Parents, Kids and the Two Sides of Money

I would imagine that many of you out there are parents. Maybe parents of young children, maybe your kids have already grown. Possibly, somewhere in between. For any and all of you, I want to pose you one simple question:

What are your children’s thoughts on money?

It is a broad question, but I wrote it that way to make it applicable to as many situations as possible. To go into it a little deeper, I’ll ask these questions:

Have you EVER talked to your kids about money?

Do you feel qualified to do so? (Meaning, are your finances generally in line?)

Have you talked to your kids about the two sides of money?

And I could go on and on.

My first point is this-you need to talk to your children about money. Yes they have teachers at school and coaches at school and friends and they have you for a variety of other things, but I think you are doing your children a disservice by not talking to them about money.

What about money? Well, in a nutshell, everything. Many figures have been bandied about as to when is the best time to begin talking to kids about money. In my estimation, I think that “right now” would be a good time.

The only thing that I think needs to be looked at is to what level you discuss money with them. I have a three-year old at home, and we have talked about money, but trust me, it hasn’t been about investment strategies for my 401K. For him, it’s more along the lines of “Well, we can’t buy something from every single store we go to because we don’t have enough money.” Or “If you help me vacuum the house every week, I will give you a dollar so you can go buy some of your favorite suckers.”

This is not a comprehensive list, but I think that there are some concepts that we need to do our due diligence on and ensure that our children are at least aware of. Of course, if these are concepts that you yourself don’t practice or believe in, well, maybe this isn’t the conversation for you.

Here is my short list:

First, that money is not an infinite thing. That you don’t have all of it in the world (at least not yet).

Second, that with work (not necessarily hard work), comes money.

Third, that in this world that we live in that thinks it’s OK to constantly be in debt, there are huge, unending benefits to staying out of debt.

Fourth, that if you have extra money, you can get that to make more money for you without working.

And I could go on and on.

Another thing that I would be sure to instill in them is that there are two sides to money. Not necessarily a good and a bad side, but just two sides. I will give you an example. When I was growing up, whenever it came to something extra in our household, it almost always came down from the mountaintop (if you know what I mean) that we didn’t have enough money for it. Whatever it was. And I guess, most of the time, it was true. My parents lived a middle class lifestyle, and we had our fair share of nice things, but I always remember hearing that we never had enough money.

The problem with that is that when we were able to build a pool in the back yard, or buy a brand new car or whatever else it was, we never really heard that we actually did have enough money. Therefore, we felt guilty for the first few years of having the pool because we still thought that we didn’t have enough money for it, and that my parents would be in the poor house because of it and how could we enjoy it and so on and so on and so on.

I understand why my parents took this approach with us; I am just saying that I think it was wrong. Of course it’s important to let your kids know that money is not an infinite thing, but you also have to let them know that by spending it wisely, that you can ENJOY certain things in life as well. This is what I like to call the two sides of money.

If you don’t do this, I fear your children will grow up with a quite negative view of money (some people call this your “money blueprint”, I say call it whatever you want). That money is something that has to be worked hard for, and very hard. That money is just something that you constantly never have enough of. That you’ll spend your entire life chasing that “money” carrot, always to fall just a little bit short.

I think it’s up to us to show our children that money is something to be worked for, but also to be enjoyed when possible.

Instilling the correct beliefs about money in our children is a responsibility that I think we as parents all need to take seriously.

If you’d like to see what people are saying about my book with respect to the influence it can have on children, check out the reviews it has received on Amazon.

I never even thought of this, but if you do have children in your life who need some money guidance, this book could play an important role in getting them on the right track.

Parenting Kids With ADHD

Kids with ADHD can succeed at school and grow up to be well-balanced individuals. The right treatment plan has a lot to do with how well an ADHD child turns out, but good parenting is also necessary for the successful treatment of ADHD. Here are some tried and tested ADHD parenting tips that work on even the most hyperactive and inattentive of kids.

Set down specific rules and remain consistent

Let your child know what specific behaviors are expected. It’s important for you to be as specific as possible to avoid confusing your child and to ensure that this desired behavior is repeated in the future. For instance, instead of saying “clean up after yourself,” tell your child to pick up his or her toys after playing or to make the bed every morning. Be consistent about these rules to avoid confusion.

Establish routines

Children learn by following routines, but this is especially true for kids with ADHD. Be strict about mealtimes, bedtimes, and the time they should be awake and ready for school. Place a limit on how long your kids can play video games, watch TV, or surf the Internet, especially on week days.

Assign chores

Assigning chores to your kids not only teaches them how to be responsible and independent; it also helps them establish their routine. Place a note on the kitchen table about the tasks your child is responsible for and what time he or she is expected to accomplish them. If you have more than one child, alternate the chores every other day so that they can experience doing a variety of housework.

