Do you spoil your kid?
We want what's best for our children. But we often set them up to fail.
All that stuff in her child's room never seemed excessive because it's "what every kid we knew had." Yet an incident in a store made her realize that the values she tries to model -- hard work, charity, compassion -- aren't enough.
"She needs to know what it feels like to want something," Feldon writes, "to work for it, to feel the uncertainty of maybe not getting it."
I congratulate the writer on this moment of clarity, and I hope it inspires other parents to look at their own kids' rooms.
It's natural to want our children to have the best. But we're not always doing them a favor by providing it.
If everything they want seamlessly, magically appears, they'll never learn the things Feldon mentioned above.
And that, Mom and Dad, is setting them up for major problems in 10 or 15 years.
The kids aren't all right
Children who have been raised to believe they should get whatever they want as soon as they want it are in for some fairly rude awakenings once they're out on their own. What's likely to happen when they can't immediately afford their ever-changing dreams?
Debt, that's what. In-store financing, "90 days same as cash" (yeah, that'll happen) or a credit card could torpedo your young adult's finances faster than you can say "4G." (Post continues below video.)
A child who learns to save up for what he wants is far better suited for the adult world. That doesn't guarantee he’ll never rampage through Best Buy with a credit card. But he has a much greater chance of not landing up to his hairline in consumer debt.
Why? Because he learned early on that deferred gratification can be the key to self-determination.
Deprogram your kids
From what I've seen, too many parents are afraid to say "no." Maybe they think their children will feel deprived if they don't get the best and newest of everything. Or maybe they want to be the fun mommies or Disneyland daddies.
Listen: Your kids need parents, not pals. Practice saying "no" or "not today" or "that's something you can save up for."
But be sure to walk that talk, too. Tell them why you drive an older car or don't buy new furniture every few years: to create a secure future, to save for their education, to reduce your carbon footprint, whatever. Just talk to them about money.
Our children have been programmed by marketing geniuses to become typical American consumers. They really can't help being acquisitive. It's up to us to set boundaries and enforce them. That's what parents do, or should.
While shopping, I've heard moms or dads say stuff like, "All right, all right, stop crying, we're getting it." I'd love to be a fly on the wall when their kids hit puberty. The stakes will be much, much higher -- and a lot pricier than the latest Spider-Man action figure.
Readers: How often did you say "no" to your kids? Did it help them become better money managers?
More from MSN Money:
what does one expect when the parents are spoiled rotten themselves....
Rather than buying their kids "stuff," parents should learn that what their kids really want is quality time with them. When I was young, my father worked second shift on a rotating schedule, so sometimes I would got a week without seeing him. When he was off, it didn't matter what we did, as long as he would spend time with me. Sometimes all we did was go for ice cream and talked. That was what was important! And that is what seems to be missing now!
When ever my 6yo expresses that she is not satisfied with what she has been abundantly provided with, I found that a trash bag and a trip through her room for "boring stuff" is usually just the shot of humility she needs to gain perspective. Especially when bagged items make it to the local donation station and are then given to a child that will appreciate them.
Addtionally, she has learned that it all can be gone in an instant. The fires in Colo Springs proved that to her in a very real way. Seeing it on the news and having family in the area, she realizied that all her toys would be gone if a fire took our house, and she wanted to donate some of her toys to the relief fund. (How cute). I also explaned that our posessions could be gone tomarrow, but as long as we have eachother its OK.
This an epidemic - when are these "parents" going to wake up? Not only are they creating really unlikeable jerks they are raising helpless adults who cannot budget, let alone perform basic tasks such as laundry, cooking or simple home repairs.
As human beings, our only entitlements are life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness. The rest is up to us.
I see this behavior all the time in the grocery store, WalMart, you name it. Then lately there has been a commercial where the kid whines all throughout the store saying PLLLLLLLEEEEEAAAASSSE. The Mom gives in. She loook relieved when the kid finally shuts up. How sad that now it is even an ad on tv promoting this behavior.
It is sad that we have given in so many times to children. The effect is terrifying. In my job as an apartment manager I see the effects of this so much. Recently I had an incident where one of these 20 somethings literally destroyed his apartment and broke a window in another in a drunken rage. After all was said and done the next morning I called him to the office and asked him to tell me why I should not start eviction proceedings immediately,etc. His answer-"because I am a good kid and I deserve to stay" My answer-Here is your eviction notice, because I don't rent apartments to "kids" I rent to adults. You are 24 years old and not a kid. You want to play in the adult playground you have to play by the adult rules. When you signed the lease agreement you signed as an adult. You represented yourself as an adult or legal age. Just because you are a "kid" does not mean that you get everything handed to you and bad behavior is rewarded." He moved out the next day to an apartment across the street. Similar incident happened there and he is now looking for another apartment to live in where they accept "kids"
I have been umpiring baseball for over 25 years. And got to tell you that the under 30 crowd is completely out of control. It all starts with LL and the parents who just can't say no, and of course our public school system that is run by the liberal progressives. Who pats each kid on the head telling them how special and unique they are. All along not teaching them anything that will get them a job in the 21st century. That is why jobs that require advanced math and science skills( our little darling rank dead last in the world) go begging as we need to import skilled worked from India, China etc.Our kids greatest success is now measured in how fast they can text, or how many tats they have, or how many Texas Holden games they play per week. Then they enter the real world, and the very few that can land a phat salary job with the government do ok, the rest move back in with Moms. And go back to their bedroom and keep telling themselves how special, and cool they are. Pretty sad for them and the rest of the country.
STOP BEING YOUR CHILDS FRIEND! STOP GIVING THEM EVERYTHING THEY SCREAM FOR AND MAKE THEM EARN IT! SPANKING IS STILL LEGAL, AND A GREAT WAY TO TEACH CONSEQUENCES WITHOUT CAUSING HARM ((it's complete B.S. that it cause emotional scaring). For the LOVE OF GOD TEACH YOUR CHILDREN! PLEASE!
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Donna Freedman's Frugal Nation blog is for readers who want to live cheaply -- whether due to necessity or a lifestyle choice. It explores living sustainably and making life more meaningful at the same time.
ABOUT DONNA FREEDMAN
Donna Freedman, a writer based in Anchorage, Alaska, writes the Frugal Nation blog for MSN Money. She won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. Donna also writes about the frugal life for her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
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