For children, there comes an age when they start to notice not just the things they have in common with their friends, but also their differences. When there is a gap between your family’s wealth and that of the families they spend time with, this can often become upsetting for your child.
However, with just a few words of wisdom from you, they don’t have to stay upset about it. Here are five uplifting things you can tell your children which will change their outlook on the situation.
1. Put all into perspective
Children may have different reasons for feeling left out or inferior to their friends, especially the ones from higher social circles. The crucial thing, though, is to assure your child that having affluent friends can only be for their benefit. By spending time with kids from various social backgrounds, your child is exposed to a whole new world of possibilities and exciting opportunities. Getting accustomed to a wealthy lifestyle may motivate your child to try their best to have good grades, get into a respected university and work hard to get a well-paying job in the future.
2. Not all that glitters is gold
Remind your child that money doesn’t buy happiness. Are they less happy than their friends just because they don’t have flashy clothes? Do they receive less love from their parents because they don’t have the latest iPhone? Let them know to look for signs that the richer kids are actually just as well-off as they are in terms of happiness. In fact, it could well be that they are even happier, particularly if their friends are in a rich enough household that the children are left to the nanny and ignored by their parents.
3. Appearances can be deceptive
If your child is upset because it looks like their friends have more money, ask them to think about something carefully. Bring up something that you spent money on lately – maybe going on holiday, or redecorating a room of the house. Thinking about your personal situation, demonstrate the ways in which their rich friends might not be as rich as they seem. If you used lots of savvy methods to save money on your holiday, you can show them that having something new doesn’t always mean having lots of money behind it. If you went on holiday instead of buying iPhones because you valued the experience more, show them that people can dress well and drive flashy cars without having the money to spend in other areas. Spending cash doesn’t always really mean having it!
4. Quality is not judged by wealth
Your child needs to know that their value as a person is based on what they bring to the world and who they are, not how much they own. The quality of a person rests on their inner value, not their outer wealth.
Today’s highly material culture led us to believe those possessions equal joy. In fact, for many people, their belongings are often mean to hide their insecurities in other areas of life, such as confidence, self-esteem, or personal relations. By teaching your child how to enjoy life, make friends and be kind to others, you let them experience that feeling good about themselves is so much better than simply looking good.
5. The future is more important
Let your child know that spending some of their money on trivial things is all well and good – but sooner or later they will have to take a closer look at their finances and savings. Do pay special attention towards financial education at home and set your child off to college with a set of skills that will help them make a budget, shop responsibly and manage their own funds. You want to support their future, and you believe in their ability to go far – and that’s why you want and expect them to make savvy money choices now and for the years to come.
When your child understands these five points, they will realize that wealth isn’t everything – and the outward appearance of wealth is even less. That will make them feel much better!