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Does your child love to spend money?

By By Sonya Rogers Education Columnist
At a very early age, children are responsible for the spending of enormous amounts of money. From diapers, to piano lessons, to summer camp, children are constantly requiring monies to support their wants and needs.Yet, during this time of spending, do children really learn anything about the value and function of money? In relation to all the money dispensed on their behalf, do they learn anything about budgeting or setting priorities?
It isn't odd to find some children who do not know what they want for Christmas being that they typically always get what they want throughout the year. Some grandparents have a difficult time buying gifts for their grandchildren being that the youngsters have many toys, games, and luxuries already. Moreover, many older Americans have a desire to see their children happy and well provided for being that they lived during the Depression. Yet, there still exists families who struggle to make ends meet and children whose expectations are much lower than some of their classmates.
On another note, some parents actually believe that it can't be good for children to have 'everything'. Some parents may feel as if they are swimming against a tide of materialism. However, as parents, we can teach our children the value of a dollar and the relationship between work and money. Many times, the lessons we teach, the way we teach them, and our attitudes and values are determined by the particular class to which we belong. Research suggests that occupation and education, not income, determine the class of an individual or family. It is true that working class people may earn more than professionals. Middle-class occupations tend to deal more with people. Whereas, working class occupations tend to deal more with objects or things and must conform to authority. One aspect the rich and the poor seem to have in common is the fact that they love to spend money!
In spending money, at times, we often come up short of what we want or need. As a result, some families forget that when money is a problem, children are always listening. They quickly learn when parents are at financial odds. Unfortunately, some children will venture to play one parent against the other as a means of gaining incentives. If parents cannot agree on their family spending, they must at least find a way to compromise and reach some kind of balance. Many marriages have failed due to serious disagreements about money. Psychologists imply that children learn far more from what their parents 'do' than from what they 'say'. Based on these implications, what rules do you uphold in your household in relation to money? Do your children really understand and appreciate the value of allowances, earnings, spending, and saving? What rational attitude towards money do you model for your children?
Sonya Rogers is an independent columnist for the Atmore Advance and may be reached by email at newsroom@atmoreadvance.com