Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Don't Assume Your Children Are Idiots

This article really pisses me off. Yes, I'm sure that many of these parents just needed a quick five bucks to go get some milk, and returned six dollars. But there are also a lot of parents who routinely raid their kids' stash. I had a friend in middle school whose parents would routinely go through his room and take his money - to the point that we only gave him gift certificates or toys for his birthday, instead of money. (The original idea was that since he and I were big Lego fans, the money was to buy Legos.) My own original reason for wanting a checking account (at age 12) was to deposit my babysitting money so my sister couldn't "borrow" it without asking me out of its special box.

The underlying assumption behind the raiding parents' activities is that their children don't know what is going on with their money, won't notice or don't care, and won't get mad at their parents if they do find out. If your kid has a piggy bank at all, that means they're at least somewhat on the road to learning to manage their money. But if your parents are raiding your piggy bank, then all you learn is that your parents view your savings as money that is going to be theirs, and that makes children into hoarders. It is a basic instinct to protect what you have if you feel threatened. It may also teach children that it's okay to take from others. More importantly, it teaches them that just because you don't have the money doesn't mean you can't still buy what you want. Children are a lot more versatile than adults in many ways, and may not understand that the electricity bill is a "need" for which you have to commandeer their money, especially when they've seen you get hundreds of dollars out of ATMs. God only knows what is going on with the 16% of parents who took the money for frivolous things. (Although one must commend their children on accumulating a sizeable enough stash that it could even make a dent in a new car's price.)


shamedsteven said...

Hi! I'd love to be a part of the Under 30 Honor Roll. I tried to send you an email about it, but it got bounced back to me, and I haven't had a chance to try to correct my mistake.

Thanks for the link!

Jason said...

The problem is most "grown-ups" do not have money sense. It is very hard to teach your kids about responsibilty when you drive an Escalade when you are living on food stamps.

I was a teacher for five years and my students had no sense of responsibilty. It was all about me, me, me. They do not care about the consequences if it benefits them now.

We are seeing the same thing with the housing market. Too many people are going into foreclosure becasue they signed up for an ARM interest rate because they wanted a house. In the past they had no way to afford the mortgage rat, but because the ARM they were able to mjove in and they will be out in about two years.