Save Money by Investing in Your Children

By Dina Marie on 25 April 2010 (Updated 29 April 2010) 1 comment

Finances are certainly not the most valuable thing gained from having a good relationship with your children, but it is definitely a benefit! While it is never too late to start laying the foundation for a relationship with your child, the earlier you begin the more money it could save you.

Peer pressure costs money!

I am sure this comes as no surprise to those of you who have experienced the effects peer pressure can have. Whether it is the latest clothing fad, the newest phone, or the coolest car, we can be talking big bucks. Not to mention the period of time during which your child, specifically teenagers, no longer thinks that you as the parent has a clue as to what is going on! As our children seek to keep up with and please their friends more than their own parents, tensions arise. How can this be avoided? How can you build a quality relationship? How can you protect your wallet?

Starting as an infant, our children look to us as parents for the meeting of needs, security, attention, and acceptance. Moving into the "terrible two's," children begin expressing their newfound independence gained through increased motor skills. This often results in tantrums. Our understanding of their developmental stage can help lay the foundation for a deep, lifelong relationship as we dispel the myth that the "terrible two's" are normal. This period of growth must be handled with wisdom, love, and firmness if the parent is to gain the child's respect. Starting at this early stage, clear communication of boundaries and expectations is imperative.

As our children grow, time must be taken to train and teach them the difference between right and wrong. This time spent is expressed in one-on-one with the child, family activities and finally, correction/discipline. The relationship should not be characterized by correction/discipline. In fact, time spent sincerely praising the good qualities of your child can actually decrease the amount of correction/discipline needed. This time together gives children the attention they crave. This is where, many times, our selfishness gets in the way. Selfishness is the opposite of selflessness or giving of ourselves. Often as parents, we must give of ourselves for the sake of our family. In this context, I am speaking of refraining from activities we may enjoy, so as to spend quality time with our children and family. Children mirror our example. If we place priority on family time, they will also.

This is not to say that activities we enjoy are wrong and should never be indulged in. The question is, where are our priorities? To use our activities as a means of escape is not placing priority on family relationships.

What difference does all this make? When we give children the praise they need and desire, they do not have to look elsewhere — to peers. When family values are instilled, children will begin to look at what is best for the family. Working together as a family for a common goal gives children a sense of belonging, a feeling of being needed and of valuable contribution. No longer will the latest fads, which are so important to their peers, mesmerize them. Now, they have a higher purpose. Family goals and parental approval become more important. Consideration will be given to the hours of work necessary to purchase items. Consideration will be given to the consequences of peer related activities. No longer will the defining influence in our children's lives be their peers, but rather, us, the parents.

Children are notorious for meeting the expectations placed upon them. If you expect nothing from your child, you will probably receive just that. If you expect teen rebellion, you will probably get it. It is time that we as parents stop accepting what our society calls "normal." Be proactive; develop a relationship with your child, with your family. Yes, it takes time and self-sacrifice. Is it worth it? I ask you, which would you rather have?

  • A child who looks to you with respect and admiration, who wants you the parent to be impressed and who values your opinion. Or...
     
  • A selfish child seeking acceptance anywhere it is offered and seeking to impress those around with the most popular (and usually most expensive) designer's attire, latest new electronic toy, etc.

The relationship is, of course, the most valuable asset gained from time invested with your child, children and family, but, the financial savings are certainly a benefit. Take the time to invest. If you do not do it in relationships you will have to invest in other ways.

This is a guest post by Dina-Marie, who can be found at Dimes2Vines.com where she shares her family’s adventure starting a vineyard in west Texas. With 8 children still at home, there is never a dull moment! Read more articles by Dina-Marie:

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This is a little tangential, but related to your post, and possibly playing devil's advocate... The older I get - and especially the more I travel - the more I think a lot of our problems (particularly in the 60/70s) with children are related to the modern atomisation of society, and how family's have become these little closed cells.

If you look at history or less 'developed' societies, children used to just run free with the peers - and parental law was absolute, but rarely enforced. Now their under our feet, and they have a 1000 rules and laws. It's just to claustrophobic, and leads to all this soul searching.

Not sure what can be done about it though.