I really have tried to explain the concept of money to my children. Perhaps not thoroughly enough, or with enough dedication, but I have tried. It is a subject that comes up all the time. I have tried to do allowance with the older three, working out with them tithe money, savings money and “their” money to keep. We made separate envelopes and kept it up, sporadically, for awhile. But then I fell out of the habit, or didn’t have the cash on hand, or forgot, and so allowance has been far and few between lately. Still, my kids know that when we go to the bank, that means Mommy has a check from Daddy and is putting it into her account. They know that when they do get allowance, the cash comes from the bank.
They ask for money a lot. The 8-year old wants Legos. The 5-year old sees a princess coloring book she wants to add to her collection of at least 100. The 3-year old wants gum and whatever else he can get his sticky fingers on in the store. The 11-year old, thankfully, is content to not have it.
I am not a give-in-and-buy-to-shut-them-up kind of mom. So I say “no” to their “I wants” and “can you buy mes.” If it isn’t their birthday in two days, I don’t want to hear what they want. They think this must be because I don’t have money, and so they always ask if that’s the reason. Lots of times it is. But even if I did have money falling out of my purse, I’m not raising gimme brats.
Sometimes this is a little embarrassing. Like being in the grocery store and they ask for a particular food…
“Can we buy Lucky Charms?”
“Why, because Daddy didn’t give you any money?”
“No… because they are bad for you.”
Sometimes, like I said, money is the case.
“Mommy, can we go to Chick-fil-A?”
“No… I don’t have money for that (and it’s bad for you and blah blah blah).”
Many times they ask if we can just drive up to the bank and get some money. I tell them it doesn’t work that way. Daddy has to make the money, we have a budget, Mommy gets some, Daddy gets some. But the money in the bank is our money. If we don’t have it in our account, the bank won’t just give it to us. I think this concept either has not, or refuses to sink into their heads. They always ask.
Today, my husband’s checkbook was sitting on the counter. They see me write checks for myself and Daddy sign them all the time. My 8-year old was thumbing through it thoughtfully, probably fantasizing about the giant Lego sets he has yet to own.
“Mom,” he said casually, “can I write a check?”
“But you write checks and get money. So can I write a check and get some money?”
“Nope. Doesn’t work like that.”
“Well, you can sign it after I write it.”
Sigh… we will have to work on this much more than I thought!