As all of us parents know, raising children is not cheap. Although may indulge them to the best to our ability, we may find this is not enough.
Children are not leading isolated lives. They are constantly in the company of other children their age - be it school, nursery or college. This leads to constant comparisons. Things that may never have struck you are possibly being discussed at school. Children discuss cars - whose parents have the most impressive car? It is very likely that the child whose parents drive a Mercedes gets more attention from his classmates than the child whose parents come to pick him up in a Maruti. Yes, social standards start showing up at a very early age!
Naturally there are children with natural leadership and popularity skills, where money ceases to matter. Similarly, there are children who don't really care about whether or not they have money. But what determines this is the kind of children they are surrounded by
If your child goes to a very posh school for example and is surrounded by children from very wealthy families, it will not be surprising if his demands start increasing in order for him to keep up with his friends.
Comparisons are inevitable
Don't be surprised if your child demands for new and the latest toys never seem to end. All his friends have a particular toy, and so your child too may want one. What is a parent to do? Most parents would ideally want their children not to compare what they have with their friends - but this is certainly no easy task. Parents themselves at times want to keep up with their neighbours, and this desire is more so amongst children.
Demands can be unaffordable
How do you, as a parent, tackle this problem? All parents want to fulfill their child's desires, but it is often not possible to do so. And if you keep denying your child their wants, your child may grow to see himself as less capable and less deserving than his friends. This may also lead to complexes. But if you cannot afford something - there's just no question about caving in to your child's pleas. So, what should you do?
In this material world it a fact of life that your finances may play a part in shaping your child's self confidence. If your child feels most of his friends have things that he doesn't this may harm his self-esteem. On the other hand, it may also spur your child on to work harder and strive to achieve all that he lacks.
Help your child to channelise his wants in a constructive manner. Instead of letting him feel upset that he doesn't have as much as his friends do, show him how if he works hard and puts the effort, he can go places. Instead of discouraging him from dreaming high, tell him that you can provide him with so much, and if he wants more, then he can strive to achieve it himself - and if he works hard enough, there is no reason he cannot get everything he has ever dreamed of.
Kids and Money - Part II