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Your Child & Self-Worth

As a parent, teaching your children certain values can be a difficult task.  Ideals – such as the value of a dollar – are especially important for them to understand.  But how do you best communicate that message?

There are many books and blogs with different methods on how to teach these values.  The book, The Financially Intelligent Parent: 8 Steps to Raising Successful, Generous, Responsible Children by Eileen and Jon Gallo, focuses on teaching priorities and values through your (the parents’) actions.  It helps you become more aware of the values communicated to your children through your spending habits.  It provides several excellent ideas on how to give your children the messages you want them to receive.

Here are a few ideas from Gallos’ perspective:

Be a Charitable Family.

Teach your children to be generous through your volunteer activities and charitable donations. Talk about what you are doing and the people you are helping. Try to find opportunities to volunteer as a family. In terms of charitable donations, discuss the goals of each charity and have your children help you decide where to donate. By introducing these ideas, you can teach your children that they have the power to make life better for others.

Develop Self-Motivation.

Internally motivated people are happier than those who rely on external motivations. Parents can help their children become happier adults by relying less on external motivators – such as paying children to do chores. Parents should focus more on internal motivators – such as using chores as a means of helping children gain self-respect and take pride in their work.

Develop Work Ethic.

Of course, the primary work of most children is school. It is important to encourage them to ‘do their best’, not necessarily to ‘be the best’. In addition, children should be assigned age-appropriate chores.  They should be encouraged to take on part-time employment when they get older. A good work ethic is learned behavior, and parents are the best role models.

Your behavior sends messages to your children. They learn values by seeing where you spend money and how you treat others. It’s important to teach children that money is something they have and not something they are. They need to understand that their net worth and their self-worth are entirely different things.

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