The child is obsessed with her concept of rich and poor. She frequently makes statements that when she’s out of school, she’s going to be “rich” and not have to worry about anything. Of course, when asked, she doesn’t have a plan in mind of how she’s going to get rich. She also frequently comments about how we are poor, her mother is poor, and her friends’ parents are all rich.
Mister and I try to gently explain that while her friends’ parents may be “rich”, they could also be in debt up to their ears, but no one would know unless they told. Of course, she insists this is not the case. Her mother does not manage money well, and before the child moved in with us we heard stories of her mother not having money for groceries, gas, etc. Oh, but she always has beer and smokes. Priorities, people! But, because of her mother, I understand the desire for her to not be poor when she’s on her own, and I know she’s definitely tired of hearing her mother say she can’t get or do something because she doesn’t have any money, or she can’t afford it. Personally, I think those are details a child does not need. Simply saying “not this time”, or something along those lines should suffice.
Her father and I are definitely not wealthy, yet we manage to pay our bills on time, and put a little money in savings. We are trying to eliminate our credit card debt and I feel we have a decent plan in place to do so. Without giving her all those details (I don’t think a 14 year old needs all that detail) we mention to her that we need to save up for certain things (she wants another pug dog) and we can’t just go out and buy things on a whim. She, of course, has said we could “just use credit cards”, which I have to counter with an explanation as to why that isn’t a good idea. And that just brings it back full circle, and she’ll say, “Well, when I’m out of school, I’ll be rich so I can buy whatever I want. I won’t have to worry”
Yet, we still have some toys, like our bikes and video games. She definitely doesn’t go without. There is always food and snacks, pop, lunch money and she has her toys, too. Clean clothes, new shoes. Her underwear doesn’t have holes. She has books, video games, a cell phone, an iPod (but it’s not the iTouch. Oh, the horror). A TV in her room, with a DVD player and cable. Yet, somehow it isn’t enough for her. Quite honestly, compared to the things I had when I was young, I think she’s kind of spoiled, relatively speaking.
How do you get through to a 14 year old about the differences between rich, poor, and all that is in between? It’s not just black and white. And also, how do you encourage her to come up with a plan for being “rich” (I prefer having her come up with a plan for success, not just being “rich”), without coming straight out and saying becoming “rich” doesn’t just happen overnight, that’s a pipe-dream, honey? Which, I have said, in so many words, but I need something to translate to her young language.
I asked her how much money she thought one needed to be “rich”, and she didn’t have any idea. A million? 5 million? A thousand dollars? What?
The other day, Mister went to an eye appointment and decided to try contacts. Well, one contact since his right eye is useless. Anyway, the child informed him that when she needs vision correction of some sort, she’s going to get “cool” contacts, like different colors or cat eyes or something like that. Mister said those are very expensive. Again, her response was that she’ll be rich so she’ll be able to afford them. All he ever says is “I hope you are”. That can’t be helping.
This is just so frustrating. I’m not sure I can bite my tongue next time, and I just might have to drill her. What are you going to do to be rich? How soon after high school do you think you’ll be rich? The day you graduate? After college? When you’re 25? You gonna marry a rich man? Let me know how that one works out. Seriously. I know she’s only 14, but damn, this is annoying.
~anastasia wants to be rich someday, too.