Ask any parent or caregiver or parent what they want most for their kids, and you’ll likely get a generalized answer something along the lines of “I just want the best.” (A variation of this that appears with great frequency is “I just want to give my kids more than I had” or “I just want to give my kids what my parents couldn’t give me.”) Giving your kids the best of everything might be doing more harm than good when it comes to your children’s financial stability, however.
Buying the best for your child teaches your child they don’t have to strive.
Let’s just be honest and admit it: No one likes to work harder than they have to. This is as true for kids as it is for adults. Kids quickly learn how far they have to go or push before you will step in. If you always act as the financial safety net who covers debts and buys the “must have” designer items, your children might simply see you as the Bottomless Bank of Mom or Dad, not as a financial guide. They might not push themselves as hard to earn what they want if they know you’re going to guarantee success. Conversely, if you tell your children they have to earn it, they’re inspired and have financial goals. With financial goals, your children have something to invest and track.
Covering your children’s tabs reduces feelings of reward and self-achievement.
Related to the idea of striving and setting goals, earning money for one’s own things or activities provides a struggle and win situation. When your children set up a plan, follow it and meet their expectations, they can be proud of themselves and everything that has led up to their purchase. When you supply all funds, your children might recognize that love is involved in your gifts, but they won’t be able to say, “I did that for myself.”
Getting your kids everything they need or want stifles creativity.
If you pay for everything in your children’s lives, they really don’t have many financial problems to solve. Subsequently, you don’t force them to come up to creative ways of looking at money and making it work for your kids. Later on when they’re out on their own, if problems with money come up, your child might not be able to go beyond “tried and true” tactics, having limited options, or they might have trouble in areas such as business or the stock market where risk is built in.
Paying for the best creates a cycle of spending.
Much of what children do financially and with brand loyalty is based on what they see their parents or caregivers do. Simply put, if you spend a lot all the time, your children likely will feel some degree of obligation to do the same. Your children might not learn that there are more economical ways of handling situations.
Providing everything might make your children less accepting of those who have nothing.
When you buy only the best of anything and do so consistently for your children, you teach your children to laud a particular standard. This standard might be much higher than what others are able to achieve. If your children see getting the best as nonnegotiable, they might not be willing to socialize with or learn from others from different economic levels—that is, you teach the class system. Even if your children are willing to engage others outside of their economic level, they might not be able to truly empathize because they’ve never been without.