Hi, I’m interested in your financial goals or hopes for your kids as they enter marriage. There are a lot of variables but do you help them save towards it?
We’re not in a position to give our children major cash gifts (unless you count the cost of the wedding itself), but we hope we have helped by teaching them to manage money and requiring them to save a portion of their income. For many years, we have required all of our children to first tithe, then divide their income between spending money and savings. As they get older and their opportunities for income increase, they also begin to contribute to the household.
Savings is normally used only to fund a business endeavor or to invest, so their savings grows steadily over the years and they feel a growing sense of accomplishment as their balance grows.
We have also instilled in them a horror of consumer debt, acting as both the good and bad examples throughout our married life.
What do you do when your friends kids (ages 2 and 4) put EVERYTHING in their mouths — and not just in their mouths but chewing things up. when they come over books get ruined, play cars get the paint taken off of them. my son has a mickey mouse sword from disney land and one of the kids chewed the end of it up. I’ve tried saying “you don’t want to have that dirty toy in your mouth. there is so many yucky germs on it” and things like that in front of the mom, but she doesn’t seem to care about germs or the fact that her kids are ruining my kids toys.
We have a lot of company in our home, and when you invite families with children it’s almost inevitable that some of them will behave badly some of the time. I have learned – and am still learning – to balance the role of a gracious hostess with that of a good friend. I don’t want my friends to feel awkward and self-conscious about being in my home, always afraid that their children will misbehave. But I also don’t want them to feel so relaxed that the kids think it’s OK to do gymnastics on the furniture, color on the walls and break things.
Here is what I have learned: You have to speak up.
I am finding that the approach has to vary with the parents. Some will get the hint when you are subtle, like you tried to be. But others need a frank approach. The good thing is, if they don’t pick up on subtle hints they probably aren’t the sort to be offended by a more frank approach. In your example, I would ask the mom not to let the toddler chew on the toy because it’s not designed to withstand that sort of play. I would not offer a reason outside my primary concern, because that can send a confusing message. If she’s not worried about germs, then she might very reasonably ignore the warning. Worrying about germs is his mom’s business, but destruction of property is yours.
If the parents consistently don’t respond to your requests, you’ll need to step up the security a little: when they visit, put away toys that pose special concerns and verbally correct visiting children if their parents don’t do it. “No, don’t chew on that. You might break it or make it ugly.” Eventually either the parents will understand and step in, or you will succeed in setting boundaries for your friend’s children without her help.
Another from Missy:
How do you deal with kids that are bad influences on your kids when they are people that you cannot separate yourself from? — we go to church with this family as well as they are mine and my husband’s best friends, but their children are very violent, misbehaved, potty mouthed kids and it is effecting my children’s actions (my kids are 5 and 2 1/2).
I am so terribly lost right now and very saddened by the entire situation… but I am at my wits end and praying one of you ladies have some words of wisdom.
Here is socialization at its best! Rather than sending your kids to school where they have unsupervised interaction with bad influences, you have complete control over how and when they interact with your friends’ less-than-perfect children.
There are a lot of potential answers here, so I’m only going to scratch the surface.
- If you are deeply concerned about the behavior of your friends’ children, then you need to limit their contact with your own.
- Keep your kids near you, or at least within your line of sight. Be quick to intervene if you see or suspect trouble.
- Express some of your concerns to your friends; these are best friends, so surely you can broach the subject? Talk to your friends about how to deal with bad behavior that crosses family lines, being open to the possibility that it runs both ways. In many cases, one child makes a potty joke and another takes it further.
- Don’t be afraid to “tattle,” bringing valid concerns to the attention of your friends in a grown-up way. It may be that your friends know there is a problem and will appreciate some extra help policing the crowds.
- Maintain firm standards for your children’s behavior, reminding them that they are not allowed to do/say ___ even though their friend does. This is crucial! A 5yo can understand that he should not follow a bad example, and a 2.5 yo can understand that it’s bad to grab toys or strike out in anger, even if his friend does it.
You say these are your best friends. That means it is important to get this problem out in the open, because it has the potential to cause a lot of offense and damage your friendship. It’s not easy, but it is important. You can do this.
I have a big question that I’m struggling with right now. How do you deal with criticism in child-raising practices? We believe, I think, like you – in the biblical form of discipline. And we are BY FAR in the minority. How do you deal with it when nearly everyone around you thinks that you “go too far” or “expect too much”? HELP!
Kelsey, first make sure you are surrounding yourself with Christians who take God’s Word seriously.
Now for the hard part: If those are the people that are criticizing you, stop and prayerfully ask yourself a difficult question: are they right? Do they object to your form of discipline or just the way you do it? It could be that they see a harshness in the way you deal with your children. Please don’t be offended at the suggestion; I don’t know you or your family, and I don’t know those who criticize you. This is a question you and your husband need to answer for yourselves.
Now, if you are confident that you are disciplining in a loving and Biblical way, you can engage your Christian brothers and sisters in a Biblical debate about child-raising. Ask them to state their criticism within a Biblical context, and be sure you can answer within the same framework. Be open-minded and willing to learn within this context, especially if you are dealing with parents of adult Christian children.
If you are receiving criticism from non-Christians or nominal Christians who don’t look to the Bible as their standard for life, then just remember that Christ warned us the world would hate us. Oh – and it’s not a bad idea to join Heritage Defense.