I believe that helping kids build a healthy relationship with money is one of the most loving gifts you can give your kids. It may not mean much to them at the moment, but it has the power to change their life. I know it did for me. My father gave me this powerful gift and I am doing the same with my daughters because the most important thing we do as parents is not instruct our kids, but teach them to think for themselves, including how they use their money.
3 Ways to Help Kids Think For Themselves
Kids are sponges. They mimic the behaviors and beliefs of their parents, friends, and what they see on TV or in the movies. Sometimes, they only know how to follow and don’t learn how to think for themselves. This is dangerous, so when it comes to teaching kids about money, we need to help them learn how think for themselves, not just what’s right or wrong.
Demonstrate Behaviors You Want Kids to Emulate
Lectures seem to be universally despised by kids, so unless there is a very specific reason as to why a money lesson must be lecture, I try to find teachable moments instead. This way I can demonstrate the behavior I want to teach the girls without it feeling like they are being “taught”. We are just having a discussion and their opinions matter.
TIP: Remember, our kids are always observing us. So practice what you preach 24/7. They will notice if you don’t and rightfully call you out.
Explain the “Why” Behind My Actions or Thought Process
As a parent I understand how chaotic life can be and sometimes saying “no” or “because I said so” is a lot easier and faster than giving a full explanation. However, I encourage you to slow down and explain your thought process behind your choices. In other words, talk out loud and tell your kids what things you consider when you make purchases.
Respect Their Decisions Even if You Disagree
This is a hard one; I know. As parents, it is our job to protect our kids, but I still give the girls lots of latitude in how they choose to use their money. Why? Because my goal is for Lauren and Taylor to be able to think for themselves. This means having the confidence to make good decisions and trusting themselves to figure it out. So I respect their decisions, including celebrating their wise ones and helping them understand where they went wrong when they make a bad one.
The Best Answer to “I Want”
As a Mom, I understand the desire to always say “yes” because I want to give my girls everything their hearts desire too. But I know “yes” isn’t always the right answer and neither is “no”. So what is the right answer? In my short video, I walk you through the best response and how it helps kid figure out what they truly want.
How do you respond to your child’s “wants”? How are you teaching your kids to think for themselves?