Teaching kids about life

March 4, 2013 7:12pm CST
My 2 older kids are 7 and 5. They used to ask for the things their friends have, like the latest toys and video games. The last year or so I have been showing them the bills I have to pay, the money which comes in, and how I raise a little money from selling our old things. They know now that its hard to survive without a job, and they only ask for things to go on their birthday or Christmas lists, they don't expect anything else during the year. If they want something badly, they will sort out some of their old toys for me to sell, in order to raise money for the things they want. They will also do household chores for a few pennies so they can save for things. Many of my friends think I am ruining their childhoods, but I believe teaching them about money now will help them as they grow up.
3 people like this
7 responses
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
7 Mar 13
I stand with you on this one. I don't think that you are ruining their childhood, I think that you are doing what every good parent would be doing. You are teaching them early that money doesn't grow on trees and that you have to learn to budget and prioritize in order to be able to get those things that you want and/or need. I've done this same thing with my children and I think it has taught them a beautiful lesson. Kudos to you Momma.
1 person likes this
• Jacksonville, Florida
5 Mar 13
I do not think you are ruining their childhood at all. I think you are teaching them an important lesson about life. I don't think anyone is too young to learn about money and how important it is to save. It is good to teach children responsibility also. If anything I think you are helping them by teaching them about it now instead of waiting until their older when it is harder to change bad habits...
• Jacksonville, Florida
5 Mar 13
You just reminded me of a discussion my sister and I had not too long ago. I feel she is making her children grow up too fast. They have to do so many things and they are young still! They are made to clean up after every mess they make after eating-even every crumb they drop on accident, they have to clean their rooms every day, they buckle and unbuckle themselves in vehicles, they dress themselves from head to toe, her daughter does her own hair every single day, they have harsh punishments when they do anything wrong like being grounded for a week or two at a time, etc... They are only 4 & 5 years old! I just think she is letting them grow up too fast for their ages and they speak like their 10 or 12 because their expected to do so much on their own! I do a lot for my kids because I WANT them to be kids! I want them to enjoy their childhood more. It goes so fast as it is in my opinion... My kids have some chores that they have to do but nothing extreme. I just don't want my kids to miss out on being kids...
@AidaLily (1450)
• United States
5 Mar 13
I have my four and now six year old clean up after their messes, clean their room and the living room of their toys if they are all over the plavce, and while I pick out their clothes they get dressed themselves. I check to make sure they are buckled up in the car, but they are able to buckle and unbuckle themselves. They can't open the door because we have the child locks on in the car and they can only be opened from the outside. They also don't get things if they don't clean up their messes like perhaps to go outside (if the weather is nice) or to watch TV and they only get maybe 5-10 minutes of time out as punishment. We do have fun though I prefer the fun to be educational in nature. I am kind of partial to what your sister is doing minus letting her daughter do her own hair so young. I wouldn't call it kids missing out on being kids as much teaching them responsibility. My kids are still kids and have fun like kids (pillow fights, fighting off imaginary monsters, etc.) but they are also learning they need to clean up after themselves, how to dress themselves, and more. I don't want them to grow up super dependent on me past a certain age because I wanted to let them off easy on learning their responsibilities. Certain things get harder the older people get, children included unless they are taught when they are younger. I am not saying you are wrong. No. Everyone raises their children differently. I am just stating, minus one or two of the things mentioned, I agree with your sister on that.
• Jacksonville, Florida
5 Mar 13
Her kids spend more time doing things their adult parents should be doing than having fun and playing... Too me, that is a problem and laziness from the parents. My kids clean up after themselves also BUT they spend MORE time playing than doing chores, her kids do the opposite! Her kids spend more time cleaning than they do playing and being kids... It is just not right in my opinion. Kids too me should not be buckling and unbuckling themselves in the vehicles either, that is so dangerous. What if they unbuckle while in the middle of driving? So unsafe! Yeah you tell them not to but what if it is too late? What if one time they do it and you happen to get in an accident before you notice that they unbuckled themselves? Scary thought to me! I would rather be safe than sorry! My kids know how to dress themselves as well, and they want to do that. They also like picking out their own clothes. I guess the difference is, my kids WANT to they are not FORCED to. That's the difference between my sister and my parenting...If my kids want more responsibility I have no problem with it but I do not force them to take on more than they can handle at their ages... My kids have chores and such too, but I don't go nuts if they forget-I simply remind them. I know their kids and they are not perfect. They have playing on their minds, not oh I forgot to do my chores. If her kids forget to do one chore they are grounded for a week!!! At 4 & 5 years old? That is too harsh in my opinion!
