Sunday, December 7, 2008

Should you talk to your kids about the economy?

It seems that some people seem to be in a frantic, fearing that their children are going to be disappointed on Christmas morning due to the current economic standards. We have set our boys down ages 15, 14, and 9 and told them about the economy. It is not something we hide from them. We watch the news together and talk about these things. We talk about unemployment statistics and the effect the Dow has on the economy. It is a fact of life that our economy is not what is has been in previous years. I don't feel as if I have scarred them for life by telling them the truth and setting realistic goals. We told each of the boys they could pick out one main gift ( and no they would not even dream of asking for a huge money grubber like the Xbox or a 300.00 gift, they know it is not realistic) and then there will be a few more under the tree. They all know the real reason we celebrate Christmas is the birth of Christ and not about the presents and the "me factor" It really annoys me that they are talking on the morning talk shows about how to "protect" and let on as if nothing is wrong with the economy to your kids - it will stress them out? Please- they are kids. But they aren't stupid. Stupid is putting a $300.00 Xbox or PS3 on a credit card for your kid when you can't afford groceries or the mortgage payment! What kind of message is that sending to your kids? That your wants are more important than your needs. Now this may be a little different with children that still believe in Santa, but usually around that age one big gift and a few other ones from a dollar store and they are perfectly content, after all it is the magic of Christmas that makes it so special.

We as mothers set the tone for the mood in the home and there are lots of different ways we can go about making Christmas special without spending lots of money. Trim the tree with popcorn, make homemade cookies, make homemade gifts together, after all it is the time they will spend with you not the presents they receive that they will remember.

Think about your own childhood- what memories come to mind. I can remember a few gifts that I received but not all over the years- a doll house, my favorite doll, a tea set, perfume from my Dad. What I can remember is decorating the tree, my moms homemade fudge, my Dad hanging little fake ornamental doves above the wood stove with fishing line so they magically flew due to the heat from the stove. Running into Mom's and Dad's room to tell them Santa had come and Dad acting like he was extra sleepy and me having to jump up and down on the bed to wake him- only to have him tackle me with bear hugs and kisses- and then carry me out to open my presents.

The government has already told us that we will see harder times financially in the future. We should all be taking steps to prepare for that as quickly as we can. This includes educating our children on the current economy and getting them involved.


Sharon said...

I agree with you totally, no matter how old a kid is there is always a way to explain things to them. We've talked to our teens, but they're older, 14, 16, 20 and fully understand the economy. A lot of times they alert me to things on the news. I think there is a little bit too much protection of children going on, they do have to face reality some day, so why not start now with the truth?

By the way, my family is really enjoying watching the pictures of your baby squirrels :)

Have a Merry Christmas!

Angelena said...

Thanks Sharon- you are so right those "protected" children are going to have to face reality sooner or later and it may be a big wake up call to them all.

Glad you are enjoying our squirrels, we are having so much fun playing with them.

Nancy M. said...

I always try to be honest with my son, sometimes people say too much, but oh well. He, too understands there won't be any big presents like before. Times are tight right now. He's been learning about the stock market, only he thought it was good when it went low, kinda like gas prices. But, I said, no sweetie, it's better when the stock market is up. But, at least he's paying attention.

Lib said...

Hi Angelena,
I agree with you 100%!
We always have an Old Fashion Christmas. And live the Simple side of Life.We focus on The True Meaning of Christmas ,and less on materials.
Hope you have a great day!

Granny Sue said...

Hello in Huntersville! You certainly live in a beautiful place.

You are right on the money in this post, Angelena, It's far better for children to know the truth about what's going on. They will feel the stress anyway, and parents will be more stressed trying to pretend everything is fine. Teaching children to be thankful for what they have and to understand family finances goes a long way toward raising them to have realistic money expectations and an appreciation of what is good in their lives.

Catherine said...

What a beautiful blog. Christmas can be as simple as Thanksgiving if we let it...but it is hard to undue old habits. Now that we are in Kentucky in a smaller house we can't pull out all the stops with decorating. I've been sick for a month so I'm not being too hard on myself. We will select a few gifts for each child and one "big" gift...but not break the bank. Our boys, 8 and 11, still believe in Santa so I might not say anything at all and if they ask, well, Santa had to cut back this year.

But you're right: its the memories made in the little things.

Happy Christmas!