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How to say ‘no’ to that child

By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
25 June 2022   |   3:23 am
It is common to have your child ask for things he wants and when you cannot provide, it could be a difficult task declining his request.

PHOTO CREDIT: Family Life

It is common to have your child ask for things he wants and when you cannot provide, it could be a difficult task declining his request.
 
Telling your child that you can’t afford something is not encouraged. It is key to teach your child to look past what your present circumstances are, showing him what he could be and how to get there. This will definitely put your child at peace and prevent him from worrying unnecessarily.
 
While every parent wants the best for his child, including providing and buying expensive gadgets that give desired comfort to the child, when these needs cannot be met, a parent should honestly communicate with his child. Explain your situation, and if you can’t afford something, it’s important not to give in to pester power and risk getting into debt.
 


Most parents are used to giving in to the phrases ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’, or ‘I’m not made of money.’ It is ok to say ‘No’, but simply explain why you can’t buy what he wants. It’s an important part of having honest conversations about money and how to avoid debt.
  
Teach your child to save. Your child should learn money management, as it is a great skill that will help him when he is older. Financial education is also a good way to explain to children why you can’t afford something.
  
Encourage your child by showing him how to manage his own money. When you give him pocket money, suggest that he saves it up for larger items.
  
You can also help him understand the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’. If your child can see that things like food and rent come first, it’s easier to understand that treats may have to wait.
  
It is important to manage your money as a family too. A fun way to plan is to save up, as a family for enjoyable things, like trips out, holidays or Christmas.
   
Also, help your child make a wish list. Getting your child to write down, or draw a picture of things they want and adding to their own wish list can help teach him about delayed gratification. And doing this with them shows that you care and are interested in their request, but also sends the message that they simply can’t have everything they want right away.
   
One of the best ways for a child to understand money is to have his own. Ask your child to complete chores to earn money towards the item they want. It doesn’t have to be much, but asking them to cover some or all of the cost can teach them about money management from a young age. It also provides a sense of responsibility, and even pride when the savings target is reached.
  
You may not have the money to constantly pay your child for each chorus as agreed; you can also offer him stickers for keeps, which he will swap in future for money. You can also trade for treats, this helps your child learn about earning, saving and spending.
 
The money talk can be delicate, but then starting these conversations with your child and inculcating good money habits early can have long-term benefits and set him up with valuable life skills.

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