Parenting Dilemma

Our daughter is starting to exhibit weird behavior. For the last few days, she has been taking common, everyday items from around the house (e.g. books, a box filled with LiteBrite pieces, an egg she colored in school) and wrapping them in wrapping paper, tying them up in bows, then pretending that they’re gifts to her. Is this some desperate cry for help? Is she so starved for stuff that she’s creating an imaginary universe full of “gifts” from “friends” who care? I always suspected I’d drive her into therapy, but I never thought it would be over this trying-not-to-buy experiment.

Then to add to my guilt and bewilderment, she started asking some tough questions about the allowance we recently started giving her. She receives $.75 each week if she cleans her room once, cleans the playroom once, and then does normal stuff like get ready for school on time without my evil drill sergeant act. I made 3 little jars for her, and out of her allowance she puts a quarter in savings, a quarter in to give away to others, and a quarter in to spend. Today, after counting her big spending money, she said “but hey, I thought we weren’t buying anything? What am I going to do with all of this money?” The girl is racking up some serious dough–I don’t know how long I can hold her off!

I’m trying to teach a little financial and environmental responsibility here…what would you do?

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3 Responses to Parenting Dilemma

  1. BeLinda says:

    My son and I plan what he is saving his money for. I try to keep him thinking about the plan instead of wanting the instant gratification of the cheap thing he takes an interest in on our latest trip to wal-mart. He is planning to save up about $30 to buy a lego set. The last time he saved up $60 and also bought a toy for his little sister out of his own money so she would not feel left out! Maybe you need a good toy catalog and a chart for a special toy to save towards.

  2. Kari says:

    I just found this site (via Naked Ledger) today, and have already read back through the beginning. I love it! Noble goal, and even if you fall a little short, better something than nothing, right? Already you inspired me to skip the soda with my lunch. Baby steps. =)

    Let me hedge my further comments by saying right up front that I’m a whopping 23 years old, unmarried, and don’t have the faintest clue what it takes to be a parent. I’m not claiming any particular wisdom. I was a child in a family that had to “do without” pretty often (and remember what it felt like), and have some experience working with emotionally disturbed children, and there ends my credentials.

    My best guess is that, yeah, she’s missing the shopping. New things make a kid (and me, for that matter) feel special and valued. Maybe you can help her become aware of those emotions and how she can find them other ways, like spending time with family or being proud of her schoolwork. As for her allowance… Good luck! I can distinctly remember my mother’s voice (“You don’t need it, we’re not getting it!”) and my certainty that she was the worst mother ever. A decade later, though, I love her for it. I’m surprisingly financially responsible for someone my age, and I know I owe 99.7% of that to my mom. All the same, I could totally understand making her allowance an exception to the rule, since the idea is to teach her good decision making by giving her decisions to make.

    However you handle it, I wish you the best of luck, and will be sheering you on and checking back in for updates. Thanks for such a great blog!

  3. Angela says:

    I’m so glad I found out about this site from the Naked Ledger. I’m reading all your posts too and thought this one was very funny, esp. the evil drill sergeant phrase. I don’t have any advice but am cheered by Kari’s post about what her Mom taught her about financial responsibility. Maybe your example to your daughter will do the same thing.

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