Thursday, August 28, 2008

Developing Responsibilty

Do you have children? Do your children whine in the candy aisle with endless request for candy, toys and trinkets? Mine did. Those days were the days B.A. before allowance. Their wants seemed longer than the actual grocery list and I found it exhausting to do any sort of shopping. So we decided to give them money for them to make their own choices with. If they want it, THEY PAY FOR IT. End of story. It has had huge payoffs. Back when the boy was still four he saved $40 to order a robot he wanted. The whining in the store ceased and actual thinking skills kicked in. They have developed such a sense of purchase prices, value and saving for big ticket items. I don't believe these things are learned by accident, I believe it is intentional teaching on the parents part.
We were watching an episode of Scrubs the other night. Blondie had been cut off from her father. She went from an all expenses paid life, where her education, apartment and food were paid for by her daddy, to on her own. The stress was overwhelming and she said she had never had to pay for anything in her life. Nothing.
I know this is a TV sitcom. Not real life. But it is a real life scenario. In which parents debilitate their children by giving them their every want and whim. I have seen it many times in peoples lives around me. These parents who have a hard time telling their kids no are still supporting them AND their families well into their thirties.
I so do not want that to be my family. I want the kids to make good choices with their money. I want them to discern between need and want. I want them to live life debt free. I want them to save money for their future. I want them to tithe and give back to God. I want them to be wise stewards in this world. I know I want a lot. I also know that these things are attainable with some purposeful teaching. Also, with some opportunity to live it out. I know they will make mistakes. They will blow money on useless trivial things. But I am learning that the more opportunity they have to make their own choices, they tend to make pretty good ones. And also right now the stakes are not high. So what if they spend $3 on candy. It's better than $300 once they graduate and they try out their freedom with overspending.
One thing we have recently started was a save for the future envelope. Once money goes into this envelope it DOES NOT come out. When they get paid, which is every 2 weeks, they are to give $1 to God(tithe) and $2 to their savings envelope. This is non-negotiable. What they do with the rest of their cash is up to them. Within reason. What I have found since starting the save for the future is that they enjoy setting aside more than the required amount. My son knowing that it will not be given back to him until he is a teenager, has been putting in most of his cash to his long term savings. He tells me that when he is older he wants to buy a motorcycle with his money. If he keeps up the way he is going he will have no problem doing so when the time comes for him to drive. Woohoo!
Then there are the sweet moments like yesterday, which prompted the writing of this post.
I was chatting with a dear friend in the floral department at Horracks. As she was waiting little girl was admiring all the flowers. After a few minutes she wanted my attention to ask me something.
DD- Mom, can I get something?
ME: What do you want to get?
DD: These flowers. How much are they?
ME: What does the tag say?
DD: It say 4 9 9
ME: $4.99 that is five dollars.
DD: I have five dollars (digging in purse to locate it.)
ME: Are you sure you want to spend your five dollars on the flowers?
DD: Yes, I think they would brighten up my room by the window.

I thought that was so sweet. Flowers to brighten up her room. And that is exactly what she did. If you ask her it was $5 well spent.

So how about you? Do you give your kids allowance?


heather j said...

I 100% agree with giving your kids allowance. I think it teaches them so many things. Responsibility, achievment (when they save for what they want), etc. My sister-in-law said she wasn't going to give her kids an allowance because her parents didn't give her one. She said her dad would tell her that she lived under his roof and did her chores because it was her responsibility and that he wouldn't pay her for them. I kind of think she missed the point. Chores are a good way to earn money, but the point is to teach your children how to spend/save their money. How to manage it! I hope I am as successful as you have been. I still remember the robot story and I was inspired back then. I am inspired all over again...thanks!

Butterfly Mama said...

That's great. I've been thinking about starting some sort of allowance but haven't figured out what we'll do yet.

My so has started saying things like Mommy that's fifty bucks talking about a $5 toy and it cracks me up.

The flowers are a beautiful addition!