhealthy foods while on TV or computer for extended times, we can make those things happen away from food settings like the kitchen table. We never snacked when I was young but now snacking is routine for everyone. Synthetic foods leave a person unsatisfied, thus crunching more or mindlessly. There are more books out there on mindful eating, yoga, etc. even for young children that I think shift the emphasis to being in touch with our insides and bodies in a healthier way. Introducing them to these or participating with them in these activities set a positive and emotionally warm and satisfying way to connect and reinforce a good connection with themselves. One idea is to put entertaining movement or yoga DVDs on the computer or TV and do them with her, especially the ones featuring kids. I consult the Mighty Girls book lists as well for reinforcing books for girls of any age.
I would not be too concerned if a young girl snacks a little but if it goes into prolonged mindless eating, that would indicate a need to get up from the TV or computer and move, do something else for awhile. Movement is a good alternative emphasis I think. I did not learn to move as a young person. About the only thing I did was ride my bike which I did enjoy. But as an introverted reader, I did lay on the couch and read a lot. Back then we didn’t eat while reading or watching TV. We did crafts or something else with our hands. Of course we didn’t want to soil a book either as it was usually a library book. I think avoiding getting the keyboard of the computer dirty is another way to avoid allowing eating while playing video games, etc. It’s the mindlessness or the avoidance of one’s feelings or mood alteration that is what can be addressed rather than what she is eating, how much, be careful, don’t do that, you don’t want to gain weight, etc. We don’t need to focus on the symptom: food, eating, weight. That sends a shame message that is likely to be eaten over, or worse.
If your woman-to-be likes healthy foods, all the better. Meanwhile, deal with our own issues. Give her body time to develop and see what happens when she is older. Of course we don’t want our daughters, nieces, or others we care for to go through our inherited pain but we can access more support for them now than we had. Meanwhile keep building her emotional foundation and it will be there for her when she needs it and, if she knows what to do with feelings, she’s more likely not to need the overeating.