My kid has an epic case of the gimmies

The solution? Give them the power



From the September/October 2016 issue of the magazine.

toddler tantrums


You want the hard truth? They learned it from you. If you keep saying, “No, we don’t need that,” while impulsively adding things to the cart, they pick up the pattern, says Alyson Shafer, parenting expert and author of Ain’t Misbehaving and Honey I Wrecked the Kids. And once they’re in full meltdown, it’s too late for reason. “That part of their brain is offline,” she says. “All you can do is comfort them. Give them a quick rub on the back and ask, ‘Can you calm yourself or do we need to go?’” It’s okay to pick them up—“in a loving way, not like a rolled carpet”—and head back to the car, adds Shafer. Your kindergartner’s not going to come around to your point of view today. The problem, she says, is that we have the purchasing power, not them—and that’s infuriating. The solution? Give them the power. “You can ask, ‘Do you have your money with you? This costs three allowances. No? We’ll need to come back when you have enough.’” As for setting those allowances, Shafer says to be realistic. “Think of what you’re actually spending on them—all those dollar-store visits—and transfer the purchasing power to them.” After all, with great power comes great responsibility.

A guide on how not to raise money monsters:

Ages 0 to 6: My first money moves »

Ages 7 to 12: Saving not spending »

Ages 13 to 17: Big kids, bigger budget »

Ages 18+: Preparing to launch »

How to explain…

Basic budgeting to kids »
Compound interest to kids 
Net worth to kids »

Ways your kids can earn and save

Run a successful lemonade stand »
Save money at school  »

Awkward money questions

Should you pay your kids to volunteer? »
Should I buy my 10-year-old a smartphone? »
Does my kid need a clothing allowance? »
Should I give my teen a credit card? »
My kid called from college and is broke again »

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