Editor, momstown Guelph
Sometimes, the sudden revelation of spoilage comes on so suddenly. Almost like a lightening bolt to your brain. However, when you stop to contemplate the situation and behaviour, you come to the conclusion that you have maybe given into the financial demands of your child one too many times. It is a sad day when that occurs, but, not to fret, you can reverse it if you act on it quickly. I would beg you to act on it quickly, so as not to have a teenager who has the negative perspective (in life) that objects and material possessions are worth much more than your (or their!) love and attention.
Change the cycle before it's too late! While your child is still young, there is time! You can be the type of parent who teaches their child that 'money cannot buy you love.' This catchy Beatle's song depicts an important message. I like to think of it in terms of fathers (and mothers) teaching their children that they will provide for their child's NEEDS, not their GREEDS. If you can pass onto the next generation (which, by the way is super focused on financial gains and prosperity, as the only keys to happiness and a satisfying life!) that being financially responsible includes not spending what you don't have, and spending money on needed items, and that it is a treat to spend money on fun and expensive things once in a while. With these key points in mind, we are doing our job to help dispell our indebted economy within the family unit.
If we were to take our children to an impoverished economy, and encourage them to look around at the people, they may notice the happy faces of the adults, who don't have any material possessions. But why? They don't have the stress of having too much money and possessions, fearing a job loss, or foreclosure at any time! If they see our disgruntled faces every time we look at our bank statements, and hear their parents arguing over money constantly, they may come to realize themselves that money and possessions are not all that they are cracked up to be!
I think it is a way of thinking on a parent's part. For example, a parent who lavishly spends money on themselves, and their children, may have a past which includes poverty and little opportunity for themselves and their siblings. Maybe, this parent may be trying to overcompensate for the lack of privleges that they had as a child, and want only the best for their youngsters. Or, maybe they had a rich upbringing, so, now, they are stuck, as parents, in the vicious life-cycle of work, sleep, eat, and very little free time. But, they feel that this is the best thing they can offer their children – financial stability, a spectacular home, designer clothing, and opportunities galore.
So, suffice it to say, I think that we need to teach our kids that it is OK to buy nice things, and to be able to go on fun vacations. But, not all of the time. Our children need to learn by seeing how we handle our money. Do we constantly spend it lavishly, and buy things that we don't need? If so, we may not be teaching our children the value and the hard work that is involved with acquiring money and stuff. Children need to know that in order to spend money, they must first make money. But, they don't need to see their parents working 24-7, just to have money to spend foolishly. They also need to understand that buying loved ones expensive gifts all of the time, is not necessary. Children (and parents!) need to know that money cannot buy love nor happiness.
So, what do children, and people, in general, really need? If you reflect on what human beings really need, and fulfill these needs, your children will learn from your example and positive role modeling. But, what are the things that we all need to give our children, in place of money, you ask?
Children, and our loved ones, need so much more from us. Are you giving your children and loved ones what they really need this month of LOVE and throughout the year?
I challenge you to give more of yourselves this LOVE month of February and on into this new year. Make it a resolution.
Here is what you may need to do, to show your children and loved ones that you are not buying their love, but, rather, expressing it…
So, if you are trying to buy your child's love, and not giving your time, you are setting your child up for disappointments and financial irresponsibility. You are also not using your most valuable resource – which IS YOUR TIME. It is your time and attention, that truly demonstrates your unwaivering love for your children and loved ones, and are life lessons, for them, which cannot be undermined. I encourage you to change your perspective on money, and your children will thank you for it, as they will learn that they don't have to use money to buy another's love.
Lana Kelly( B.A, SSW, ECE, Montessori). For 20 years, Lana has been dedicated to helping children and families. In 2010, she published a book (The Sheepish Lamb) , aimed at building resilience to childhood anxiety. She is a mom to four daughters, and values her faith and family solidarity.