You Want to Give Your Child The Best of Everything, But Should You?

As parents, we want to give our kids the best of everything.  We want to give them all the things and advantages we had as a child, or, alternatively, all the things and advantages we DIDN’T have as a child.

We want them to take the best lessons and classes and to have the best vacations.  We want them to have the latest fashionable clothes and the latest electronic gadgets that are the rage.  We want to hire tutors for them so they can do the best on their standardized tests and get into the best colleges.

We want them to have the best of everything, but should they?

When You Can’t Afford the Best

One blogger I follow often talks about how difficult her childhood was.  Her parents were frequently out of work, and they were routinely short on food.  However, every year when Christmas came, her parents splurged wildly so there would be many Christmas presents under the tree.

While she enjoyed the extravagance when she was little, as she got older, she began to resent her parents.  She didn’t need or want all the elaborate Christmas gifts.  She just wanted food on the table regularly, and those Christmas splurges made it more difficult to do so.  She resented how immaturely her parents were handling their money, even if it was supposed to be for her benefit.

Trying to give your child the best of everything when you can’t afford it inevitably leads to both relational and financial stress and conflict.  Ultimately, kids don’t need material things so much as financial security.

When You Can Afford the Best

Of course, there are plenty of people on the flip side of the coin who can afford to give their child anything they want.  The question is, should they?

When you can afford to give your child everything he wants, how much to give is an individual decision.

Still, giving limitlessly can set up an expectation in your child that she can get whatever she wants when she wants it.  Unless you’re going to support her for life, maintaining this standard will be increasingly difficult as she grows up and goes out on her own.   In addition, it can also ruin her work ethic because she’s used to just getting whatever she wants.

According to The Huffington Post, “Graham Tuckwell, the founder and chairman of ETF Securities,. . . does not plan to give much money to his kids because ‘lots of money is poisonous to have.  If you just give them stuff, it almost destroys their desire to do things and you actually end up with kids who are a lot worse off.'”

There is much to be said for making our children work for their own achievements and their own “stuff”.  Not giving them everything they want and that we may be able to afford to give them is difficult.  Still, it may be the best thing we as parents can do.

How do you determine how much to give your child and when to say no?