As a single mom, money was tight. I acknowledged all holidays and birthdays but I never gave my kids gifts outside of those special occasions. Don’t be a cash cow, unless you are! Kids need to understand that you are doing the best you can with what you have. Don’t hide the fact that money is tight, but don’t make it an issue by bringing it up every chance you get. I was raised by a single mother. We lived in the projects in Newark, NJ. I didn’t know we were poor until we moved out of the projects when I was 12. I remember taking a toy from a little girl, she started crying and told my mother. After my mother made me give it back, she started crying and she said, “What else can I do, I try to give you everything you want.” I needed to hear that.
You can’t get blood from a turnip
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I agree. Have the conversation. You relieved a little girl of her toy. Somehow that story sounds familiar. I think when you compartmentalize occasions, i. e., birthdays, Christmas, it is deceptive. Parents tend to continuously repeat their financial status when their children repetitively ask for stuff or life’s situations become overwhelming. I believe it is important for parents to talk to their children about their family situation. On one hand we say kids are smart and astute and on the other hand we “withhold” information that would help them better understand the “why’s”. When you contribute to the daily sustenance of your children, that is not only an obligation, but a gift. When you buy the nice comfort ensemble for their beds or take them out to dinner or order pizza on occasion, those are gifts outside of the “special occasions.” When you purchase cars for your children or pay for them to participate in school activities, those are gifts. What about when you take the children on vacation? I think you get my point. Parents strive to give their children better lives as compared to their lives…sometimes within their means. Parents should not be cash cows unless they can “utterly” afford to be.