Yesterday an informal discussion with my colleagues which started with pranks of our respective princes & princesses turned a bit philosophical on how to bring up the children. The point of contention was the standard dollars & cents issue. Should the children be aware of the economic realities of their parents & at what age.
I dont feel there is a correct answer to this question, just like the question about the birds & bees. How early is too early & how late is too late.
Should we agree to all there demands? if not what & how much to refuse? How to explain to them & what to explain?
All parents want their children to become wise & be aware of the economic conditions when they grow up, but seem to be not willing to prepare them for this. In fact they are the biggest hindrance to there children in getting this knowledge.
Adults who are insecure in their jobs or feel that they are not earning enough (which most of us usually feel) usually have a subconscious feeling of insecurity in them & they want that their children should not feel the same insecurity as they do. So they are always trying to wish away the problem & when their children touch upon this issue, the subconscious which is trying to wish away the problem turns on the conscious to make it act like the problem never existed. Wishful thinking, yes you got it right !
So how does it affect the children.
A father will try to fulfill all the reasonable & unreasonable wishes of the child sometimes even beyond his means. So the child who is now grown up tends to take them as a part & parcel of his life. & then one day, when the parents are not able to fulfill the wish, the dream castle is shattered. The parent can’t explain ( or dont want to explain) & the child can’t ( for he has never been told) understand.
The unwritten contract is broken.
End of the fairy tale & reality starts to bite.
The Child begins to drift away from the parents because the foundation is shaken. & parents start to cry over the thankless children who are so money minded.
So should we tell them everything? will they understand? is it worth it? what effect it has on their psyche?
How much we should tell them? I think important is how to tell them?
Step One. Make them pay with there hands when they buy candy, or things that they want. Give them the choice when they demand too many things. Let them know they cant have everything. Restrict the number of things they can buy in one outing. & never be too strict with the rules, break them occasionally. But they should realize that everything costs money. Once they have this insight, rest all is easy.
Step Two, Help them maintain a piggy bank. Occasionally take some money to buy things they really desire. this will cultivate the saving habit.
Gradually bring this to higher things in life & they will understand. Once they understand this it has the added advantage of increased bonding between the parents & children as they feel important as you are treating them like adults.