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How To Teach Your Kids To Have The Right Money Mind In This Materialistic World

How To Teach Your Kids To Have The Right Money Mind In This Materialistic World

It’s no secret we live in a materialistic world.

We’re constantly bombarded with messages telling us to buy more stuff, even if we have no need for it all.

It’s bad enough full-grown adults fall into the trap of spending more than they can afford. But it’s even worse when children grow up thinking it’s totally okay to do so.

As parents, we need to teach kids about money management, materialism, and how to find happiness without overspending.

If we do that, we can perhaps create a better future for our world as a whole.

There are a few ways we can do this:

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1. Teach kids about money management

Budgeting and money management gets more complicated as you grow older, but it all sits on the foundation of a single premise:

Don’t spend more than you make.

When we teach kids about money, we need to teach them about long-and short-term savings. They need to understand that if they spend money on candy today, they’ll be that much further away from being to afford a new toy or video game. In a world full of instant gratification, children need to truly grasp the concept of saving their money for another day.

Children also need to be taught about saving for emergencies. Although “emergency” in kid-terms would be a broken toy or ruined book that needs to be replaced, they still need to understand that, most of the time, money isn’t a commodity – it’s a necessity.

2. Teach kids the difference between wants and needs

As just mentioned, kids need to understand that money isn’t just what people use to buy whatever they want. Adults put most of their money toward ensuring they have a roof over their head, clothes on their bodies, and food on the table.

This isn’t to say parents should make their kids pay their share into the monthly electricity bill, but they do need to know that money should be spent on necessities first, superfluous items second. But first, they need to be taught the difference between wants and needs.

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Simply put: A “need” is something you can’t live without, while a “want” is something that – while it may be fun and exciting – isn’t necessary for survival. Kids who grow up understanding this will be less likely to make impulse purchases, and be less likely to overspend, in the future.

3. Teach kids about the psychology of advertising

Going along with the last point, parents should talk to their children about the commercials and advertisements they see on TV and the internet on a daily basis.

An advertisement’s job is to make potential customers think they absolutely need the product being advertised – even if it means sacrificing an actual “need” in their life. As mentioned before, some adults have a hard enough time battling this overwhelming desire to buy, buy, buy. But children actually lack the capacity to understand the psychology behind advertising, and are much more likely to be taken advantage of.

By teaching children to think critically about the messages advertisers send them, we can ensure they’ll learn to spend their money wisely and avoid being sold false promises.

4. Teach kids work ethic

At the risk of sounding cliche, kids need to know that money doesn’t grow on trees.

It sounds simple, but most kids really don’t understand how hard their parents work – because they never see it happen. They don’t see the paycheck their father brings home, and they don’t see the checks written to the utility companies. Since they don’t see all this, children often think money is an infinite resource.

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We adults know that money only comes from diligent effort and hard work. We need to instill this idea in our children as soon as they’re old enough to clean their room and make their bed on their own. Instead of just giving them an allowance, make them earn it. Explain how they can earn more by doing more to help out around the house – but also that not everything they do will result in them earning more.

It’s the way of the world, right? The earlier they learn, the better off they’ll be.

5. Say “No” Once in a While

Remember: You’re the adult, here.

No matter how well you teach your kids about money management, the difference between wants and needs, and withholding pleasure, they’re still going to try to get you to compromise as much as possible at times.

The problem is, once you start compromising, it becomes a slippery slope, and becomes harder to say “no” when you really can’t afford a new toy or gadget for them to play with.

When children are upset, they don’t listen to reason. If you say “no” and they start to pout, you won’t be able to teach them anything about money management until they’ve calmed down. For the time being, there’s no shame in falling back on the “Because I said so” card.

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It may lead to a short-lived tantrum, but they’ll eventually learn the lesson you’re aiming for – as long as you reinforce it and don’t budge on the decision you’ve made.

6. Practice What You Preach

Above all else, as a parent you need to act as a model for your children when it comes to money management and materialism.

If they see you going to the mall every weekend and returning with new clothes, new shoes, and other superfluous items, what do you think they’re going to do?

Of course, you work hard for your money and deserve nice things. But don’t confuse “nice things” with “things you want right now and will never use again.” Before you buy something, put some thought into how you’re going to use it so that it doesn’t end up collecting dust.

Teach your children that they should only spend money if they’re going to use whatever they buy wisely. As long as they have a practical use for everything they spend their money on, they’ll avoid overspending and falling into the trap of materialism.

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Published on November 12, 2020

How to Identify And Play to Your Child’s Strengths

How to Identify And Play to Your Child’s Strengths

As you sit there, perhaps on a sofa, maybe a lounge chair, or while you’re sharing a meal at the table, you glance over to the pride and joy you are happy each day to call your child. They smile back, running around the table they learned to stand up using or kiss you on the cheek as they snatch your car keys for their first (or second, but what feels like hopefully the last) errand using your car. You watch as they take their plate from the table, ask if anyone needs anything on their way to the sink, and then finally meander towards the living room saying to you, “Bed fort after dinner?”

How respectful! How creative! Such initiative!

What you may not realize is that because we don’t often think about this in the day-to-day of parenting, your child’s strengths—the initiative, creativity, drive, passion, and introspective nature that turns other people off—are cultivated daily!

