How To Ruin Your Kid’s Life


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As a parent I want the best for my kids.  I want them to be happy, financially successful, and to have a better life than my own.  It is natural to want the best for your kids, but if we help them too much then we can unknowingly ruin their lives.

‘Ruining your kid’s life’ sounds like a strong statement, but here is what happens. Lets say you have two kids.  From a young age one is driven, independent and disciplined. The other is easily distracted, is less resourceful and seems to struggle.  The one naturally does well so you spend more time helping the other.  You help him with his homework and writing his papers you give him money because you don’t think he can get a job.  You fix problems for him.  The result is that your child will depend on you more and more.  While the one does well in school, earns his own money, and fixes his own problems. I have seen this happen in many families.

 The Worst Gift To Give Your Children

In the book, “The Millionaire Next Door”, Thomas J. Stanley Ph.D. and William D. Danko, Ph.D. found that parents who help their children too much, particularly with cash gifts, end up hurting their children’s financial success. They found that, “In general, the more dollars adult children receive, the fewer they accumulate, while those who are given fewer dollars accumulate more” (pg. 142-143).  They have statistical proof and example after example of this happening.  In one survey comparing non-gift receiving and gift receiving children, now adult accountants, they found “accountants who receive cash gifts only have 57 percent of the net worth of accountants who do not receive gifts” (pg. 152).  I suggest you read the whole chapter because it is full of statistical evidence on how to and how not to raise successful children.make-money-as-a-kid

The Best Gift To Give Your Children

Now, you might be wondering how you can help your children without helping them too much.  The key is to give them the “gift of want”.  This is the greatest gift you can give your children says Troy Dunn, self made millionaire and author of the book “Young Bucks”.  He said, “The “gift of want”…will teach your child that he can be the architect of his own future and doesn’t need to rely on others to get what he wants” (pg. 21).  In his book, Dunn helps parents know how to help their kids become millionaires by helping them be entrepreneurs when they are young.  If you can give your kids the “gift of want” then they will have the drive to be more successful in academics, with their finances and they will achieve more in their lives than otherwise.

The Right Way To Help Your Children Be Financially Successful

It is not too late to start now and help your kids be more financially successful.  First, stop giving your children cash gifts and too much help.  Let them struggle a bit.  If you do this they will find their own solutions and be much better off for it.  Don’t give them everything they want because that will deprive them of the best gift you can give, the “gift of want”.  With this gift your children will find their own solutions to their problems.  If your child wants a new ipad mini, they will wonder about how to make money as a kid. They will find an idea and put it into action and earn their own money. Doing this, they will learn and develop lessons and skills you just can’t give your children.  These skills and lessons will help them live a more independent life, be more financially successful, and hopefully have a better life than your own.

About the author: Steven Cooper is the creator of a website dedicated to helping kids make money.

9 Responses to How To Ruin Your Kid’s Life

  1. Pauline says:

    This is tough, you want the best for your kids, and provide everything so they never suffer and in doing it you spoil them too much and may ruin their lives!

  2. In addition to giving the gift of “want”, I think it can be helpful to teach children some strategies and tools for how to get to what they want. For example suggest a designated piggy bank for a specific goal or “want”.

  3. Couldn’t agree more. There were kids that I was a bit jealous of in high school that had nice cars and could go anywhere they wanted to. But I learned so much by working and buying my own car at 16. Besides the money, learned a lot about having a good work ethic as well. Win-win.

  4. FI Pilgrim says:

    When I was a kid my siblings and I were given an allowance ($5/month) if we did all our chores at a satisfactory level. On top of that we had to budget the money we earned or received. This included birthday gifts, etc. So we learned how to earn extra money and how to properly handle what we had, which I’m really grateful to my dad for!

  5. moneystepper says:

    As an adult, I greatly appreciated that my parents taught me the importance of want! My brother and I performed chores to earn our money, which we then had to save up ourselves to afford our wants! This financial education was instilled in me from a very early age and is priceless.

  6. Lorillia | Your Money Mentor says:

    You made some great points especially regarding the financial aspects of how children can depend on you for money. I have been teaching my son that whenever he wants something to find ways that he can generate a “profit” for himself. It causes him to think, which some children as well as adults do not do anymore.

    • Steve says:

      That is great. He will learn so much more by doing that and when he earns enough money to buy what he wants then he will appreciate it that much more.

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