Tuesday, December 12, 2017

When Your Son Tears Up A Washington, He May Just Be A Counterfeiter

For all of you who have children, no doubt your kids have gone through a phase where they were in awe of money.  Perhaps they take your spare change and play with it.  Maybe they go around asking other family members for money.  They may keep a piggy bank in their rooms and guard it like a mamma bear guards her cubs.  The point is that it's all perfectly healthy, and this money obsession in kids leads to excellent teachable moments.  Case in point:

Yesterday, while at the gym after work, I got a FB notification email that my wife had "tagged" me in a post.  I took a break from bench pressing 350 pounds, and got on FB to see the post.  (I was kidding about the bench pressing people!).  See her post below:

My wife is a stay-at-home mom, bless her heart and all the hearts of other stay-at-home moms out there, and each Monday she has both our kids to herself.  Long story short, my daughter's Charter elementary school doesn't hold classes on Monday.  Lately, we've been having some difficulty parenting our 4.5 year-old son.  He gets extremely defiant whenever we correct him, and exhibits these behaviors:

1) Get even-ness.  The "I'll show you" typical of a teenager, but without any time delay.

2) I'm gonna do something crazy.  He says things like: "I'm gonna get in the car and drive away."  One time he literally took my car keys, went outside the house, got in my car, stood up on the seat with his hands on the steering wheel and started to mess with my car's stick shift.  He locked the door so I couldn't get in and snatch him.  Thankfully he didn't know how to operate the parking brake.

3) Gets violent.  He'll charge us and start throwing right crosses and jabs to our legs.  

4)  He'll walk away and go isolate himself in his room or upstairs, walking away in a defeated posture.

We've had tremendous patience with him as responsible parents should.  When he calms down I talk with him and go over what was wrong about his behavior.  We do positive reinforcement with all of his helpful behavior.  We forgive and forget and make sure he hears us say that we are no longer "grumpy" with him.  Nonetheless, he has trouble with some lessons.  One in particular: Throwing away perfectly good food.  Now this is a huge trigger for my wife.  We talked to our daughter (when she was my son's age) about daddy going to work to make money so we can afford food and everything we need.  She got it fast.  My son...he marches to his own beat.

Enough context, back to yesterday...

When I got home, my wife was visibly upset.  I asked, "where are the kids?"  She says, "I sent them upstairs to take a bath."  She proceeds to show me the ripped up dollar bill, sprinkling the pieces on the island countertop, and says, "If my looks could kill, he would've been dead on the spot.  It took all of me to not grab him and spank him."  I didn't want to march upstairs and hammer my son verbally as he took his bath.  This is no way to interact with your children, upon first sight after work.  Besides, we were going to his first Christmas performance at school so I wanted him calm as he got dressed.  When my son and I were alone downstairs, I brought up the dollar incident.

Me:  Mijo, porque rompiste el dolar?  (I speak Spanish to them as often as possible)

My son: Because, because I wanted to make more money.

Well, of course!  It made perfect sense to him to cut up the dollar bill neatly into five pieces.  He wanted more of it!  LOL!!  He'd actually asked me over the weekend for more money.  I told him he already had a dollar (he carried it all of last Sunday in his shirt pocket), and this was just his way of getting what he wanted.  Jessica had made cookies for the Christmas performance.  I took one and with his undivided attention, for he was hungry, I showed him that even though I broke the cookie in half, when you put the two pieces back together it's still one cookie.  Not sure how much of this lesson he got, fixating on the cookie with a predator's stare.

The Best Parenting Tips (On Teaching Kids About Money) We Got From The FB Post:

Jessica's Friend 1:  there should maybe be an organic consequence.  Like: dang, that was your ____________money. Now we can't _________. 🤷🏻‍♀️
Not a punishment but more like..life.

My Youngest Sister:  Tell him if he keeps ripping up money like that he won't get any toys for Christmas or his birthday lol
Or you could scare him and say that if he keeps doing that he's going to live with the bum in a box on the side of the road and point the bum out to him lol

Jessica's Friend 2:  Seems to me he already knows what a dollar is worth Lol! But seriously... take him to the store and when he ask for something say "Aaaw we could've got that but you for up the money. Now we have to wait till I work some more before we can buy anything."  

Jessica's Friend 3: If he did this at 14 that might be concerning, but not 4. Ask him to help u tape it bk up together. He starts to learn the value of $$ while getting some attention.

My Co-worker:  My son did that when he was little. I took him to the Dollar Tree to pick out a toy and brought him to the register to pay with his torn up dollar. When the cashier (whom I had play along from the beginning) told him that she couldn't take his money because it was ripped up he was upset. We got to the car and he asked if he could borrow a dollar from me to go back inside to buy some tape to tape his dollar back together so that he could buy the toy he wanted. Lesson learned and pretty innovative and creative too and he was only 4. 

I liked the last suggestion the best.  The best way to learn a lesson is through actual practicum.  It's just great teaching to get your kids in a real life scenario.  So I think I'll take him to the Dollar Store today with his ripped up dollar bill and ask him to hand it to the person at the cash register.  He'll learn real quick that ripped up cash is no good!

But the main lesson here is that with your kids, you never know.  You have to always ask why they do the things they do.  Sometimes their responses will be stupid for their age level.  Teenagers have some of the best reasons for their mistakes...said no one ever!  And yet, sometimes their responses will be age appropriate, albeit requiring extra understanding.  I'm positive we'll get out of this phase with our son soon, but it will take a whole lot of patience and understanding from ourselves.  

Are you going through some parenting difficulties of your own?  How would you have approached this situation with your son?  How would you have taught your son that money is not to be purposely damaged?  Thanks for reading!  If you liked this post and want more like them in your inbox, please subscribe before you leave.  I'll throw in 3 excellent money-matters eBooks for your troubles.

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