Kids Asking For More Money? Your Response Matters. | Analysing 5 Common Parents’ Reactions
Your response impacts your child’s future, so what should be the best answer? 😯
“Mommy, can I have X dollars please?”
Seemingly a simple question, different answers & attitudes have different impacts on children. Here’s some common responses from parents, and we’ll tell you why they are your biggest mistakes. ❌
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Response #1: Negotiate conditions before giving money (Don’t do that!)
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‘Well, if you complete these math exercises and help mommy to wash the dishes, I’ll give you the money.’ Responses like that eventually make kids believe that in order to get something, it has to involve money. 💵 This indirectly promotes selfishness in your children, making them interest-oriented and materialistic. When children grow up to be so money-minded, they won't hesitate to put friendship and family love over money in the future, treating others in an inconsiderate way as they expect something in return when people around them ask for help! Let’s raise a child who puts selflessness over selfishness, negotiating conditions to fulfil a child's demand is not the right way.
Response #2: Alright, here you go.
Indeed, Oscar Wilde once said “The best way to make children good is to make them happy”. Some parents who struggled to put food on their table when they were young tend to bear the mindset that they want their children to have the things they didn't have growing up. Divorced parents or those extremely busy with work compensate their time with children by showering them with materials. Some parents with lower income don’t mind having less for themselves just to save the best for their children. YES, we understand that all these actions of ‘spoiling’ children are out of the expression of love ❤️ !
However, nurture a happy child ≠ spoon feeding them! Instead, we make them happy by providing the right tools and resources 🔧, which will nurture them into independent adults able to solve financial challenges themselves. Giving into children without second thoughts creates the opposite - weak-minded, dependent, yet feel entitled that you should satisfy their desires. Imagine yourself losing your source of income due to unexpected situations (such as the current global pandemic), it will be an extremely hard transition for your family! Spoiling a child is not a bad thing, but doing it right is the key. 🗝
Response #3: Time to teach kids a lesson!
“Instead of comparing these useless toys and trendy shoes with your friends, why not compare your results?” //
“Do you think it's easy to earn money? I saved so much for your education, why do you want to spend on all these!” //
“Do you think money falls from the tree?”
You might think these are ‘beneficial’ lectures, but in fact, they might be putting pressure on your kids. Making children pleading unnecessary when their intention is pure will make them feel terribly guilty to spend, perpetuating low self esteem. Such unhealthy emotional growth might even last till adulthood, where they would choose to suppress their needs and basic comforts, thinking that they don't have the right to voice out their wants. 🗣️
It is absolutely normal for a child to see something they like and want to buy them, it happens to you too (It’s human nature!). But if you use it as an excuse to treat them in an overly harsh manner, it is psychologically damaging to your child. From children’s perspectives, they might think that their wants are reasonable, therefore it is our job to explain to them instead of lecturing them right away. If not, these children might soon opt to lie and steal from parents because asking for money (which is supposedly the correct way!) resulted in unnecessary humiliation instead.
Indeed, we do not want to raise ‘spoiled brats’, but us as parents should focus on positive nurturing 🌱, and avoid treating our kids in an excessive punitive/ negative manner.
Avoid the extremes, but where do we find the balance?
Step #1: Let children express and explain their demand.
Before straight up rejecting/ giving children money, hear 👂🏻 what they want to say! When a child seemingly doesn't need more money but he voices out, there must be a reason behind it. Let’s put it in a positive perspective - it's exactly because you are the most trustworthy and reliable person to them, you are the first person that comes to their mind when they have something to ask! If they find it hard to tell you, don't rush it, be patient and listen. (Who knows they might be planning for a surprise present 🎁 for you!)
Step #2: Analyse situation, then make decision to give & how much to give.
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Reasonable request, but you don't have the financial ability:
Be honest and tell your kids maturely, that you are unable to fork out the money given your financial condition. A good response would be “Hey honey, dad and mom understand you. But it is a little expensive and we don't have the money to buy for now. Is it okay if we wait a little longer? You’ll understand dad and mom, right?” That way, even if your children are not able to get what they want, they will learn to be considerate and understand that it is due to financial difficulty, not because dad and mom don’t love them anymore!
A not quite reasonable request:
Again, it is a kid's nature to have the desire of buying what they want. Teach them needs versus wants and guide them to decide if their demand is a spontaneous spending. Feel free to suggest how they can allocate their extra allowance 📝, but don’t instruct them what to do! All in all, it is important to teach kids that if something is beneficial for them (i.e. books 📚, laptop for easier learning), then invest in them by all means; but if it is an unnecessary item that brings short term gratification, it could have been used on something more sustainable and useful!
Some parents might use money as a tool to ‘tame’ and discipline their child, but wise parents know how to respect their children’s voice, and use the right way to win their trust and love.
The ultimate key here is: Training kids to spend responsibly is not teaching them to be a penny-pincher, but to provide them healthy guidance on their money decisions. Let’s work towards better financial parenting! 👪💞
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