Should parents be giving more?
One has to take notice of the high cost of living and the state of our economy.
As the children grow up, getting ready to spread their wings, the inevitable question is: ‘what kind of car are you going to buy me?’ That is asked after you announced: ‘over my dead body am I buying a motorbike for your birthday.’
From that, the next question arises: should we expect children to earn their own money to buy a car? Or has the time come for parents to help?
It’s a daunting thought considering varsity costs may have to be paid as well. A parent automatically calls up memories of how we worked behind a till by the time we were 16 and how long and hard we saved for that first car. Not to mention how long it took to repay that student loan.
Loving our children: we want to give everything
Most parents are loving the children so much, they want to give them everything. A warm home, first-class education plus a kidney or a heart, if they need it.
Fact is, there is a fine line between giving that helps to build responsible, independent young adults and giving that is actually spoiling to create a dependent adult, claiming rights.
Perhaps it is important to make your child understand that getting a car is not a birthright. Don’t be held prisoner by the Joneses and the Xholo’s, who gave in. We don’t have to give what other parents gave.
Consider the answers to these questions:
- Does the child really need a car?
- Can we get by with sharing a car?
- Can the child catch the train, the bus, or get a lift?
- Is there money available to buy a car?
If buying a vehicle will put strain on family finances, postpone the purchase until your financial position allows it. Better still, until the child can buy it himself.
There are no two ways about the fact that your child should not be driving a better car than you. Some mothers are giving their teenage sons a God complex. They won’t hesitate to buy the little darling a better car than they drive.
Last but definitely not least, always look out for ‘teachable moments’. Rather than downright buying a car, the child should be involved in planning, earning and saving.
Moral of this story; giving and helping the children is not a problem, as long as you can actually afford it, and as long as they are helping themselves.
If and when your child eventually gets a car, teach him about Insurance.