Thursday, June 4, 2009

How much should your child know?

In the last week I've been made acutely aware by my daughter that our family is different.

She and her imaginary friend Asa won "two trophies, and there were only two trophies" at her imaginary gymnastics. (Her friends take tumbling classes.)

She was bummed because we couldn't go on rides at the church carnival (Mom doesn't carry cash.)

She's made it clear that everyone else has TV's in their rooms.

Despite all the upheaval in our lives the last year, as parents we've worked hard to create a sense of normalcy within reason. Sure, there are some things we wouldn't do based on principle (like the TV thing). But there are others that we know truly that we would love her to be able to experience.

We've worked hard to create memories as a family. We bake cookies. We garden. We see cows. We attend local events and go to the farmers market and other activities. We create art. We play.

But sometimes, it doesn't seem enough. Like when your daughter asks why you don't have money to go on the carosel. (Does it help that she's terrified by the merry-go-round at the park?) Or she asks why she can't do something her friend two doors down can.

How do you break reality to your preschool-age child? That their values may not be your own? And that some things are just not in your control?


Green Bean said...

We go through the same thing from time to time. I get it more from my younger son than my older. We don't do video games. We don't watch much TV. We buy thrift store clothes. We don't have all the Star Wars toys. Honestly, I mostly ignore it and point out all the things we do have. I think it depends on the kid but hopefully they eventually realize what great things their family does do.

Corie said...

It's a tough one, for sure. Kids see their "stuff" (compared with their friends') as their identity sometimes, and when they can't do things their friends can, it hurts. But you're doing the right thing, I think. I do think it's OK to just tell kids, "We don't have the money right now." We tell our kids that all the time. That way, they learn that nothing is free and that we have to have money to treat ourselves to something special. When they ask why we have to go to work (a frequent topic of conversation around here), then we tell them it's to make money to do these things. They start to put two and two together (at least, at my son's age, 7, he does) and eventually they do appreciate the value of money. I always think honesty is the best policy. It's probably better than making excuses or dancing around the issue. Just be up front with her and let her know times are tough. When you pull through all of this and she gets to start doing more things, perhaps, she might appreciate it in her own preschooler kind of way. Money is such a reality, I don't think it's ever too early to talk to kids about it. You just have to talk on their level, of course. Just my two cents (no pun intended), though! :o)