On the path we are traveling to teach our children (this generation) to be smart with money, we must be relentless. When your friend tells you to “lighten up” and “just let them be kids,” stand strong, and tell them that amassing an army of toys is not being a kid. Turning a discarded box into a home for your dolls: that’s being a kid.
When you feel guilty that you gauged the success of your birthday or the holidays by the volume of the haul (Yep, that would be me too.), stand strong, and realize that you were enlightened by going down that path. You know that going down that road is like playing an unwinnable game. If you don’t want to shower your child with gifts (from you or anyone else), don’t let it happen. I know it’s not easy, but it’s your choice. Stand strong.
And when you see a behavior that you don’t like, help your kids to change it. If you think YOU might be the cause of the behavior, stand strong, and work it out together. I remember when my daughter first used an unacceptable word. (I’ll admit that I felt a pang of pride that she used it in context, but that’s not the point.) It was obvious to my wife and me that she had learned it (Surprise!) from us. So in order to avoid looking like hypocrites, we decided that anyone (Mom, Dad, her) who used that word would be sent to time out. Our method worked. (It’s nice when ONE of your methods works.) If you think your behaviors might be negatively influencing your kids, change them.
A root cause of this country’s current financial crisis is lack of education. It’s time to teach our kids to be money-smart. The premise is simple: Save, share and spend SMART. Because the pressure to simply spend is so great, though, the execution is difficult. We’re in this together. Stand strong, and believe that we can help our kids.