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How to answer the "Why don't we have ...?" questions

Posted by on Oct. 8, 2013 at 9:16 AM
  • 17 Replies

My three boys (8, 6 and 6) have plenty of toys, a Wii, TV, my old iPhone for apps, etc. But their closest cousins have MORE, and lately it has become a problem as they spend more time with them. Each of them has their own iPod, iPad and/or laptop, as well as a flat screen TV in their rooms. These cousins are slightly older, but not by much. I'm not going to say they're spoiled but ... well, you know.

Anyway, I cannot afford to indulge my kids in this way, and I'm not sure I would if I could. But I am at a loss on how to answer their questions when they ask things like, "How come our cousins have X? I want my own too." I don't want them to be jealous of their cousins, nor do I want them to feel insecure about our finances. And I don't want to disparage their cousins' parents and their spending habits.

I would love to get some advice on a tactful way to talk about this with my kids. Thanks!

by on Oct. 8, 2013 at 9:16 AM
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Replies (1-10):
iamcafemom83
by Rah-Rah on Oct. 8, 2013 at 9:20 AM
1 mom liked this
Oh oh oh I would totally put it on the kids heehee
I would tell them those are expensive toys and it would take lots of responsibility to own one. If they can show me how responsible they are by doing their chores, getting along, helping out, etc.....then I will think about getting one for them one day.

Of course, you cam stretch this as long as you need to.
berlgirl1224
by Gold Member on Oct. 8, 2013 at 9:25 AM
1 mom liked this
I just tell my kids we don't have the money. Everyone isn't t born with a silver spoon. Ppl have to work for what they get. My kids see how hard mommy and daddy work
MamaRae85
by Bronze Member on Oct. 8, 2013 at 9:26 AM
1 mom liked this

Honestly, I was raised with the knowledge that we couldn't afford the things that some other people could afford. My parents basically told us "While we're able to take care of all of our needs, some of our wants are things that we feel should be gone without, at least for a time." They did try to stress that we shouldn't worry about finances, and that we were taken care of (even if they themselves were worrying about it).

They also made very clear that there were certain things that they didn't think were a good idea to get, because they felt it was unnecessary or that it would be a bad idea for another reason (e.g. yet another electronic would discourage healthy outside play).

I'm going to be honest with you. We didn't always understand, and we did sometimes get upset about it, but I'm glad that they were willing to explain, and of course it's something that makes perfect sense now.

LnAsMommy
by on Oct. 8, 2013 at 9:28 AM
I would say something about money and having different expenses.
shadow_lark
by Gold Member on Oct. 8, 2013 at 9:31 AM
1 mom liked this
I would just say that those expensive frivolities aren't a priority for you, they aren't necessary and you choose to spend your money on more meaningful and important things (to you).
TLC70
by on Oct. 8, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Thanks for the feedback. This would be easier if it wasn't my brother's family that I'm dealing with and just friends of the kids instead. It's complicated when there is family involved because I really think there is some serious overindulgence on their part and it extends to birthdays, family get-togethers, etc. They're just more materialistic than I am .

I agree with using this as an opportunity to talk about needs vs. wants. That's something I've talked about with my kids a lot. But when you're young, it's not always the answer you want to hear.

ninipanini
by Ruby Member on Oct. 25, 2013 at 6:56 AM

With a simple, "Because we don't."  End of discussion

kids don't really need a lengthy explanation

i know this sounds draconian and old-fashioned but that's what i would say

ditsyjo
by Gold Member on Oct. 25, 2013 at 7:45 AM
I don't know how old your kids are but when my daughter (8) and son (6) want something we can't really afford I tell them it's just not in our budget right now. We have talked about finances and that we have been blessed to have enough for what we need and some extras but not a lot of them. They get it... And worry about people they see who look like they might have less than we do.
crazymomma87
by on Oct. 25, 2013 at 8:05 AM
When my kids start asking or whining about stuff that we don't have I tell them they should be grateful for the things they do have because there are a lot if kids that would love to have things they have
mommyakabooby
by on Oct. 25, 2013 at 8:09 AM

I would say something like "that would be so cool to own X. If you do chores and save your money, maybe you could afford to buy one!" 

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