We made it through our staycation while being frugal and not wasting our money on nonsense or frivolous things. When the kids asked to go to the gift shop at the water park we said no. When asked if they could buy toys we said not today. Except we didn’t say not today we said it’s too expensive or we don’t have enough money for that. Unfortunately we have always given in to our kids requests for toys and wasteful, cheap toys at parks, zoos or anything with a gift shop in it. But not this time, this time we said no. Which is much-needed and the kids handled it great! There was no whining,or begging or pleading it was just okay and we moved on. Just when I was about to pull out the most awesome parents in the world award for me and the hubby, then this happens.
I was in the car so this is second-hand from my husband so the truth as he told it to me. Got that? Okay here it is. The girls and hubby went in to the local walmart while I stayed in the car with Little man who had fallen asleep. As they were walking in the store 4yo suddenly says in her cute little way ” I don’t have nothing in my pocket!” Which of course means that she does, and when the hubby checked her pocket it was a thing of chap stick that she had pocketed from the store! Gasp! my innocent little girl just turned into a thief! He made her put it back of course and they went on their merry way!
When I asked her about the chap stick she said that her lips were hurting. I explained that if she needed to have chap stick she would have asked us to buy it for her, but we already had some at home. Her response was simply this. Well daddy wouldn’t buy it for me.’ of course he would have had she asked, but she didn’t and we certainly weren’t going to buy it after she tried to take it.
Now I am not blowing this scenario out of proportion, I know that kids are kids and at her young age, this can be normal for them to experiment with behaviors such as this. But I can’t help but think that our sudden talks of money and finances have led to this behavior. I want to teach my kids the value of money and what it means to work hard for that money, but I don’t want them to think that if they truly needed something that we wouldn’t get it for them. I guess I am learning one day at a time how to unspoil my kids. We make a decent living, but by no means are we rich. We live pay check to pay check like most of America, but we always have what we need and usually a little more.
We teach our children that money grows on trees and if you ask you shall receive but in efforts to stop this behavior, maybe we should focus not on the money but just that we do not need it. In hindsight this makes sense to me, but I sure wish I had made this position clear this week of staycation.
I’m learning every day about what it means to parent and one thing is clear, the work is never done! So this week I have learned that we need to focus on wants versus needs instead of making a blanket statement about money and how much things cost! I think I will make a chart of their needs vs. their wants so that maybe they can see the difference in a want or a need. What do you guys think? How do you distinguish a childs wants and needs while teaching them the value of a hard-earned dollar?