The Importance of Parental Guidance, Part 2

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In an earlier article, I talked about how important it is for parents to teach their children about money and to do this by guiding children with your actions.  That of course is not the only way to teach your children how to handle money.  Of course, my grandmother pointed out some of the stuff that I left out of the article in the comment section and I felt like I needed to address this comment, because she is right.  So, let's look at what my grandmother commented after my first parental guidance article.

“I agree our actions are the greatest teacher but not to be negative, the influence of others also has an effect. And of course, the old quote ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink’ also applies. So, don’t be disappointed if you have stumbling blocks along the way. I think all parents can relate to this and all you have to do is think back to your own childhood. Did you always follow the rules?”
— My Grandmother

They always say that there is wisdom to be learned from our elders and of course I listen and care about my elders opinions.  My grandmother made many great points in this post and I do agree that we are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  Everybody breaks rules and challenges authority, of course we must understand that.  That is why we have parents to discipline us.  The discipline that our parents give us show us that we made a mistake and must learn from it.  

I remember back in high school, I asked my mother if I could buy a PlayStation 2.  My mom told me, "no."  I couldn't believe this, because I was working and I felt like the money was mine.  So, I should be able to buy what I want with my money.  I was a little rebellious and I went out and bought this PlayStation 2 without my mom's permission.  I did a pretty good job of keeping it hidden from my mother, except for one day, when I left it on (because I was in the middle of a football game and I didn't want to have restart).  I went to work and planned on finishing the game when I came back home.

One problem.

Mom was doing laundry that day and she walked into my room to put my clothes away and heard a strange noise.  She found my PlayStation 2, and needless to say I was grounded.  I didn't understand, because I felt like the money was mine.  I had earned it.  What did it matter to my mother how I spent my money?

Well it matters, because I was still living in her house and she was trying to teach me how to be responsible with my money.  And of course, I didn't get the message until later in life.  If I would have got the memo, I might not have struggled as much financially early in my adult life. 

As I have mentioned earlier, I listen to Dave Ramsey regularly on a podcast and he has a strong opinion about this topic.  He believes that children should control their own money with close parental guidance.  By this he means that the parent has access to the checking account to be able to check up on what their child is spending money on.  He also believes that as long as the parents are paying for college, then the parent should be in control of the child's finances until they move out on their own. 

As I get older, I tend to agree with him, because most of the time high school and college students don't know how to handle money.  They only way for them to learn is from a parental hand guiding them.  

I was in control of my finances as soon as I left for college and I made a lot of mistakes, but I have learned from them and I wouldn't change anything from the way that I was brought up.  On the other hand, my wife's parents were very involved with teaching my wife how to handle money throughout college.  I am grateful for my lessons, but my wife came out of college debt free with money in the bank, because she had a guiding hand watching over her finances.  

So, my grandmother is right.  There are stumbling blocks along the way.  Just like there will be stumbling blocks, when I have my first child.  But the stumbling blocks can be lessoned by a parental guidance that shows the child how to handle money.

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