Any time there are different parenting styles and opinions in separate homes, there is bound to be some sort of conflict. Such is the case when one parent may be trying to raise their children with modest, perhaps even biblical, values when it comes to money and material possessions…but the other parent is completely in the opposite direction with this. Do you find yourself in disagreement as to the way your child’s mother (or father) teaches them about money? Do you feel as if they are being spoiled or not taught to appreciate what they are given? If so, here are three quick tips to counteract this based off the National Center for Fathering’s Championship Fathering initiative:
Love Our Children
It’s pretty tough to compete for a child’s affection when they are seemingly being given everything money can buy and all we can offer is ourselves. Though it may appear as a losing battle at times, I promise you there is nothing more important that the giving of your time and self to your child. Bless them with a gift or surprise moment (such as going out for ice cream or pizza) when you can—but make it special. Small sacrifices that are genuine will always outweigh superficial gifts that eventually become garage sale items. Once our children are grown and look back on their childhood, it will be the little, yet eternal, times that they will hold on to forever (2Corinthians 4:18).
Coach Our Children
God has ordained us parents to raise our children in His ways and teach them His Word and truths. Coaching our children means teaching them about life: values, health and safety, education, spirituality, finances, and so on. In order to lead our children on proper money management (no matter how big or small), we need to have a solid understanding of financial stewardship as well…and then live it out. Surely the Bible is our number one source for this, providing more explanations and guidance than any other subject. Other biblically-based programs such as Financial Peace University help us set a foundation to coach and model to our kids. Both showing and explaining to them these principles is a great way to counteract the potential long-term fallout of financially spoiled children.
Model for Our Children
The words “Do as I say and not as I do” have no business coming out of a parent’s mouth. Children WILL do what they see—and we are their greatest influencers in this area. When it comes to raising our children to be responsible with money and how to react when they receive gifts, we have an awesome opportunity before us. Don’t get caught up in conversations that begin with “Your mom shouldn’t buy you that…” or “She (or he for you moms out there) really needs to learn not to blow so much money…” Instead, stay consistent with the way you live your life and let them learn over time by your example. Sure, there may be some tough barriers to overcome. Kids are naturally programmed to want stuff. However in the long run I believe that responsible modeling of humble living will have a big impact. I have been talking to my daughter over the past couple years about our family’s budget. I explain to her what needs to get paid first and why; and that I will bless her when I can. That makes these times that much more special. I am confident you can do the same in your home too.
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. –Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)