BEING a parent is a challenging job. It's a job that requires lifelong commitment, and you cannot resign from it even if you feel you can't cope. And what's more, parenting requires skills that are not obtainable from school, college or university. Parenting and managing money are the two most important skills that we learn from our parents or adults with whom we grew up, be they our grandparents, nannies or guardians.
As you go through the process of
considering how to communicate with your parents and siblings about
managing family wealth, you will realise the need to teach your children
about money so that you are able to leave your own legacy behind for
your children to communicate and manage money harmoniously as a family.
is really not one proven or standard method of parenting and teaching
children about money because of different personalities, behaviours and
attitudes. We teach children about money based on how we were taught
about money by our own parents or guardians, and from the environment in
which we were brought up. Recall your childhood days, and how your
parents taught you about money. Were you taught to save your pocket
money or to spend it wisely?
Think about the environment you grew
up in. Were there times when your parents had money problems and you
often heard them argue about it? Or did your parents hide the fact that
money was hard to come by in the family? Or were you pampered by your
parents with toys, clothes and going out for fun activities and
Some parents have told me that because of the poverty
they experienced during their own childhood, they now try their best to
give their children a better life by lavishing them with the material
goods and experiences that they themselves never had. By indulging their
children, they are not allowing their children to experience financial
Different parenting styles
most parents learn parenting skills from their own parents or by
observing others, they will accept some practices and discard others.
Effective parenting requires interpersonal skills that can create some
emotional demands. Experts in early childhood development say an
important dimension of parenting is the style parents adopt when they
interact with their children. According to Maccoby and Martin's
parenting style typologies, there are four different parenting styles.
Depending on the child's character, different parenting styles lead to
1) Authoritarian parenting is a restrictive,
punitive style in which parents exhort the child to follow their
directions. The authoritative parent places firm limits and controls on
the child, and allows little verbal exchange. These parents tend to be
very strict and may control the children by limiting their wants and
desired wants. In this case, the children may either grow up to rebel'
by spending beyond their financial means to fulfil their childhood
desires, or they may become very good at managing their money.
Nurturing parenting is a style that encourages the child to be
independent but still places limits and controls on the child's actions.
Extensive verbal give-and-take is allowed, and parents are warm and
nurturing towards children. These parents often communicate and teach
their children to spend their money wisely by explaining to them the
importance of money.
3) Neglectful parenting is a style in which
parents are uninvolved in the child's life. Children whose parents are
neglectful often develop a sense that other aspects of their parents'
lives are more important than they are. Children who grow up in this
environment are often deprived of parental love and a sense of belonging
in the family. As a result, they may grow up spending lots of money to
fulfil their need for love from friends, and from their life partner. Or
they may spend money to boost their self-esteem because of the lack of
4) Indulgent parenting is a style in which parents
place few demands or controls on the children. These indulgent parents
will let their children do what they want. Children with indulgent
parents may often be spoilt by a variety of material things or an
impressive lifestyle. The spending behaviour of indulgent parents may
condition the children to spend more than they need or more than they
can afford when they grow up.
Imagine a situation where the
father is indulgent towards a child and provides gifts, toys, fun and
pleasure, while the mother, on the other hand, is a disciplinarian with
strict rules about gifts, toys, fun and pleasure. Who will the child
prefer to be with, and who will the child learn more from? You and your
spouse should decide on a best way to handle your children's money
expectations. It is important to be consistent and fair to lessen
potential family strife.
experts of child psychology, even from a tender age of 2 or 3 years
old, a child learns by observation, and from conversations and
experiences they have with adults. Hence, effective parenting warrants a
tremendous amount of proper learning methods and communication skills.
Understandably, today's parents are faced with more issues compared with
their parents; the fact that today's younger generation is growing up
in an era of media influence, technology advancement and the Internet
makes parenting an even more challenging job.
It can be painful
for parents to discipline and teach children about saving money,
particularly when their children are easily influenced by their friends
even as pre-schoolers. This is further compounded by the barrage of
advertisements on television and online media that tempts your children
with attractive toys, pretty clothes and accessories.
It does not
really matter how much money you have or how much joy you derive from
showering your children with material things. As parents, you have got
to show some restraint and boundary. You don't have to feel guilty about
scaling back on spending for your children. Your children may already
have more than they need more clothes and shoes than they can wear, toys
and games than they have time to play with.
Be mindful that
while you are conscious of good money habits for your children, you need
to ensure that your children's grandparents, godparents, aunties,
uncles, or other adults around them do not indulge them too much with
gifts. This may send your children the message that if they cannot get
what they want from you, they can get it from them.
some situations, a couple may bring different views and values about
money and parenting to the marriage. Because of personality, character,
family and life experience differences, couples do face conflicting
personal and family issues where money is concerned. Therefore, teaching
a child about money really begins with teaching your child about the
importance and meaning of life values as a family.
integrity, teamwork, helpfulness, trust, love, family support,
accountability, unity, filial piety, commitment, communication, sharing,
spending time with parents and siblings are some of the most important
family values that your children ought to know, even if they may be
younger than six years old.
Constant messages to your children
about how good family values are important in life, and that money
cannot buy such values, are more important than parental love expressed
in the form of material things for your children.
Teaching them important life values and let them know that money is a means to an end, and not for self-gratification.
than sending them to school to gain knowledge and social skills, the
money skills that you teach your children from an early age are the most
important life education you can provide them with and it actually
starts at home. It is as simple as how you and your spouse manage money
and communicate about money at home. Your good money skills will rub off
on your children.
May this be your new resolutions for teaching your children good money sense!