Do you need that mobile phone now?

| March 12, 2012

Staff writer - Maureen Gordon

Do we give children what they want or what they need? I believe that many parents now indulge their children out of a sense of guilt. The rhetoric is I give them what they want, because I don’t want to lose their love, or I just want a peaceful life.  Or maybe the fear is when I was growing up I had nothing, so I am going to make sure that my children never lack anything. But this often shows up our own insecurities. If we have a parenting style which subscribes to this rule then we see children who do not know how to take responsibility for their actions, because they have no-one who says no to them. Parents cannot blame their children for being ungrateful or unappreciative if they have not laid the foundations first.

When we are children and we ask our parents for things, we often have very little concept of the bills and other outgoings they have. We don’t believe that they don’t have the money, but think they are just being “cheapskates” However what they mean is that they have money but it is not to be used to buy another game console or new pair of designer shoes. Where does money grow, not on trees! But this was often what I was told that money was growing on the tree so I could go and get some if I needed it.

We are living in a world of instant gratification, I call it the microwave mentality, a microwave heats up food in half the time, but sometimes when you are waiting on the microwave it does not seem fast enough. We want things now, no waiting. Children today are exposed to this world of instant gratification, and on the whole I think most of them grow up with a false concept about money and its true value. I am not sure who said this but there is a saying “get rich quick or die trying” I believe that many people are now subscribing to this idiom.

Photo courtesy caringisthekey.org

I remember many years ago when I worked in a children’s home one of my tasks was to teach some of the young people in my care life skills in preparation for leaving the care home. This was one of the hardest things to do because in my opinion I was several years too late in giving these basic instructions. Many of these young people were ill prepared for the real world of paying bills, buying clothes and food on a limited budget. At the age of 15/16, they had no interest in saving money, but in spending. They were being prepared for a “rude awakening” which they did not want to be prepared for.

What is the moral of my story: We owe it to our children to teach them the true value of money and this should be done from an early age, they need to know that there is not a limitless supply out there. That getting rich quick is a pipe dream for many, and that working hard for what you need does pay in the long run. Money really does not grow on trees. What do you think…have you got a money tree?

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Category: Culture & Society

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