Jul 302014
English: Shopping carts in ABC Tikkula.

English: Shopping carts in ABC Tikkula. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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When it is difficult to make ends meet there is a particular parental struggle that doesn’t need to exist:  it is not necessary to feel guilty about setting limits on previously over-indulged children.  In fact, even if you haven’t established a precedent of over-indulgence, there’s no need to feel guilty about setting economic limits.  Like any tough situation, this one holds potential for some valuable learning:  there can be long-term benefits to changing a child’s short-term economic expectations.

Of course it can be difficult to say “no” to someone we love – and all parents want to be able to give their kids the best of everything.  But how do we define “the best”?  Can it be in the skills that we introduce and allow them to practice?  How about the benefits of budgeting?

Here are a few:

  • Setting priorities:  What is it they want the most?
  • Money management:  What is the relationship between saving and spending?
  • Planning: What will it take to get it?  What resources to they already have?  Which ones will they need to develop or find?
  • Self-determination: Are they willing to work for it?
  • Research:  Is there a way to get a better price on “the thing”?  Is it ever on sale?  Can it be found second hand?
  • Problem-solving: If they’ve not saved enough money how will they earn more?  Odd jobs?  Yard sale?

Giving your children a chance to learn the benefits of budgeting is a gift that will last far longer than… well… just about anything on their list!



Jan 152013

Have you made your summer plans yet?  Whether you are fortunate enough to be planning a family trip or trying to put together a decent child care plan, the school year is coming to an end and ‘what to do about summer’ has probably been part of your recent thinking.

While babysitting and gardening are still options for a lot of kids, technology has certainly opened up some additional possibilities.  Seriously… so many of us joke about how much more intuitively middle and high school students are able to organize our laptops or set up a quick website.   Why not let them?

Let them help you make a list of some of those aggravating “to dos” that are cluttering up your office or your hard drive….  whether it’s labeling and uploading digital photos you’d like to share ,scanning documents,  re-tagging blog posts for better SEO or setting up a FaceBook page for your business, the best person for the job may be closer than you think.

What other digital chores would you like to get some help with?  What do your kids have to offer?  You may even want to help them share those skills with family and friends.  What do you think?

Dec 272012

Day 28 - Unwrapping Christmas gifts

Day 28 – Unwrapping Christmas gifts (Photo credit: PictureWendy)

Have you ever met a parent who did not what to do the best they possibly could for their children?  Unfortunately, sometimes that beautiful wish gets translated into massive piles of consumer goods.  Stuff.  And it might not be the right stuff.

 Our intentions may be good, but over-spending, “over-gifting” behavior can teach our children a number of things we might not want them to learn.  I don’t think, for example, that any parent wants our children to define our love for them by the gifts that we buy for them.

 What other messages can we send when we repeatedly overindulge our kids’ material wants?  Are they learning about the difference between “wants” and “needs”?  How about saving versus “buy now, pay later”?  And, if everything they want just “shows up” are we teaching them to expect “something for nothing?”

 We all love to give our children nice things, but the things we buy for them can never replace the pride that comes with earning their own money and making their own decisions about how to spend it.  Things they are given without work or personal effort have little lasting value for them.  When children purchase something by contributing at least a portion of the cost with their own hard earned money, they learn valuable lessons in money management and the self-esteem that comes from realizing that there is a relationship between their work and the result.

 And those are gifts that keep on giving.