“You can’t always get what you want” is a familiar phrase to all of us. This is a hard fact of life that often appears at the most inconvenient times; yet, learning this helps us along our journey toward self-sufficiency and financial independence. However, when you’re overcoming your own challenges on the road to Catholic money management success, you may have forgotten to consider how your actions may affect your children. What happens when your knee-jerk reaction is to give kids what they want but really don’t need?
The answer to that question is becoming painfully apparent as the current generation enters adulthood. We have an entire generation of young adults who received just about everything they wanted with little or no work. Rather than a fleeting phenomenon, it’s becoming a cultural norm—and a problem. The fact is that life doesn’t give us everything we want, whether it’s jobs, cars, houses, friends, or even simply good days. Learning that the world doesn’t revolve around us is a message that needs to be instilled in children from an early age. Today, we discuss five behaviors you can change to help prepare your children for ultimate financial independence.
- Stop being the ultimate problem-solver. No parent likes to see his or her children going through rough times. The initial response is usually to swoop in and right all of their wrongs so that we can see them happy again. However, this constant interference creates a false reality for them. You won’t always be there to help, and what’s more, your child will never learn how to fix problems on their own if you always do it for them. It’s ok to step in occasionally, but it is never ok to solve all their problems for them. Make sure they take part in solving whatever obstacle they have encountered.
- Stop giving them made-up awards.
- Stop centering your life around your children. We love our children very much, there’s no doubt in our minds about that; however, children can’t be the center of our universe when Christ should take that position. Help your children lead Christ-centered lives and be sure they know that Christ is the center of your life. Married couples need to put God first, their spouse second and their children third.
- Stop overspending. While discussing financial problems with children is inappropriate, it’s a good thing for them to understand there is a limit to how much a family can spend. They need to hear you say, “We can’t afford that,” or, “We will have to save money for that.” Letting them know that financial resources are limited will help your children understand the value of saving and careful, conscious spending. It also conveys the message that material goods are not the most important things in the world.
- Stop feeling guilty. It’s easy to feel a sense of guilt for not giving into every one of our children’s desires. As their caretakers and parents, we want to give them the moon, the stars, and beyond. But there’s no reason to feel badly for instilling a sense of responsibility and independence in them. Ask kids to be responsible for what they lose or break, and impose consequences for negative actions. Age appropriate discipline is needed in order for them to become fully functioning adults.
Realizing that our children’s behavior toward finances and material possessions is a direct reflection of what we teach them can be a huge wake-up call. As it says in 1 Peter 5:3, “Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock.” Adjust your own attitude and you’ll be sure to see an adjustment in your children’s attitudes, as well. For more resources to help you along your journey to Catholic money management, feel free to browse our blog, or call us at (844) 447-6263 today.