Author Alina Adams immigrated to the U.S. from present-day Ukraine when she was 7 years old. In a recent article titled Foreign ideas: a look at what immigrants think about Americans and their financial attitudes, by Michael De Groote, Adams shares how her childhood poverty has influenced her spending habits.
"Americans seem to believe that if their children do not get everything they want when they want it, they will be sad. And that being sad is a bad thing. And that it is a parent's job to keep their children from ever feeling sad. And that the best way to do that is to buy them things," Adams says in the article.
Adams points out that people buy things they cannot afford. "I have three children. I would never think to buy them something they want with money I don't have," Adams adds.
Sometimes, in our efforts to please our kids, we give in to their desires. We purchase that new sweatshirt or new phone that we know our kids don't really need.
Children are impatient. Asking them to save some money and wait a few months to get what they want can be a tough sell. But it's usually better parenting to not give in.
Your kids don't need everything right now because:
They won't appreciate things later
When your pampered daughter becomes an adult, she may expect to have all the luxuries she enjoyed as a teen: a nice car, up-to-the-minute wardrobe, upscale décor and furnishings. But part of starting out in life and creating a household is to start small. When you live simply at the beginning - with hand-me-down furniture in a musty apartment - you look forward to making improvements later. Those improvements are exciting and worth the anticipation.
You can't buy their happiness
You've probably heard this before, but it's true that your kids won't remember the shiny new toys of childhood. What they will remember are the moments you spent with them and the time that you gave.
Too much stuff can be overwhelming for kids. With so many different toys and gadgets, how can kids really appreciate anything?
Disappointment and delayed gratification are valuable life lessons
When life hands out its disappointments and your grown children suffer through tough times, they'll be better prepared to deal with hardship. Even if you have the financial means, limiting the gifts and money you provide them will better serve them later. Let your kids experience disappointment. It'll strengthen their characters.
When I was a teen in the 80s, I had the popular 'do of the times: a long, curly perm. To maintain my perm, I used a certain line of hair products that touted silky, soft spirals and a longer perm life.
One day, my mom announced that the honeymoon was over. No more adding my deluxe shampoo and hair products to the grocery list. I had to learn to rough it; I had to use the same shampoo my siblings used, unless I wanted to purchase the products with my own money.
Kids don't need top-of-line brands and items. Save the little luxuries for adulthood.
Strengthen your resolve to not always give in. You love your cute kids, but part of loving them is saying no.