DEAR HARRIETTE: My father used to say, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” I tell it to my kids, but they don’t have a clue. I feel like my wife and I are spoiling our kids too much by letting them have a comfortable life. I struggled for every dollar, and it worked out for me -- when it was time for me to work as an adult, I knew I had to hustle. I worry that my kids have it too easy. They don’t understand what it means for the lights to go out because their parents didn’t have money to pay the electric bill. I need to do something to get them to appreciate what they have. Any ideas? -- Wake Up My Kids
DEAR WAKE UP MY KIDS: Privilege can trick young people into believing that they will always enjoy the fruits of their parents’ labor and influence. I have talked to a number of wealthy parents who have shared their down-to-earth stories. One celebrity mom told me that her well-to-do father told her that while she lives in his house, it is his. She can enjoy the fruits of his labor for as long as HE decides, not her. This motivated her to make her own money and figure out her life as an independent person.
Can you encourage your kids to step into responsibility? Stay in conversation with them so that they can imagine what it means to be independent and what they can do to get there. Changing the narrative from your children asking for money to them asking about how to invest what they have and, in other ways, thinking about how to plan for the future will be a tremendous win!
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)