As much as I hate the consumerism I see in my kids at times, I still love giving them the money. I just remembered why when I read this post.
When we started giving the kids money a year ago I made it very clear that they could use their money on whatever they wanted. I took them up to the drug store and they bought candy, candy and more candy for a few weeks. I also made it clear to Sweetie Heart that if she wanted hot lunch at school it came from her allowance. If she wanted to order a book from the book order it came from her allowance. If she wanted to give her friend a present for her birthday or give Valentine's at school that would come from her allowance or she could get creative. The choice has been given.
And a choice has been made. This year Sweetie Heart decided that she didn't want to give Valentine's for the class party (her teacher said they could bring them if they wanted to. She didn't want to!) She went to a birthday party for a friend. She decided to look through our books to see if there was one she could give to her friend (I've done this in the past) and then decided to just give her friend $5 cash in the card she made. The mother of the friend tried to give the money back to Sweetie Heart. She didn't want her daughter to take it because the money was Sweetie Heart's. But she held her ground and said she wanted her friend to have the money. She hasn't eaten hot lunch much this year because she either hasn't had the money or she wants something else more. Funny too, at the beginning of the school year she said to me, "If I forget my lunch, can I charge my lunch and pay the bill when it comes?" Why yes, yes you can!
I also have to say, the kids don't beg for stuff so much anymore. Sweetie Heart is understanding better how to get what she wants, when she wants it. She is saving more and is much more thoughtful about her money. But buying books is still her weakness. Don't know where she gets that...ahem!
I also explained that if they broke something that belonged to someone else they would have to replace it. That actually happened to Sweet Girl. She was playing with Sweetie Heart's Barbie and broke the head off. She didn't yank the head off. The neck was probably already starting to break, but she was playing with it when it broke. She said, "Oops!" Actually it was really funny when it happened. I had to stifle a laugh. I said, "Oops, you'll have to buy a new one with your money." And she said okay. That was it. I was thinking there would be more of a fight, with a tantrum from Sweetie Heart about the broken Barbie and a tantrum from Sweet Girl for having to spend her money to replace it. I got none of it! Natural consequences at there best. I HATE those big stores. I could have ordered it online but I felt it was important to take her to the store and have her pick out the new Barbie and buy it with her money. So we did. And it was hard for her to go in to Toys R Us and just buy the Barbie for her sister and nothing for herself. But she did it!