Create a separate study room free from distraction

Kids with ADHD can sustain their attention in a room that is free from distraction. Transform your spare bedroom into a study room or library where your kids can do homework in peace. If there is no spare room for a library, relocate your kids’ toys and computer from their bedroom to the den so that they can study in a distraction-free room.

Motivate your child with small gifts

Also called positive reinforcement, motivating your kids with small rewards encourages desired behaviors. These rewards should be simple token gifts like a piece of candy, collectible stickers, or a simple toy. For older kids, use a more complex reward system where desired behaviors can earn points towards a bigger prize.

Never withhold your love and affection

Kids with ADHD also need signs of your love, encouragement, and support. You can show your kids the negative consequences of bad behavior by withholding certain privileges, but never withhold your love as a form of punishment. Doing so can damage their self-esteem.

  1. Parents & Kids

Talking with your Kids about Current Events?

Why not?  There are so many news articles on line, in newspapers and on TV that are truly worthy of noting.  The trick if you’re going to talk with your kids about them is to avoid our adult urge to “comment” and/or share our own opinions.  Talk about a turn off!  Most kids are pretty darned sure about OUR opinions–and they don’t need a lecture from us.

The purpose of talking to kids about current events is to get THEIR opinions and thoughts.  For example, just recently there was a news story about Levi Johnson (you know Bristol Palin’s former boyfriend?).  He was being interviewed and was asked: “Do you have any regrets?”.  He replied that he didn’t regret “being a father”.  No matter what your political beliefs, this is a great lead-in to a discussion.

In this example, no matter what your opinions and ideas on the subject, this in-the-news broadcast issue can provide a glimpse into your child’s notions and beliefs about many aspects of this story.   This could be a good opening to talk about “premarital sex”, “teen relationships”, “behavioral choices”,  “risky behavior”, “long-term plans”, and a whole bunch more.

If you wanted to start a conversation with your child about any of these issues, how would you begin?  Sit down and say, “I’ve been wanting to talk to you about ____”  or “Now’s a good time for us to talk about ___” Or “What do you think about ____?”  Any of these openings delivered out-of-the-blue is likely to illicit an unspoken thought: “Oh, boy, here we go…here comes the lecture!”

The mistake that many parents might make in bringing up a life-lesson subject into a discussion is that we adults often want to lead the discussion.  After all, we’ve got the maturity and life-long experience to impart.  When we tout our own opinions before finding out what our children think, we often shut the door to an open and genuine conversation.  Kids often perceive the spontaneous personal “conversation” as a one-way lecture and give us a glazed stare–have you noticed?

Instead, using another outside-the-family specific person or event (like one “in the news”), provides a sense of being an observer to the issue.  By seeing the issue from a slight distance parents and kids can talk about them and their issues–them or what they or how that worked for them–it’s not quite so personal or open to personal criticism or embarrassment.

Here are some tips to connecting with your child and finding out what he/she thinks:

     Be vigilant!  Be on the look-out in the newspaper, on-line and in televised news for stories that can open a discussion.  It might be about sex, drugs or music–it might be about personal safety–it might be about school behaviors or education.  The news is full of ideas–EVERYDAY!

    Ask if your child heard the story (on the news, in the paper or on-line) about _____.  If not, explain what happens in the story.  If so, ask, “What do you think about it?”

    Be prepared to ask open-ended questions so that you won’t get a “uh” or a “yes” or a “no”.  Try questions like “What do you think he was thinking?” or “What do you imagine he thought was going to happen?” or “How do you suppose he got in that predicament?”.

    Avoid asking leading or personal questions like: “You wouldn’t do that, would you?” or (even worse) “You wouldn’t be so foolish as to think that, would you?” or “How can I be sure you aren’t going to get into that type of trouble?”.

    Ask your questions and give your child plenty of time to respond.

    Avoid judging his/her response, notions or beliefs.  Notice your own tendency or desire to preach or teach and DON’T.  Keep asking open-ended questions so your child can keep sharing and talking.  This is your opportunity to find out what your child needs to know or understand–not your time to act on it.

    If the “discussion” goes awry, apologize for YOUR part in the conversation.  Explain that you just wanted to talk TOGETHER about what YOU had seen “in the news”.  But, don’t defend your position about the subject–it’ll lead to an argument if your child disagrees.  Or it might even shut your child down and close a future window of opportunity for discussion.

    Be gentle on yourself.  Talking WITH kids is tough!  It takes practice and intention to automatically use “open-ended” questions.  It takes a true desire to find out what your kids think and belief and resist the immediate desire to correct their thinking.

Parenting requires patience, skill, knowledge–and experience.  Your children are out-there exposed to all sorts of ideas and behaviors.  Our job is to assist them to do what we did–learn from what we observe and experience.  Talking with your kids about issues “out-there” makes it easier to open a conversation about a subject, learn from it and change or confirm beliefs and ideas.  Luckily there is a lot of hot-topics in the news everyday we can use to start the dialogue.