Lesson: Do you give your kid money or do you make them earn it?

Matthew Hill |
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Money Lesson: Do you give your child money or do you make them earn it?

So you can’t say no to your child.  And to make it worse, daddy’s princess is always daddy’s little girl so how do you find the courage to help both your child, your family, and yourself better financially when it comes to money.

For me, the lessons on money started at a young age when if I wanted to swim in the pool for 10 minutes, I needed to do some lawn work.  Let me translate what that meant in my family—first, I had to go pick the weeds from the grass for 10 minutes and then upon completion(there was a confirmation of completion) you can go swimming for the next 10 minutes.  I guess we can argue that this wasn’t about money directly, but it was a lesson about value, and respect (or was it just cheap labor).  Either way for summer after summer as a kid on Long Island I was tasked with this until I said to father “why do I have to do this, none of my friends had too, your mean”—well I learned at that moment that everything in life shouldn’t be questioned and more importantly my dad said “if you don’t do it we have to hire someone to do it, and then you have to get a job to offset that payment”. 

I said fine, deal—turns out getting a job wasn’t a 1, 2, 3 task and they don’t pay you money as quick as “mom, can I get 5 bucks”.  It wasn’t that it would cost a lot to pick the weeds next to the pool but more importantly everything you do has a value, and just as important everything that you might not do that other people do still has a value and a cost.  I was lucky that my parents taught me this at young age, but it certainly didn’t mean that I would be successful in the future—but I can comfortably say that I respect the little things, I look at every dollar, and think every dollar that I save is for my family now—but the only problem for me now is I have daughter and I find myself being the yes dad—i.e. Dad can I get that doll? Yes. Dad I want this? Sure.  Repeat.  Repeat. Repeat.

With that, I thought back to my picking the weeds day with my dad and thought there were really some good times back then—and now my dad is sick and can’t pick weeds with me.  I guess what I am saying here is, there is not only a value about teaching a child about costs and values but if you do it with them you can also have some really nice memories along the way. 

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