Throughout my parenting journey, I’ve generally put value on experiences rather than stuff. I’m not fussed about having fancy furniture or cars, mostly because I’m simply not interested. Those things don’t excite me.
My friends often laugh at my lack of interest over things like a new house or new car. When it was time to buy outdoor furniture, my neighbour picked it out. When I needed new furniture for the family room, my mom and sister did the shopping and I just sent along my credit card for them to buy what they liked.
I don’t make a big deal about a broken dish or such things. Hey, it’s only “stuff”, right? Some of this lack of interest has rubbed off on my children. While my kids have certain fashion “looks” that they like (mostly defined as “comfy”), they have never asked for a certain brand or label of clothing.
While we were away for March break, a friend tried to surprise me by attempting to get some stains out of a couple of the bedroom carpets. Surprise me, she did! It turns out she used bleach as part of her cleaning concoction and as a result, I have multiple patches of bleached carpet throughout two bedrooms. My sister popped over for a visit the night we returned, so I gave her a tour of the damage.
While showing my sister around, I guess I expressed some unusual concern about the bleaching event, because my daughter pulled me aside and shared that she felt I wasn’t acting like my usual self. She reminded me that it was an accident and it’s only carpet and she and her sisters don’t mind that their carpet is splotchy.
Her sentiment impressed me and I liked that she placed so little value on the carpet. But then I thought to myself, “Hold on! I’m going to have to replace these carpets. And I’m the one who paid for them. They ARE of value”.
So it made me question – what have I been teaching my kids without realizing it? Have I raised my kids to be so un-materialistic that they don’t understand the value of anything? (Or should I not worry, because they’re not irresponsible with their belongings, so they’re clearly not too far gone?)
How much value do your children place in “things”? Has your attitude around material possessions been passed down to your kiddos? Do you have any tips on how to teach kids about money and value?
Julie Cole is the co-founding vice-president of award-winning children's label manufacturer Mabel's Labels. She’s helped her company bring their product to a worldwide market, gain media recognition and win countless entrepreneur awards. Cole is a regular contributor to HLN's Raising America, an influential and syndicated blogger and a mother of six.