Learn to say ‘no’ to your children!

Learn to say ‘no’ to your children!

There were sparkles in her eyes and I thought she is going to tell me some good news that she has secured full marks in one of her recently held class exams. However, this was not to be as I was completely proven wrong on my imagination the moment I heard her polite demand.

Suddenly, I was taken aback when she said that I must buy her a nice touch screen phone. And as is the case with most children, she demanded to know my answer immediately and I knew what she was expecting – nothing less than an empathetic “Yes”. I sat on the sofa, composed myself and explored further as to why she has suddenly demanded a touch screen phone.

Her answer was quite on the expected lines, as she heard her friends in school talking about a touch screen phone. Probably, some of her friends possess such a phone at this tender age, instead of the usual toys which they should be playing with. My daughter was insisting for my answer and I straightway said “No”.

The moment she heard my answer, she made a very hard statement on me by stating: “Dad! You don’t love me”. She has passed a verdict on my love and affection towards her and then I had to work really hard to make her understand the otherwise. We, all parents, undoubtedly and unquestionably love our children from the bottom of our hearts.

But remember there is a very thin line between true love and blind love. The moment our true love gets transformed into blind love, some parents knowingly or unknowingly accede to their children’s demand which does not commensurate with their respective age.

Once I accept my little daughter’s demand to buy her a touch screen phone, I know what her next demand would be after some time. Quite expectedly she would say that the time has arrived to fix a separate flat screen TV in her room. Her demand may not just end there but may follow for a separate play-station or a laptop so that she can play her games without any interruption from my son.

This is not the story of me alone but of many parents who on daily basis come across many unreasonable demands from their children. Thus we as parents need to learn to say “no” to our beloved children, whenever they demand something which does not commensurate with their respective age. Today my avid readers may be a little baffled as to why I am lecturing them on
parenting issues and what relevance does this have with our core topic of ‘money matters’.

On this let me first candidly admit that I am not an expert on addressing parental issues but what merely I am trying to highlight is that any unreasonable demand from our children on one hand will not be good for their well-being, while on the other hand will adversely impact our cash flow or budget for the month.

What it means is simple -- the moment you decide to buy a touch screen phone or any other instrument for your little child the money has to come out of your disposable income. And finally what it leads to -- nothing but a net reduction in your disposable income which provides you a lesser scope to save.

We have to treat children as our equal partners in financial planning. Often we consider our household expenses too seriously while preparing monthly budget, but we tend to forget what our children need or what we need to provide them to fulfil their genuine demands. Any sudden or unplanned demand from our children can easily destabilize our monthly budget if not handled properly. Thus it is imperative on our part to assess our children’s demands very carefully and we should not say ‘yes’, just to please them
or get rid of their irritants at that moment.

The child may sometimes blackmail you by stating that we don’t love them but the reality as we all know is quite different. It’s very difficult to say “no” to your child when they ask you for something that they don’t really need, but want. This is especially true if you, as a child, were denied a lot of what you wanted because it was important for your parents to save or because your parents didn’t have enough money to indulge you.

But saying “no” is very important. Children need not cost us more than they already do, and we shouldn’t indulge them to the point of corrupting them. In addition, this arrangement teaches kids the value of money and of budgeting. So finally this is how I succeeded to convince my little daughter that not because I don’t love her that I said “no” to her demand for a touch screen phone, but I said so because I love her more. I hope from here on our children will not judge us merely by our acceptance or non-acceptance of some of their day-to-day demands, because we as parents have now learnt to say “NO”.

AT a recent 20th conference of financial ...

Mwandishi: Jagjit Singh

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