This post is all about family and in particular, how kids learn.
As an educator, I think I have some solid footing in this area. You see, I know for a fact that kids learn best by doing and seeing. Basically, if you want your kids to learn something new, get them to start doing it! And if you show them how some things can be done, i.e., by modeling, well…they'll learn stuff even faster.
Another Einstein revelation for you: kids learn the most at home. I know, crazy, huh? This is why teachers struggle with some "gems" in their classrooms. But you're a perfect parent, or at least, you try to be. However, what if you could be doing some things that unbeknownst to you, are having the unintended effect of mind shaping your children to be averse to money? Not money! Yes, money. Here are some adult behaviors that could be confusing your children about your true feelings with respect to the greenback:
1) You sit at the table with a stack of bills and your checkbook. Sometime around the second bill you start to fuss and complain. "What!…we spent $250 on the water bill! Honey…you really gotta cut back on your shower time. Really, do you need to be in there ten minutes?" Of course, Junior, is seeing you get all bent out of shape while you pay these bills. Your children also see you interacting with text negatively, which is bad for their sense of developing a love for reading.
2) You argue openly with your partner and the argument is constantly about money. Sure, your child may be playing at the time…in the living room, which is a whole ten feet away from where the two of you are. But guess what? That child is listening! "I don't want you buying things without consulting with me! Bottom line, don't do it!"--money verbal bullets.
3) You don't explain to your kid(s) why they can't go home with a toy from the store. Instead you yell at them: "Put it back…you're not getting that!" Or you tell them: "No! We can't afford it." Money becomes the object of their frustration. What should you be doing? You should be explaining to them that you have a shopping list. Show them the list. You should then tell them that the reason you have a shopping list is so that you don't buy items on impulse. Explain to them that getting any random toy from the store is doing the opposite of what you came to the store to do. And then tell them that in order to get a toy from the store, it needs to be budgeted and put on the list. Tell them that when they get home, you and them can sit together and see how a toy could be earned prior to the next shopping trip.
4) You go to some common place…you know…like a school or other public place and you strut your wallet around like you own the place. I'm referring to entitlement. Do you scoff at people who you believe to be "lower" than you? Do you challenge people and invoke your lawyer in argumentation? Many children end-up with major entitlement problems at school come high school…and they didn't pick-up this bad money/power personality from their teachers, trust me. Eventually, some caring person puts them back on planet earth and they realize how utterly grotesque they had been acting for many years, associating money with this "evil."
5) You give your child spending money daily (for school) and that's that. Then when they come to you broke on the weekend, asking you for more, you get mad. "What'd you do with all the money I gave you for school?"--you ask them frustratingly. Their response: "I spent it." Your comeback: "On what!?" And they give you the best possible answer suited for a money saving unconscious kid: "On stuff!" What should you do? You should challenge your child to keep up to half of what you give them. Tell them to look out for the best deals during lunch, or if they can leave campus (older ages), for lunch specials. This way they will actually check menus, and the boards at school, fast food spots, etc., making them conscious consumers!
6) You make spending uncomfortable and upsetting. You are one of those Mustachians at Mrmoneymustache.com's cult. You scrutinize every expense and say negative commentary about buying almost anything. You go around shopping at thrift stores and wear clothes that are two decades old just to save a penny. Then when your child grows up, they have been trained by you to worry, and become uncomfortable every time money is needed. In essence, you create a cheapskate out of your child that will have no chance in hell with the ladies or will be seen as weird by men. There is a balance, whether Frugalists like to admit it or not. Not worrying about money is okay, people. Enjoy life too!
Well…I hope you've enjoyed this post. Remember, kids are watching…all the time! So make sure you lock your bedroom door and talk cool ish about money around your little tikes. Must be the heat…I'm out of my mind! C-Los…out.