What are you teaching your kids about money?
15 year old son assaults his father as the boy desperately wanted a 200 cc bike which the father said he was unable to afford, that the teenager was well short of the legal driving age was secondary. The boy continued to plead with his father for months. One day, the father became upset and tried to hit his son. the boy retaliated and assaulted the man.
8 year old boy(from Almora in Uttarakhand) became upset at his father’s plan of buying an economy model car and was insisting that his father buy a more expensive sedan. He did not eat for days and the family was in distress. He would keep reminding his father that if he bought the small car, he would be treated like a pariah in class.
5 years old Aarush wanted chocolates. When his mother says There is no more he tells her, “Go buy some.” When Mother says “I have no money”. “Get it from ATM” quips Aarush.
You would have come across similar stories about children insisting on being dropped in a chauffeur-driven car to school, bullying parents into buying premium brands of electronic gadgets etc etc. And we are talking about middle class families. More convesartions of kids on money at our Kids and Money Conversations, Kids and Money Talk. Rich families have different set of problem as they feel a need for instant gratification, an abundance of money, feelings of emptiness and lack of purpose, minimal parental supervision, and alcohol and drug addiction. More at Wall Street Journal, The Problem With Delhi’s Rich Kids
Kid is King
Thanks to TV, internet kids are exposed to brands from young age. The relationship between children and parents have changed in recent times especially due to nuclear families, both parents working. Earlier the kids could not talk to their father but now parents consult their children before buying. And kids are smart they have started using it for their advantage.
A paper recently presented by Ritu Bhattacharyya and Sangita Kohli on target marketing to children at IIM Calcutta showed that most children from two-year-olds to adolescents used pester power to acquire a variety of products.The survey showed that
- Children aged between 2 and 5 years used pester power with parents to buy toys or to get their TV time.
- Those in the age group 5-8 years used it to get themselves new gizmos, decide on places to eat out, the clothes they would buy and TV time and programmes.
- Older children in the age group of 8-11 used their pester power for new gizmos, mobile phones, video games, clothes, choice of food, choice of holiday destinations, TV time and programmes.
- Children between 11 and 14 years decide what the family buys in terms of consumer electronics brands in categories like TVs, music systems, PCs and mobile phones, as well as cars; they also decided what their parents would wear and the places they would visit.
The growing influence of children on the market can also be gauged from the number of advertisements that today focus on the child. From automobile brands to real estate to exotic holiday plans, advertisers are trying to sell their product from the child’s vantage point.
Survey by Cartoon Network in 2012 confirms that Kid is King as shown in picture below Ref Times of India From cars to apparel: Parents finding it difficult to accommodate brand-conscious kids’ demands :
Aesop’s fable : Thief and his mother
A boy stole a lesson-book from one of his school fellows and took it home to his Mother. She not only abstained from beating him, but encouraged him. He next time stole a cloak and brought it to her, and she again commended him. The Youth, advanced to adulthood, proceeded to steal things of still greater value. At last he was caught in the very act, and having his hands bound behind him, was led away to the place of public execution. His Mother followed in the crowd and violently beat her breast in sorrow, whereupon the young man said, “I wish to say something to my Mother in her ear.” She came close to him, and he quickly seized her ear with his teeth and bit it off. The Mother upbraided him as an unnatural child, whereon he replied, “Ah! if you had beaten me when I first stole and brought to you that lesson-book, I should not have come to this, nor have been thus led to a disgraceful death.” (Ref: About.com Aesop’s fable)
Role of Parent
It is our job as parents to lead by example and set clear objectives and boundaries for our children .You either spoil them or you make them realize the value of money just like you make them realize the value of good health, family values, discipline.
Often parents don’t want their children to go through the hardships they experienced growing up. But they fail to teach them there is more to life than fancy drinks, new toys and branded clothes. Our article If only I had taught him.. shows how not saying no to kids esp. related to money matters can come to haunt you later in life.
Resources to Teach Kids about Money
Listed below is the kids road to financial literacy(Click on image to enlarge).
Our website Bemoneyaware.com has Kids and Money section devoted to teaching kids about Money, Spending , Earning, Bank, Credit Card, Investing and also games. Also section for Parents & Money with information on videos,books for teaching kids about money.
So how are you teaching your kids about money? What do you tell them and at what age