Parents Gone Wild — Stop and Set Some Limits

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I think a lot about how to teach my children about being responsible. This includes their relationship with money. So many parents I see are afraid to say no. It ain’t always pretty but then again neither is parenthood. And we are the parents.

Basil Bizarro from “Bizarro World Debt Elimination Freak Show” had a really illustrative story about this yesterday. Read about “Spoiled, Drag Racing Teens, or A Quick Snapshot of the Future Debt-Ridden

I also just read a great article about this on SmartMoney.com called Overspending on Kids Risks Parents’ Financial Future.

The article outlines 4 common mistakes that parents make — I’ve added some of my own comments about each of the mistakes.

(1) Ignoring their retirement.
As everyone says there are lots of ways to finance a college education but no one will give you a loan to retire.

(2) A bedroom for everyone
The author said that because parents feel that every kid needs his or her own room that parents move to bigger houses with bigger mortgages. Our kids sleep in a small bedroom together and they are perfectly happy. The room is even light pink. Our son has never even remarked upon it.

(3) Keeping up with the Joneses’ kids
Living in a city like LA you see some pretty ridiculous things. The most over the top thing we’ve seen was one family who hired a top notch (someone with the air of a Jim Henson) puppeteer to perform for a bunch of 3 year olds. The kids would be happy to have cake in the park. Why not do that? Every year our bday parties for the kids get more and more simple. This year we had our daughter’s bday at a park on Earth Day. This was a great excuse to not decorate. Why introduce more crap that costs money and will end up in a landfill? And goodie bags? Nah. We gave the kids packets of seeds to take home.

(4) Not teaching them about money
In my own family we never talked about money. There are many reasons for this but the main one I think was that my mother grew up in a poor family where money was constantly talked and stressed over. My mother didn’t want us to worry about money so her solution was to never discuss it. While I agree that parents shouldn’t show stress about money in front of kids I think it’s important to talk openly about money and the choices we all need to make in how we earn and use it.

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4 Responses to “Parents Gone Wild — Stop and Set Some Limits”

  1. basil Says:

    Right on! Great post. Money was never discussed in our family; in fact, the subject was even more taboo than sex – and my parents NEVER mentioned sex.

    I’ve heard stories about L.A. Bar and Bat Mitzvahs that would blow your mind. Talk about kids getting the wrong message.

    You guys are awesome – love the seeds idea!

  2. mapgirl Says:

    HI!

    Thanks for the awesome comment you left for me about this same article. Your birthday party idea is pretty amazing and sounds pretty fun.

    I’m sure your son doesn’t care now, but around 12 he might. Boys can be funny that way. They like to call ‘pink’ ‘salmon’. *winky*

    I shared a room as a wee little kid and honestly, I think that fights are going to happen between siblings whether or not they share a room, so it’s ok to make them share if that can mean a better future for everybody. When I shared a room in college, I realized I was a crappy and inconsiderate roommate probably because I hadn’t shared a room on a full-time basis since I was 5 years old.

  3. ladydoughgirl Says:

    Thanks Mapgirl and Basil for your feedback.

    Yep, no one ever died from sharing a pink room, eh?

    No one was ever called a bad parent for not spending enough money on their kids goodie bags either, I don’t think.

    It’s fun to find this blog community that helps me focus on realizing my goals — to kick our debt down and then live responsibly. I have to say that the blogging helps me stay focused and from getting too down about how far I have to go. Thanks!

  4. National Debt — Boomer Legacy? « finance psychology Says:

    […] called Boomeritis. One of the premises is that boomers eat their young. Highly pertinent regarding parenting we’ve observed. The book itself might be okay if it was the first of his you’ve read, […]

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