Siblings, Money, and Responsibility: Teaching The Same Values To Your Two Kids
Those of us who have two children probably know that there is a difference between being the oldest and the youngest child. The older child often takes on more responsibility. The youngest, on the other hand, is often more pampered, social, and creative. This may not be the case in your family, but there’s still a good chance that you see some similar sort of differences between the two.
The oldest and youngest are also different from a childbirth perspective. While a mother is likely to be more worried and less prepared before the birth of her first child, she has to deal with a child at home. Even before the children are born, then, there are marked distinctions between them based solely on age.
So it should come as little surprise that researchers and psychiatrist have found another difference between older and younger children: the former tend to be more financially-responsible while the latter are, generally, less prudent with money. This means that older children are more dependable when it comes to paying bills, maintaining a credit score, and saving money.
This comes as good news for our eldest children. But how can we instill similar values in our younger child? While they certainly may end up being just as financially responsible on an individual level – if not more so – we want to take pains during childhood to insure that they don’t end up reaffirming the accepted generalization.
The first way to go about doing this, naturally, is by explicitly giving our younger children more responsibility. Tell them to watch out for their older brother or sister – and not simply vice versa. Have them be the ones to communicate with you when the siblings are together and help plan family decisions. After all, even though one child may be older than the other, both have a responsibility towards each other and towards you. Once old enough, even the baby of the family can take on such a role.
A parent can also make a point to teach financial prudence to the younger child. There are many ways to instill a strong money sense in your children, most of which can be helpful and beneficial. These include giving an allowance, providing grocery or toy budgets, playing couponing or credit-paying games, and selling old items for charitable causes.
Don’t let your youngest child talk her way into purchases that your eldest would not have received – instead of buying them a blu-ray copy of the Iron Man 2 movie or a brand new video game, go ahead and give them both chances to earn some money and teach them a little bit about the value of a dollar.
Ultimately, our children are defined more by their personalities than by their age and should be treated as such. But it’s always good to remember: the latter can have an impact on the former and, as a parent, it’s always important to give kids of any age a lesson in the life skills they someday will need.