If you’ve never given thoughts to your child’s inherent strengths, that’s okay. As is all too common, you’re conditioned to only look at what they need to fix.[1]

Turns out, identifying, cultivating, and managing your child’s strengths isn’t very difficult. In fact, much of those three steps can occur during a visit to the park. Let’s discover simple and effective ways to highlight your child’s strengths.

Identifying Strengths

Now, I know what you may be thinking: between office meetings, Zoom sessions, laundry, and grocery shopping, when exactly do I have time to become a psychologist?

I get it. But really, identifying your child’s strengths is not difficult. In fact, a simple exercise usually suffices—participate in their play!

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Participate in Their Play

Play can take many forms and is usually defined as an activity that does not bring extrinsic value to be enjoyed—us adults typically refer to these activities as “hobbies.” Whether your child is two or thirteen, children are children, after all, and play is essential.

According to a report from the University of Utah, play is a way for children to practice “problem-solving, self-control, and learning how to share.”[2] Aren’t those powerful strengths that we should identify and cultivate in our supportive role of helping children thrive as adults?

When children engage in play, they naturally show how they lead, how they empathize with others, and how they work with others (or not) to solve problems. If you spend time being present with your children during play, you will be able to see how your child’s strengths manifest in the simplest of activities. Seeing your children play allows you to see how they make mistakes, too, which is a powerful indicator of their sense of self.

Allow (Supported) Mistakes—and Often!

Identifying your child’s strengths has nothing to do with demanding them to be perfect. Far from it, actually. Remember—you are guiding them to becoming a self-sufficient and nurturing adult, and there aren’t many of us out there that are perfect!

Highlighting moments when your child has made some mistakes and working through how to bounce back or fix that mistake can be wondrous when they are working towards understanding their effect on others, themselves, and the world.

Just like parents that tend to focus too much on the negative, children too often learn more from their mistakes than their successes. Catch your child softly during a mistake, and work through a plan to get themselves out of it. Your goal is not to fix their issue, of course, but to build within them the capacity to make a better choice next time.

When you take on this mindset of an engaging and present parent that is looking for ways to build your child’s strengths, you’ll be surprised at what you see them able to do.

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Some solid examples of inherent child strengths to look for include:

These are the soft skills that are being developed as young as preschool and even before. In today’s global workplace environment, ensuring that your child is developing in these (and other) areas will set them up for success.

Okay, great. You’ve watched your children at the park or tag along with your teenager to a volunteer event and notice how gracious they are. How do we keep that going?

As is normally the case, you’ll see that cultivating strengths is no more difficult than identifying them.

Cultivating Your Child’s Identified Strengths

Imagine this scenario: Thursday evening, and you’ve worked your fourth ten-hour day. Your partner is late getting home from work, and your three kids are all wanting different things for dinner that should have been made yesterday.

At the exact moment you’re about to snap from the pressure, your middle child says, “Hey, maybe we can all act like chefs tonight and make our own dinners? Might be fun!”

Um, yes, please?

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As you settle in bed later that evening and reflect on that exchange in the kitchen, you start to highlight other times that child—and, as you doze, your other children in their own ways—stepping up and leading. You know this cannot be by accident, so what’s going on here?

Provide Many At-Bats

Just because a child can take their plate to the sink doesn’t mean they are responsible enough with Grandma’s China set. But when you provide the “at-bats” for children to build capacity using their strengths, you see the road to them handling more difficult scenarios becoming less and less cluttered with obstacles.

There will come a day, and perhaps soon, that your child will be able to navigate that China with extreme grace. Today just ain’t that day, but with some work, it’ll come!

Providing opportunities for your child to build on their strengths is a great idea. Everyone likes to feel competent, and your child is no different! Setting up scaffolded opportunities for them to showcase their budding personalities decreases the stress and increases the chance that, next time, they will perform even better.

Teach Them to Trust but Verify

Good leaders don’t have all the answers. Neither should you and of course, we don’t expect our children to know everything. But we should build within them the capacity for understanding what they don’t know and figuring out ways to get the information they need to work through their situations.

You cannot always have the answers, either. So, what should you do?

Exposing them to the world of information that exists is a good start. Great, you’ve identified your child is empathetic, but must they assist and provide supportive care to everyone they encounter? Or should there be some healthy boundaries established?

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Working with your children to mold and curate these more nuanced approaches to their strengths will provide them with a good road map to use when they ultimately leave you and lead their own lives.

Turning Weaknesses Into Opportunities

While not exactly the elephant in the room, I can’t possibly write an article about child strengths without also addressing the fact that our children aren’t possibly capable of being good at everything.

Perhaps one of your most important roles as a parent is to decide what strengths your child has and to inspire them to cultivate those strengths using the tips and suggestions in this article. However, there will be a wide variety of opportunities for you to work through the challenges your child experiences.

I don’t want this to sound too harsh but the fact is, everyone has competencies on a spectrum: you can work, hustle, and grind to develop parts of your personality or skill set to whatever gain you set for yourself. Allowing children to operate with a mindset of progress, not perfection, will help their journey. You cannot be weak, after all, if you are constantly striving for improvement.

So, the next time you take your kiddo out to the park, attend a professional sporting event, or perhaps when you’re playing cards in the living room on a cold winter night, pay attention to how they maneuver around.

How are they asking for what they need? How are they offering support? How are they handling conflict? How are they bouncing back from missed opportunities or mess-ups?

In each of those moments—and many more—the opportunity to cultivate strength in your child is just around the corner!

More Tips on Developing Your Child’s Strengths

Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

Reference

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