Apr 292009


With more and more families finding it difficult to make ends meet there has been a lot of media attention given to parental struggles — but there is particular angle that has caught my eye.

Despite drastic changes in their finances, there are parents who  struggle to set economic limits on previously over-indulged children. And, although dramatic changes at work force the conversations these parents still feel guilty.

Clearly, it can be difficult to say “no” to someone we love – every parent wants to be able to give their children the best. However, like any difficult situation, this one contains the potential for some very, very valuable lessons. That’s right: there may be some long-term benefits to changing your child’s short-term economic expectations.

First of all, your kids have an opportunity to decide what things they want enough to earn them. Yes – work for them. What is it that they really, really want???? It might be a bike or concert tickets or a piece of sports equipment or a new outfit.

Once that decision has been made, they get to do research. What does this “special thing” cost? Where is it available? Is it ever on sale? Can they find it used at a second hand store or on e-Bay?

They get to be creative. How much money do they have? How much do they need? How long will it take them to save? Are there odd jobs they can do? Yard sales they can organize? They get to be proactive…. to solve problems….

Let’s see…. deciding what they want, setting a big goal, learning what needs to happen to reach it and working to reach that goal…

I think that these are all gifts that will last much, much longer than a new laptop, how about you?

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