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Money: Don't cave in to your kids


Moms are especially prone to putting themselves last in financial matters. When they see that another family member needs help or desperately wants something, they may hand out money or buy a gift that ends up being a budget buster.

This problem is especially common when kids are involved. "MOM, everybody I know has a [fill in the blank]!" is a frequent plea.

The solution is easier to say than to do. How do you not cave in to your kids? You must set boundaries for your family's expenditures and not let your children put you in a financial bind. Remember, you are their parent: if you start giving in on money issues, you're more likely to give in on other vital, even moral issues.  Money is an easy place to draw a line in the sand. I also believe that it's frightening for kids when you give them the power to decide how your family's finances will be spent. When we take away their boundaries, we take away their security. Love your kids enough to say no when necessary – and look for opportunities to empower and educate them about the value of the dollar.

We love to say yes to our kids, and you can say yes in more than one way. Not just "Yes, you can have that" but "Yes, you can buy that. It's not in our budget right now, but this is what it costs and you can earn the money to buy it yourself." Maybe your kids can host a lemonade stand, start a car-wash business, dog-sit, sell baked goods, or do yard work in the neighborhood to earn the money they need. Because of the times we live in, these activities may require adult supervision. Recently, when my daughters, Lily and Chloe, and I left our lemonade stand for a few minutes to begin packing up, someone ran off with our chairs! Yet finding opportunities like this for your children has many benefits. They might discover a hidden talent or passion. They might learn to take pride in their efforts and see the connection between work and wages. Giving in too easily to your kids can actually rob them of their motivation and many valuable lessons.

Used with permission from the book Real Solutions for Busy Moms by Kathy Ireland with James Lund.

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