WT 118: I Want It All & I Want It Now
Question 1: I know you talk to moms all the time, when it comes to trying to stay focused and run your own race, where do you most often see us going wrong?
Karen's Answer: Oh my goodness! Well, I can’t address what I don’t know, like I don’t know where everyone is going wrong, I just know where I went wrong over the years. The way I got sideways was I would look at everyone else’s life and think, “I want that, they are better, they have it together, etc. and then I’d start “copying” them. When I copied people, ie: run their race, I didn’t do it well, and then I’d fall flat on my face. So, I just decided to run my race at my pace. Pray and ask God to teach you how to be content with your own life.
Question 2: My child is a Junior in college and good kid but I have never set clear boundaries and consistent consequences. He is selfish and acts entitled and I feel guilty knowing I have caused this with a lack of firm parenting. After going to a Mom Matters class you taught at my church I know it is so important to start at a young age. Is it too late to change this? What would your recommendation be? I am taking steps now but hard late in the game.
Karen's Answer: I don’t think it’s ever too late to set boundaries. It maybe too late, with a 20 or 21 year old, to enforce rules in his life, but you can clearly set a few boundaries. If you feel he is selfish and entitled then I would stop “giving” him everything and just say, I’m not paying for that anymore. You are now 21 and you are going to have to get a job, or not buy it. I would give him a heads up and say, “in the fall when you start back school, I am only paying for tuition and room and board. Everything else is on you. That way he has some time to get a summer job and earn some money. Once you set the boundary, stick to it. It will be hard, but you can do it.
Question 3: How do I teach my kids the value of money? Did your children have allowances? If so, how much did the earn and what for? Did they get to choose what to do with it or did you just save it for them?
Karen's Answer: I personally think they only way for children to understand the value of money is to make them have some skin in the game. We did allowances off and on when my children were in elementary school, but nothing substantial. I did not save their money for them, that was on them. They got to decide what to do with their money, we did suggest to give/save/spend. But, a lot depends on a child’s personality. All my children were different in their spending habits. Kelsey would have hers spent before she ever got it. Emily would save and save, never knowing what she wanted to spend it on, Taylor would pick a big item, save, save, save and then spend it all on one thing, and Abby was more like Taylor. All my children, worked for their money. Baby sitting, cutting the grass for neighbors, working retail, etc. All our children ended up being hard workers. I think the key was not buying them everything they wanted. Get a plan and stick to it!
Question 4: Contentment is a state of the heart and feels less obvious than being kind, or showing compassion. How do I model contentment for my children? Is there language I can use or practical things I can do to show them what it means to be content?
Karen's Answer: The best way to model something is to live it out yourself. Are you content in your life? Really content? Do you children hear you complain about your wardrobe, your house, your car, your job, your life in general. Or do they see a mom that is content with what she has, and chooses to live within her means? I guess the old saying, “practice what you preach” makes the difference. I experienced this as a mom, and there were times I was convicted by my lack of modeling. My children might be complaining about not having the latest jeans, or shoes, but I was just as guilty complaining about not have the right countertops in my kitchen or the right car. I hate to say that more than once God gently pointed out to me that I need to be a better model concerning contentment. Check yourself in where you fall in this category.