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I think I’m in trouble. Despite the fact that I’ve been explaining our financial situation to my 4-year-old daughter since she started talking, she’s just now starting to understand how money really works. She’s used to hearing things like “we don’t have the money for that” and “sorry, but that cookie isn’t in our budget right now.” However, I think we’ve hit some sort of turning point. All of a sudden, she realizes that we actually do have the money to buy the things she wants and that we’re just choosing not to. This new realization has turned my sweet child into a master of manipulation. And unfortunately, her growing list of “wants” is starting to include some big-ticket items. Here are some of the things that my daughter’s dreams are currently made of:
Stuff My Daughter Wants
An In-Ground Swimming Pool- Apparently the blow-up giraffe pool we set up in our driveway is no longer good enough. My daughter thinks we should spring for the “real thing.” “We want to swim every day and it would be easier,” she reasons when I tell her that the cost of a swimming pool doesn’t currently fit into our budget. She will even throw in things like “you’re the best mommy in the whole world” or “I would really love to swim with you in our new pool.” What does a parent say to that?
A New Park-I got her a swing-set for $50 off of craigslist a few years ago, and it’s becoming apparent that my daughter wants an upgrade. “My friends have bigger parks than me,” she says as she explains how her current park no longer meets her needs. “I’m growing up and I need a bigger swing and slide to play the right way.” Although she has a point, I can’t bring myself to buy a ginormous swingset for our yard considering the fact that there are several “real” parks nearby. The main park in our town is even within walking distance of our house.
Cable Television- We recently lost a few of my kid’s favorite shows off of Netflix. The most important ones we lost were Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob Squarepants, both of which my kids watch almost daily. My daughter’s answer? “Let’s get real TV like grandma.” In my daughter’s mind, the loss of a few good shows means that we should start dishing out $50 or more for cable or satellite television. The chances of that happening are currently zero. I have a feeling that this may be a point of contention when my kids get older.
I have no plans to budge on any of these items. However, I’m scared. If she wants me to spend tens of thousands of dollars on “wants” now, what is she going to want when she’s twelve? Fifteen? Eighteen?
How about you guys? What do your kids want? Do you ever feel bad when you tell them no?