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Fairy tale endings don’t take place in the real world. Here, on earth, it takes a lot to survive – and raise your kids.
If you want your children to follow you and walk in your footsteps, you need to make sure that they consider none other than you as their role model.
Just a case: A typical bullying situation
After a long day at work, you’ve just arrived home panting with total exhaustion. You turn the TV on and snug yourself on the sofa to catch up with your favorite program. You always cherish this quietude.
But, your child starts whining for a piece of his favorite donut before dinner. You simply say ‘no’ and hope that the buck ends there. To your utter dismay, it doesn’t.
He keeps riling with his demand. “You promised” he retorts. “You said you’d get me one when you get home from work.”
You politely attempt to pacify him and ask him to wait till dinner. Yet, he stands in front of your screen. “I want now. Right away”, he screams.
At this tipping point, you shut your eyes and try to breathe slow, only to diffuse the stress of the situation. You could count to 10, if needed.
By this time, your kid has upped his ante and yells at you saying, “You broke your promise. It was a lie. You’re stupid!”
Snap. Freeze-frame. This potentially testing situation has just become a case of bullying. Here, it’s you who’s being mauled verbally and insulted by your kin.
What’s the recourse from such a pitiful scenario ?
3 Most popular strategies that backfire
You may choose one of three strategies in such tumultuous times: surrender, punish, or negotiate.
1. Surrender and you become a victim –
True, all battles aren’t meant to be fought. Surrendering to your kid’s demands is often a favorable option, particularly when you’re seeking some solitude.
However, when demands transform into threats, then you shouldn’t give in. If you do, then you’re rewarding abusive behavior.
That would send a wrong message to your child: Bullying buys him his demands. Hence, the next time your child gets irritated by your restrictions, he’ll bully to get his demands fulfilled. So, surrendering to your kid’s demand would never let you stay within your budget. Moreover, your child will never become responsible with his money as well.
2. Punish and you become a tyrant – It’s difficult to avoid being reactive and return the bully. Rarely do parents have the skills not to mirror the aggressive behavior of their child. It requires a lot of strength of character to stay neutral. You must cultivate it in yourself, like any other self-mastery.
If you lose your cool, holler, and come down heavily on your child, you are rather using another form of bullying to silence the aggressor (in this case, your child).
This, in turn, will create an environment of bullying in the family. As a result of punishment, your child will become more resentful and contemptuous, and develop more severe behavioral problems in the future. For instance, your child may:
a. Oppose you silently and become a reckless spender, having no respect toward your financial plan.
b. Turn their frustration inwards and torture themselves.
c. Increase their bullying antics and disrupt the family.
3. Negotiate and you become a trader –
Fine, your child has created a ruckus and is having a meltdown.
As a mindful guardian, you take a moment and weigh in the alternatives.
You try your best to fit into your child’s shoes: He’s been waiting for his donuts all day long. Then, after a tiring day at work, you throw yourself onto the couch, instead of greeting him, turn on the TV and immerse yourself into your favorite program.
So, you can understand you’ve let him down, and he’s upset. And he has the right to be. At this juncture, you try to reach out a settlement – a middle ground. You offer half a slice of donut now and the other half after dinner.
Conditions to evaluate :
· What if he comes up with a deal of his own?
· Will negotiation be the best solution?
· What if he continues with his aggressive behavior and asks for all the donuts?
When you negotiate with a bully, you’re setting the stage for future conflicts.
Just like surrendering, your negotiation will train your child that bullying is rewarding. Thus, whenever, your child’s demands aren’t met, he’ll return to bullying to get what he wants.
How to train your child with good financial moves
· Pause and reflect – When your child bullies you, stand your ground without any drama. Pause and reflect. Leave the room or take a walk alone. Once everyone is calm, you can consider what actions to take. Look for ways to teach him about the benefits of budgeting, retirement planning, saving money and raising emergency funds.
· Validate your child’s feelings – Find out the cause behind your child’s bullying b ehavior and comfort him with words like “I understand that you’re upset; you have a right to be” or “Instead of fighting, let’s budget for the next month together so that we can fit the expense for your school’s summer camp costs”.
· Be clear that bullying will never bring success – You give the highest importance to your budget and that’s good for the entire family. You can take your child into confidence and show him how hard you work to earn money. And how responsibly they should be spent.
· Fulfill your children’s need and not their desires – Communicate effectively that whatever your kids are demanding can wait. If necessary, a demand can be turned down to make way for a better and indispensable item. The idea is simple; you’ll never surrender if there’s a chance of wasting money on unnecessary items .
· Reward any progressive behavior – Suppose, your child has helped you in preparing the grocery list or has booked an affordable air ticket for you, then you should reward such financially progressive behavior.
Parents are burdened to train their children with wise, practical money-management skills. If children are taught how to pay themselves first, serve their communities and spend within their budgets, they will set the groundwork for a lifetime of financial security.
Author Bio: Andy Masaki is an blogger at PennyLessDad and contributes specifically on personal finance topics. You can also find him fielding queries based on money management topics at various online communities and social media platforms.