“I will only be happy if you buy me something from this store” emotional blackmail from an eight year old.
At this point we had the following choices:
- Give in a buy her what she wanted
- Argue with her that she did not need anything in the store
- Just say no and ignore her unrelenting petitions and tears
- Say no and set an ultimatum if she continues to ask
All of these options have the same end result – someone had a bad shopping day.
We prefer a 5th option and one that we employed with our children – teaching personal money management. This requires that prior to each vacation and/or shopping trip, each child be given or allowed to earn their own spending money.
The amount should be sufficient to allow the child to purchase a respectable item or souvenir. Then it requires that parents hold tight to the following rules:
- Let the child purchase what they want as long as it is not morally or psychically threatening - (you get to control candy)
- Once the money is gone do not provide the child more money or criticise the child when they ask for more. Your response should be a gentle reminder that they have spent their money and finally
- Set your own spending allowance and keep to it - model to your children responsible money management.
You can still purchase treats for your child as long as the child knows this is your choice.
Each of our children had a wallet with their spending money in it a small note book and pencil. I kept the wallets in my purse and once the child picked out what they wanted together we would determine if they had enough money and if they did we would write the amount in the booklet.
In this way we raised children who learned personal money management and how to save for larger more expensive items.