I had a quick call with my parents today in anticipation of our arrival at their home for our 1 1/2 weeks visit this coming Saturday (we leave tomorrow.) And I mentioned to my dad very briefly how it’s taken me nearly 40 years (not quite there yet) to realize just all that he and my mom did for me growing up. I know how blessed I was growing up, I realized that shortly after getting out on my own and having to pay my own bills. But I really did not know how blessed.
When I turned 16, I had shared access to a car, my insurance was paid and all my gas was paid. I NEVER ONCE thought about what that cost my parents. Not once. Until now. Now as my twins race towards the much anticipated day of driving license, I shiver at the thought of their car insurance bill, let alone gas. My parents never brought up the extra burden that must have been for them financially. (I was the oldest of five, so mine was probably the worst sticker shock with that new life milestone.) I am so grateful to them. Beyond measure grateful.
My dilemma and this is all in my head as I don’t really have many options with this. But if you could, would you make the same financial decisions for your children as your parents did for you? Would you follow their lead?
I go back and forth on this for two reasons:
- I have struggled with managing my money and making wise financial decisions my entire life. I am in no way shape or form laying this at my parents feet, but I do wonder if I had had more visibility of these costs as I became a responsible young person, would I be different than I am today. I am by my nature pretty forthright and do not beat around the bush, even with my kids and money, so I know I am already more open about the costs of living. But on the flip side, I don’t want my children to worry about money or give up any “child” ideals due to money. Does that make sense?
- I already see my children with their “give me” and entitled attitudes and it irks me to no end. I read that this is part generational but I also know it stems from how I raise them. When discussing the upcoming insurance and necessity of a job for this reason in particular, my son says…but will that leave me any money to spend?
I’m not writing this well, but I hope you are getting where I am going in my thought process. If I had the funds, I would probably quickly fall in line with what my parents did for me, perhaps with a bit more visibility of the actual costs to my kids. But the fact of the matter is that I do not, nor do I anticipate having the funds to cover the entirety of the additional costs for driving.
I want to use the blessings my parents gave me with absolutely no strings attached to guide me in making good decisions financial for my children. And I have to start thinking about it now as I budget for the imminent future.
I guess driving is just one example that just happened to come to mind as I was talking to my dad tonight, but in reality, I suppose I am doing a lot of soul searching as I approach some HUGE financial decisions and discussions. I am trying to understand where my attitude towards money comes from and what my weaknesses in particular are so I can address them to help make permanent changes in my own life.