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Millionaire Kids Ezine, Issue #023 - How To Teach Your Kids Delayed Gratification
February 09, 2009

Do Your Kids "Waaaaant It Now?"

When my kids were little, I was constantly amazed at how the precious babies I birthed could enter the parking lot of Target as sweet and loving children, telling me “We love you, Mommy” and “You're the greatest mom ever!” for the joy of getting to go to the store with me.

But as soon as they “smelled” toys, they made a mad dash to the toy section almost drooling uncontrollably!

It took all of three seconds for an angelic face to turn into a grotesque grimace. Before I barely had time to put my car keys in a safe, “findable” location in my purse, Tony would whine, “Why can't I have the mega-strength super soaker?!” “I promise I won't shoot Matthew!” Now that's a little white lie if I ever heard one!

Or Maria would grab the latest stuffed, fluffy kitty kat and peer up at me with those big blue eyes and curly blond wringlets, asking “Can I – can I pleeeease have it?!”

A Troubled Teen Girl

Once I heard a teen girl telling her mother in the dressing room that she wouldn't be caught dead wearing jeans from WalMart to school. She would be the laughing stock of the entire school!

Then her voice started cracking as she hissed “I waaaant to go to Aeropostle...and I want to go now!” Thankfully, an announcement about free hotdogs and a pop sponsored by the local radio station quelled a brewing storm.

People scrambled outside to wait in line for over an hour for those FREE dogs! Even I'm not that cheap!

How to Avoid Teen Temper Tantrums

Ugly scenes like these can be easily avoided if you establish some ground rules before ever walking into a store.

When I take Rachel and Tony school shopping (both picky teens – especially fashion conscious Tony!), I tell them that “I will spend a $20 dollars maximum on a pair of jeans. You can use your own money to spend any more than that if you want. If you argue or cause a scene in the store, then you won't be allowed to buy anything at all.”

Sometimes I have to give the same instructions to my hubby, Andy, when we go to Menards. (Editorial comment by the husband in question: I have to do the same with my lovely bride when we get anywhere near a garden center with flowers!)

The Key to Happiness

But if you want your kids to be truly happy when they grow up, you MUST teach them the importance of delayed gratification. Or in other words, good things come to those who wait.

If your kids never learn the benefits of patience while they're growing up, then they'll be caught in the vicious cycle of buying “stuff” to be happy.

So how do you teach your kids to be content? Especially when they're being bombarded by the media to buy, buy, and buy more?

Good Eaters Are Made - Not Born

Let's start with teaching kids to be content in the basic things in life. For example, meals. When you train a young child to eat what is put before him, he learns contentment.

I've always said that “good eaters are made – not born”. Our kids are expected to eat, maybe not all, but at least some of the food that is placed in front of them. I don't believe in making separate meals because of “picky eaters.”

But I do try to make sure to have at least one item that I know they will eat, such as bread or mashed potatoes. And when Matthew (now 14) was little, I learned the hard way not to ask him to take one more bite when he says he's full. He obeys but then ends up throwing up and ruining everyone's appetite!

If You're Not Grateful for What You Get...Then You Get Nothing At All!

It only takes one time for one of our kids to go without a hot fudge sundae at McDonald's (for complaining about not going to Dairy Queen for triple the cost) to be grateful for what they have.

Another key to teaching contentment is with structure.

The routine of a schedule helps your kids learn responsibility, order, and accountability – he learns what's expected of him and where he fits in. In our family, we have a set dinner time, home-work time, and bed time. Of course, the older the kids get, the more flexible the schedule becomes. But it doesn't change drastically.

The routine of sticking to a schedule serves as a basis for learning and “sticking to” other disciplines later in life, such as a budget (saving for that special toy, video, or bike instead of getting it instantly) or sticking to a shopping list (instead of falling for every TV commercial or marketing trick in the store.)

And lastly, remember that being content is a choice. Kids learn that life is full of rules they may not like but need to follow anyway. Like a certain bed time!

As adults, they may not like the idea that they need to live on a budget, but the internal controls you've taught them through consistency over bedtime issues or eating their veggies will help them accept this discipline.

By teaching your kids delayed gratification, it will help them make better decisions in their relationships, their work, as well as their financial decisions. And they'll be that much happier and content throughout their adult life.

Remember, good things come to those who wait!

Do your kids think money grows on trees? Then check out this no-nonsense, practical guide for parents on teaching your kids the value of a they won't ever be broke!

A Fun Way for Little Kids To Make Some Cash

People love to make their own home-made creations to keep themselves or to give as gifts.

From rosemary and tarragon vinegar, to milky bubble bath, to strawberry raspberry wine, there's plenty of demand for tall glass bottles.

There are hundreds of perfectly beautiful bottles thrown away (or hopefully recycled) every day.

And that's how your kids can profit from selling bottles they collect for free.

Be on the Look Out: Your kids can collect all sorts of bottles right from your refrigerator! They can also ask friends and relatives to save their empty bottles for them.

Also, watch in your local newspaper for annual gala events and ask the person organizing if you can collect the empty wine bottles. And of course ask your local restaurants for their bottles as well.

Before Selling: The easiest way to clean and sanitize used wine bottles is run them through the dishwasher. You may or may not want to remove the label, depending on the shape it's in. Now you're ready to set reasonable prices for the pretty glass bottles. Colored bottles are more desirable so set those prices higher.

Bundle Pricing: Most do-it-yourself crafters make several gifts or bottles of wine at a time. Offer discounted prices for 5 or 10 bottles at a time.

Buyers for Free: Put an ad on for free. You'll have more buyers than bottles in no time!

Profitable Investment Idea:

Have you lost money in the stock market recently?

If you haven't, then you're better off than 99% of most people.

Then why on earth should you invest more money in the stock market?

Because right now...stocks are the bargain of the century.

So don't let the natural up and down of the stock market scare you away from banking huge profits over the long term.

Random Acts of Tithing

Why not make collecting donations fun?

Have your kids decorate or hand paint a pretty glass bottle or jar to collect coins and cash.

They could have "themed" jars for animal shelters, food shelf, etc.

It's Good to Know...Financial Terms For Kids

1) Good things come to those who wait

2) 4 of these equal a dollar

3) How kids can make their own money

Answers: delayed gratification, quarter, start a business

Cheap Family Fun

Valentine's Day is right around the corner - in only 4 days!

So how can you show your love...have some inexpensive family fun...and not spend a wad of cash?

Have a fantastic family dinner together!

Every Valentine's Day, my husband makes a prime rib dinner to die for!

So get out your best china...

Light some glowing candles...

And enjoy each others company with your own romantic dinner at home!

Happy parenting!


Sonja Mishek

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