• United States
8 Mar 13
You are not ruining their childhood actually you are a great mom for teaching them the importance of money and how if they want something they need to work for it. Growing up I did household chores (of course I still had time to for my studied and time to be with my friends) and got an allowance. I never asked for anything unless it was my birthday or Christmas. I think it is great that you sell their old toys they no longer want because you are teaching them that there are people out there who do not have anything. I read an article where these two young girls ages 7 and 9 would ask people to bring gifts to their birthday parties so they can donate them to a local shelter that houses children. I think this is a wonderful idea and think that this shows children that there are people who do not have anything.
11 Mar 13
We used to put out a box of nearly new toys every year just before Christmas, as we live in quite a poor area and we have more than some families. But we didn't do this last year as somebody took the whole box, then dumped most of the toys in a mud puddle on the corner of the street. That one selfish person ruined it for everyone.
@WakeUpKitty (8706)
• Netherlands
5 Mar 13
I think you are raising your children in a great way! It's what I did with my children too. The eldest are 29, 28 and 22, my youngest 2 are 9 and 7 years old. They know we can't afford everything, they never make my life to a hell. My son never has wishes for his birthday and is happy with everything so are my daughters. They know how to save, to plan, to work upon their goal(s). I am sure they will never buy on credit, get in big financial problems because they know how it works. You need money before you can buy something. The great thing is they do not envy anyone with new stuff. It's even so people envy them because if they have what they want/like they are way more happy with it. They are not just collecting the newest stuff and don't feel the need to join the cattle so they fit into the group. BTW as long as you are honest, answer their questions they will appreciate it. My son lately said: you answer me, you tell me things other parents would not. We trust eachother and this is the biggest gift I get from them. Stick to your own way of raising since I truly believe you are doing a great job.
5 Mar 13
Thank you. Its reassuring to know you have grown up children who haven't suffered from this method. I like being open with my kids, my parents had a lot more money than I have so I sort of grew up in a bubble, but I want my kids to be ready for the real world and to appreciate all they have.
@kaka135 (14115)
• Malaysia
11 Mar 13
I don't stress the importance of money to my son, but since he was young, I always told him we only buy things we really need and we shouldn't waste. Hence, he doesn't require to buy any toys or anything, perhaps we didn't build the habit of spending money always. Also, we seldom go shopping, we only do necessary grocery shopping and we go and buy things only when necessary. I believe children learn from the parents. One important thing also being my son is still young, he is just 4 years old, and is not going to school, hence he doesn't have a chance to compare what he has among the friends. I think kids in school will share what they have, hence some children will tend to ask and wish they have one. I think it's good to teach the children to spend wisely, this is definitely not ruining the childhood. Childhood is not built by money.
@sid556 (31005)
• United States
5 Mar 13
That's awesome, Marianne. I was the same with my kids while raising them. They learned to be frugal and all about 2nd hand stores and making do with what we had. Those are life lessons that help them in the future. So many kids just get handed every little thing they want without having to earn it or do anything other than ask.
@jenny1015 (13389)
• Philippines
5 Mar 13
Hello, marianne! That is exactly how I raised my kids. I tell them that we do not have the money to spend on unimportant things. But if we do have some extra, I might reconsider. But sometimes, I fail coz I can see the hurt in my youngest son's eyes. My sister in law does not know the value of money. she doesn't work and solely depend on her husbands salary. I mean depending on her husband is fine, but showing her kids just how bad she is with money is making the kids grow up like her. She buys everyweek at ebay. I don't know how she manages that when she doesn't go anywhere except to the mall. Lots of bags, shoes and dresses all piling up in the house. And when we go to the mall, she keeps on buying these pocketbooks. And she still has about 6 feet high of books unread! To cut the chase, she would buy her kids expensive toys or just ordinary toys which sometimes they would not let my son play with it. My son doesn't demand on me to buy him, but seeing how hurt he is, it tears me apart. So what I would do is I would ask him to come with me to the mall and buy him a toy that he wants provided that it is within my budget.