Let’s face it, no one likes to be told NO. However, as adults we know that NO is a necessary evil, especially when raising children. NO if not negative when used to teach our children. NO teaches children the difference between good and bad behaviour and this includes their behaviour when it comes to money.
Often, as parents, it can be easier to give in to our children rather than to say that dreaded word NO. Our children do not like it and I think we, as parents, like it even less. Children are smart and most learn from a very young age how to manipulate us in an effort to get what they wish. Young children, especially, are only truly capable of thinking about their own wants and really do not consider the consequences. It is up to us, as parents, to teach our children that they can not always have what they want at every given moment.
We have all been there! The dreaded trip to the store with your child. I can remember taking my daughter into a store, and it did not matter the type of store, she could, and would, always find something that she absolute needed to possess, even though I knew otherwise. It truly was one of her god-given talents!!! She would try to persuade me, argue with me, and, often, get frustrated with me. However, as her parent, I could not allow myself to be manipulated each time she asked for something. This is not saying that I did not treat her occasionally, because I did, but not every time. Who does not want to treat their child sometimes! As a result, over time saying NO became a lot easier on the pair of us and eventually, over time, she did come to respect my decision when I said NO.
Teaching my children the meaning of NO, is probably one of the most valuable lessons I gave them. I am certainly not suggesting that this was easy, or a walk in the park, and it would have been a lot easier to have just said yes. However, by teaching them that you can not always do what you want, impulsively, in terms of money and in everyday life, I’ve taught them to appreciate what they have and taught them the difference between needs and wants. Being able to distinguish between a want and a need is one of the fundamental premises of good financial decisions.
Unfortunately, as adults, we frequently do not listen to ourselves. We have no one telling us NO. Often, we fail to hold ourselves accountable for our impulsive decisions. Just as children need guidance, so do we in terms of money decisions. The line between what is a need and what is a want can be blurry. This is especially true when we do not take the time to consider the ramifications of our actions. Even just taking a moment and asking ourselves whether or not what we are doing is necessary can make us reconsider what we are about to do and allow us to make a better choice.
As I mentioned earlier, we learn from an early age, right from wrong, good and bad, and all from the word NO. We have all been told NO, and usually for good cause. When it comes to money, NO is a word that we often ignore. Even as adults we ignore our inner voice and proceed to do as we please instead of what we should. NO, keeps us, often, on the path we should be on, in order, to achieve the goals we desire. As parents, one of our roles, is to teach and guide our children to obtain their goals. The word NO, and standing behind our decision with firmness and resolve, is how we begin to teach our children to make good decisions.
Our children are constantly watching us and what we do affects how they will interact with the world. Realize that how you make decisions around your children, and the reasons you give them, will be a major contributor to their world view and how they make decision throughout their own lives. Next time, we shall discuss how the decisions they make in regards to money can be directly related to how we, as parents, have dealt with money and money decisions.