By Hanan Awaad
I was chatting with a friend and she expressed her disappointment in kids , who do not feel their parents’ struggle , appreciate the possessions they have , gifts they receive and do not stop asking for more. Although I try to avoid generalisation, but I can claim that the majority of our children and teenagers behave like described above.
The problem is twofold: we assume that it is OK for our kids to be carefree and demanding, and that it is our responsibility as parents to feed every desire and fulfil every wish of our kids. Yes, parents should strive to make their kids happy, but raising laid-back, lazy, irresponsible human beings doesn’t reflect any good parenting. As parents we might understand the virtue of saving and wisely managing our financial resources, so, why we cannot instil this virtue in our kids?
I have observed many parents who take pride that their teenage sons and daughters never worked and absolutely are doing nothing to help in house chores. Those same kids never stop asking for more clothes, games, toys, etc. as if parents are their personal slaves, who should never stop feeding their endless hunger for having more. The question here is why it is becoming a more evident trend among many families from the middle class.
When we were young, we used to receive cash allowances and to see our parents using cash in almost all financial transactions while shopping for grocery, clothes, while travelling, and even giving cash as gifts to kids and friends for high grades at school, to new parents, or to sick relatives. Nowadays, in addition of being emerged in societies that promote consumerism as an admired lifestyle, our little kids hardly see their parents use cash.
When my son was 5 years old, he asked to buy something while we were shopping. I answered that I do not have enough cash and we continued. After a while, we passed by an ATM, and then, my son – in an excited voice – asked me to insert the plastic card I have in my purse and get money as I usually do. The conversation I had with my son afterwards reflected how he did not perceive money as earned commodity; how he did not establish an understanding of what is expensive and what is not; what is affordable and what is not. Not seeing the financial transaction in the form of exchanging cash for goods creates a virtual nature of money.
In grade one, our kids start learning about money. They do the math and use fake money. Yet, they still miss the real life experience. Playing Monopoly might teach them about financial planning, profit and making VIRTUAL money. However, they still absorb other messed-up messages from TV commercials, trips to the mall, and other kids at school.
Then, what to do? Simple: use cash! When shopping with kids, set a budget and keep it in cash in your wallet. Give cash allowance and ask your child to use it to buy whatever he/she wishes as you will not buy any more toys for them.
Originally posted 2016-05-09 16:28:13.