Spending: Set An Example

Kids have so much these days. It’s a balancing act to provide for needs but also allow for the wants in life.  How do you teach your children to be wise with money and grateful for what they have?  The surest answer I can give is by teaching them through your actions.  Saying "NO" can be the best thing you do for them sometimes. Thrifty spending and conservative purchases are great examples of being frugal but they also will need to learn it’s okay to splurge every now and then as long as the needs are taken care of.  There are specific techniques that I do with my son and most of the time it works well. 

1) Toys are rewards outside of celebrations like Christmas and Birthdays.  Using this technique will give confidence and build them up with praise for a job well done.  We work hard and get a paycheck at the end of a workweek.  It's the same philosophy.  Attaching the reward to an action implements working toward something.  I'm also an advocate for treating to something special; just keep it as something special and not the normal.

2) Give allowance for chores.  In my house, there are chores you do because you are a part of the family and then there are extra chores that are thought up to earn some cash.  This teaches that the regular life accomplishments don't always get praised but that there are natural consequences that are good for keeping a clean room, taking out the trash...etc. Extra chores are the added effort to earn toward something wanted and go above and beyond the regular.  This in my house is giving the tub and extra special scrub, organizing the books on the bookshelf, cleaning out the car, etc.  We negotiate a price for completing such task and once it is finished I get to gaze upon the face of a very proud child who knows he truly worked for that money.

3) Create incentive to save.  Consider a savings plan for your kids. Whatever you save, I'll match up to X dollar amount.  For example, my son really wants something that costs $300.  He is saving his money and once he reaches $150, then I'll match it and he'll obtain his accomplishment. It makes the task of saving feel less daunting while teaching him the general principal.

The main idea is to be an example.  If you are spending money without reason, your children might just follow in your footsteps.  Ask yourself, what do I spend my money on? Do I spend frivolously or is it well thought out? What spending habits are my children witnessing?  Do I share those thought steps with them?

You are your children’s best teacher.

Sex and Single Parenting

Sex was created by God. Sex was created to be enjoyed. Sex is something that is a natural progression to the plan of marriage. Whether you were married before you had children or not, sex is something that we are all geared to desire.

Sex is also a very socially taboo subject. To talk about the enjoyment of this activity can be viewed as inappropriate and is expected to be completely off the radar for a single person to even discuss. The bottom line is that we are geared to want and enjoy sex. Just because we are single does not mean that this feeling turns off. Needless to say, as parents, we have enjoyed this activity at least once before. We know how we feel when we partake and we want to feel that feeling again. We want to be in someone's arms, if even just for a moment of feeling like we are wanted and loved.

Here's the problem. Many single parents are having sexual relations in or out of relationships and it is causing more damage than the good of that momentary feeling. Putting aside what the Bible speaks of, the damage that it can do emotionally, physically, and mentally are enough to give some pause to the subject and visit the reality of such decisions.
  • Inviting sex into a relationship bonds you to this person. You may not end up marrying the person you are sexually active with. By participating in such an intimate activity, you will never truly rid yourself of that person from your life if things don't work out. It also makes it much more difficult to walk away when you need to. You are connected to them.
  • You put yourself at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. The more partners you have, the higher your chances. This is a lifetime consequence.
  • According to the Bible, sex outside of marriage is clearly defined as sin. Sin separates us from God. The bottom line is that if you are having sex outside of a marital union, you are separating yourself from God and will find it more and more difficult to grow in your faith. You can't simply ignore the scriptures you don't like.
  • You have taken up the torch to raise your children according to God's direction and you have taken that task very seriously. The main thing to remember is that your children are looking to you as an example. If you are having sex outside of marriage, why shouldn't they? Be who you want your kids to be and live how you want them to live. Don't be a hypocrite, even if it is in secret.
  • An unplanned pregnancy is not going to help your situation. You are already raising children in a single parent home and despite the amazing life they may have, you realize that children need both parents. Why would you risk bringing another child into your situation?
Although my reasons were blunt, I understand the natural desire for sex. I know what it's like to feel lonely and to wish that you had a companion. Be careful with your understanding of those feelings and remember that God can help you overcome any obstacle in your walk with Him.