Parenting has changed so much during the last decade.
One of the biggest complaints that we hear people talk about is how entitled children seem to be nowadays.
Think about the young child who doesn’t play with her toys more than twice because she has so many of them. Or the school-aged child who whines about not getting the latest iPhone for her birthday. Or the teenager who demands a new car for his 16th birthday.
In my opinion, another simple way to describe children who are entitled is children who are spoiled.
You don’t have to be a Hilton-loaded billionaire to be accused of raising entitled children. Entitled children can come from all walks of life.
Most parents don’t start out intending to raise entitled children. Most parents are simply trying to be good parents and unfortunately, one of the ways they may choose to show it is by showering their kids with everything that they can afford.
Unfortunately, once kids get used to having their demands met all the time, they start to expect that life should be like that too.
Instead of giving our kids everything that they want or veering to the other extreme of not meeting legitimate needs, I think that a good middle ground is to encourage them to “work” for what they want.
Here are 5 ways to teach your kids about the value of money.
1. Introduce the concept of ‘work’ for what you want
This concept is harder to achieve for younger children but even young children can be taught the meaning of having to “work” for something. For example, I tell my young child that she can only take out a new toy to play with after she has packed up the existing toys that she has strewn all over the floor. I am not overly strict with this as she often misses out on a few toys that she has not spotted and sometimes, I can just tell that she is too distracted and the battle won’t be worth it. But at the very least, she has been introduced to the concept of having to put in some effort for something that she wants. For older children, things like a reward system, chores in exchange for privileges or helping in the family business for pocket money can be introduced too.
2. Expand their entrepreneurial mindset and skills
I truly believe that entrepreneurship can be taught. Even if you think that your child is not a “natural entrepreneur”, there are activities that you can do to expand your child’s entrepreneurial mindset and build their entrepreneurial skills. For example, learning to listen carefully to what others are saying, assertiveness, creativity, innovation and negotiation skills can all be learned.
3. Encourage entrepreneurial activities
I believe that it is important to teach children the value of money by involving them early in entrepreneurial activities of their own or yours (if you are an entrepreneur yourself). The sooner they learn what is involved, the sooner they start to appreciate the time, effort and investment that is required to earn money.
4. Don’t completely shield your kids from money issues
Even though my dad never really talked to us about money, my mom frequently reminded us not to take things for granted. She would point out how hard dad worked in order to provide for us. She would remind us that we would have to ‘repay’ them back by studying hard and paying attention at school. Even though I did not always do well in my studies, I always felt a great sense of gratitude to my parents and a sense of responsibility to look after them when they got older. This, in turn, taught me the value of money and the importance of being responsible with it.
5. Don’t give your kids everything that they demand all the time
I come from a middle-class family. Both my parents worked and although they indulged us with overseas vacations every couple of years, I learned the value of money very early on.
For example, I remember when Levi’s jeans were the coolest brand of jeans to wear for us kids. Despite whatever I said, I could not convince my dad that Levi’s jeans were worth the investment. Dad scoffed at them and said that the quality of the expensive Levi’s jeans was no different than a non-Levi’s one. My dad didn’t care if I looked uncool in front of my friends. Instead, he would teach me about the importance of thinking for myself and not fall for marketing messages.
Contrast this with my dad’s response when Barbie dolls first hit the market. I desperately wanted one but I knew that they were expensive. I asked my dad for one but didn’t get my hopes up. My dad said that he would think about it and in the meantime, I had to be on my best behavior. I was pleasantly surprised when dad finally bought me one. I guess he felt that they were a decent play toy for me to teach me about caring for others (you had to comb and dress the doll) and indeed, my Barbie doll was one of my favorite toys.
My dad’s action is not giving me whatever I wanted just because I asked for it, taught me to value the things that he did buy for me.
There are many other ways to teach your kids about money. You just need to put some thought into it and be prepared to stand your ground, especially if your child disagrees with you. For more ideas, visit us at www.lebrickfamily.com or follow us on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.