Any parent knows that having a child is expensive and that goes beyond the necessities. Outside of food, clothes, and school supplies, most parents are more than willing to buy their children toys, books, and movies. How much is too much though? Should your ten year old have a phone? How about your sixteen year old? Should they pay for it? Should you pay for it? How much is appropriate to spend on a video game for your child? Though there is rarely a solid answer to any of these, here are two complimenting principles and ideas to help you make your decisions.
- Don’t Buy Them Everything
Just because your child wants it does not mean they should have it. In fact, it is probably healthy if your child does not get everything they want. I’m not saying deny your child for the sake of denying them, but if you are spending ten to twenty dollars on candy and games every time you go to the store, there is a problem. Not only are you spending a lot of money on your child, you are teaching them that instant gratification for no work is acceptable. You are a parent, not an unlimited ATM.
- Have Your Child Earn Their Treats
To help prevent the above principle, it is healthy that your child, even in the toddler stage, work for their candy. The Bible says, “He who does not work should not eat.” If we should not receive basic necessity without doing work of some kind (I often think of the equivalent for bread as school), imagine what we should do to earn our goodies! It is healthy to set up either a chore payment system for children and/or to encourage them to baby sit or mow lawns for cash. This will help your child learn the principle that whatever they want they must work for.
These are two principles that can easily be applied by anyone to encourage responsibility and hard work in your child. If you have not been applying them, perhaps today is the day to start!