How to Teach Your Kids Money Lessons By Saying No

by Miranda Marquit · 5 comments

It can be hard to say NO to our kids. I know that sometimes I feel bad when I tell my son that I won’t buy something for him, or that he can’t go to an event that costs money.

However, telling your kids NO can create situations in which you teach them valuable money lessons. Since you want your children to grow up making better financial decisions and to be better with money, it’s important to sometimes tell them NO from time to time.

Here’s how telling your kids NO can help them learn valuable money lessons.

Dealing with Disappointment

We don’t always get what we want. I grew up with this lesson, and as a result, I handle disappointment a little bit better as an adult. When your child never experiences disappointment growing up, he or she is unprepared for some of the realities of life.

Additionally, while it can be difficult to tell our children that there isn’t enough money to do something right now. But the reality is that many of us, as adults, don’t have the money we want to do everything we want to do immediately. This is where patience comes into play.

This can be disappointing for everyone involved, but it also provides teaching moments. Don’t stop at just saying that there is no money and it’s not going to happen. You can help your child see that sometimes there are alternatives.

Maybe you aren’t going to go to the expensive movie at the theater, but you can go to a local Redbox and choose a cheap movie to watch at home. This allows children to start seeing less expensive alternatives, and learning that they can be flexible and content, even if the outcome is a little different than what they thought was ideal.

Learning to Make Hard Choices

Sometimes saying NO allows you the chance to teach your children to make hard choices. Being able to prioritize is an important skill in money and in life.

My son recently had to decide between two different activities, since we weren’t going to pay for both. Rather than being able to do everything, he realized that he needed to stop and think about what was most important to him. What really mattered to him? What did he really want to do?

The same is true of when he wants to use his own money to make purchases. Sometimes he tells us that he wants several things. However, if he doesn’t have enough money, we tell him NO. Instead, he has to choose for himself, and decide what is more important.

As adults, we make these types of decisions all the time. When we choose to spend money on one thing, it means we may not be able to spend on something else — at least not right away.

Planning Ahead and Working for It

Finally, saying NO can help your children learn how to plan ahead and work for what they want. Just because something is a NO right now doesn’t mean that it will always be a NO. I might want a new computer.

Right now, buying it is a not an option. However, if I set aside a certain amount of money each month, it can be a YES in three months. If I take on an extra project to earn a little more money, buying the computer can be a yes in one month.

Teach this concept to your children. If they don’t have the money for something right now, show them how they can work for it. Sit down with them and talk about different solutions to the problem. They can work to earn extra money, save for a longer period of time, or find another way to get what they want. Planning ahead means that it’s possible to turn today’s NO into a YES down the road.

Saying NO doesn’t have to be a dead-end for your children. Instead, use it as a way to teach your children important lessons about money and life — lessons that will help them succeed.

What lesson does saying NO to your child teach them? How do you prepare them for real world money situations?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Frankie K. says:

    very thoughtful post-it is hard to say no, but in the long run it’s worth it to help teach our kids the same thing our parents did-“money doesn’t grow on trees.”

  • Sam Jones says:

    We can teach our children how to live with boundaries only by saying to them “No” sometimes. Educating them is not always fun – but always necessary.

  • Mike Carlson says:

    I really appreciate article like this. It’s very informative and I learned something from here. Thanks for sharing on How to Teach Your Kids Money Lessons By Saying No.

  • David Ning says:

    Saying no to our kids is important, and something I’m trying hard to do. It can be tough hearing my daughter tell me that “she hates me” though!!! At least she goes right back to saying she loves me in about 15 minutes 🙂

  • Jackie Rose says:

    This is amazing! I think it is so important to teach our children good money management, as well as basic life principles, at a young age.

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