Would you like to hear what is wrong with our country right now?
Most people expect to have their lives handed to them. They expect to have to work as little as possible and get the most money they can. They expect to have grand benefits without having to pay for them. They expect to graduate high school/college and automatically have a better standard of living than their parents. They want really nice things without having to save up for them or work up to them.
Trust me, I know. I once had that mindset. Not to the degree that I see now from young people, but it was there. I thought I could do a little work and get by with it. That all changed when I found myself married with little ones, going to college, and working three part-time jobs just to get by with what my then husband was doing: working a full-time job, going to school, and coaching. We found ourselves knee-deep in debt and struggling to pay even minimum payments.
The good life is what you make of it, but teaching our kids that work is not part of that equation is a huge mistake. Teaching kids to works starts at home with both parents understanding and realizing that this is for the benefit of their children. One of the parents' goals in life is to make sure your kids can make their way in the world on their own. It will be a tough process with some pain, some tears, some pride, and some happiness. There will be arguments and fights.
The main priority for a parent is to teach. Teach your kids to be responsible. Teach your kids how to do the job. Teach your kids to see a job through to the end. Teach your kids pride in a job well done. Praise them for taking initiative in doing a job. Praise them when they have done well so they continue to want to do that job. Give your appreciation when a job is done. Correct them with the job has been done poorly or not at all.
And parents, learn to say no.
Saying no is critical to teaching your kids responsibility. Tell them no when they want things in the store. Explain to them that you cannot afford it or that it is not in the budget to purchase. Telling them no now will teach them self-control for later in life.
Tell them if they want things or privileges they must work for them. Show them how you must work to afford things everyone needs in the family. Show them your priorities: keeping a roof over your head, paying for utilities, and paying for other things like telephone and internet service.
Give them jobs at home. Teach them to work at home. Whether you want to pay out an allowance is your decision. I chose not to, but I kept tally of what my kids did so it they wanted to purchase something or go to a movie, I would pay them then.
When your kids get old enough, encourage them to work outside the home. My girls have all started babysitting for others when they were twelve. I had them babysitting at home when they were eleven so they knew how to look after others responsibly. Shali and Jordan are 18 and 16 respectively and both have been working in a restaurant since 16. They cook food and help wait tables. I showed them how to cook when they were younger, had them making meals, and helping me in the kitchen since they were little. Those skills helped them to get jobs later on. The side benefit to this is that they both know they do not want to spend the rest of their lives as cooks in a restaurant. They enjoy the work, but it is not their lifelong ambition.
Now if the girls want something outside of their basic needs or what I think is over and above what I am willing to purchase for them, they have the option of buying it themselves. They may or may not purchase that item because they must decide if that is good way for them to spend their money or if they have to have that item. What I have taught them in this is that it is not okay to spend my money or other's money if they are not willing to buy that item with their own money. This also stands for going to the movies and out with friends.
This helps them prioritize their money. A tip I got from another parent is to have your kids pay you a payment every month. This will help them understand and be responsible for a monthly payment. He then gives the kids back their money when they go to college. I thought that was a brilliant idea!
Teaching your kids to work, understand prioritizing their needs and wants, and how to live within their means are life lessons. This is not something they figure out themselves when they get on their own without some very painful lessons. The parents' responsibility is to teach your kids to live successfully on their own when they leave home. They will need that taught self-control and discipline to live and survive on their own. Depriving them of that can be a true tragedy.
Do you want that to happen?
Thanks for reading!