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How to raise poor kids who are not emotionally scarred
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amother




OP


Post  Sun, Apr 14 2019, 4:56 pm
My financial situation has taken a downturn over the past few years. We have pared down our expenses to match -- no summer camp, kids wear shoes until thoroughly worn out, no Sunday programs, and I work like a meshugena, etc.
Looking ahead realistically, my kids are approaching their teens and our expenses will grow exponentially, and I don't see a realistic way for our income to keep pace.
My nine year old has been complaining about not having what his friends have. He asked for a new bike, emphasis on "new". When I explained that we would look for a good bike at the flea market, he made a comment about "that's because you're so poor". I get it, it's hard to feel deprived of what your friends have; it's hard for me even as an adult. But is there any way I can prevent him from growing up with that bitterness and resentment in his heart?
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ectomorph




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Apr 14 2019, 5:11 pm
Make friends with families that are poorer than you... My family was poor but all my friends on the block were equally poor or poorer so I felt comfortable.
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amother




Puce


Post  Sun, Apr 14 2019, 5:17 pm
As far as not being able to provide physical items, smother them love-love is free and the most valuable gift of all.

As far as financial struggle open up your eyes to bigger opportunity's. There is a whole world out there. Something amazing will come your way..Keep your eyes open and keep on networking..
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rd




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Apr 14 2019, 5:21 pm
First of all, I feel for you! And I get the feeling that you'r being very brave about it! So kol hakavod. My best advice for you is : Daven! Ask Hashem to make things better, and if He wants you to keep struggling, please may He help your children grow up happy and healthy. and keep hopeful, things like this can change really quickly! Halevay it should happen to u!
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thunderstorm




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Apr 14 2019, 5:25 pm
I think it's super important to make sure your children know that they are loved by their parents when growing up poor. For me the negative part of being poor was that my mother was so busy working and going to school to get a degree that she forgot about giving us the emotional love we needed (or maybe she was burnt out and didn't have it within her) . Having less than my friends didn't make me resentful. Having a mother that worked full time and didn't give us a moment of her time did cause resentment. I think so many people today need to work but they have to remember that more important than a new bike for their son is to be there 100% emotionally and lovingly for them.
If my child comments and says "I know why , because you are poor" , I'd have a conversation that we don't have the funds right now and would love to get him the best bike but this year the best you could do it check flea markets which may have an amazing bike as well. Iy"h next year you will try your best to get him one that he wants. Maybe you can start saving $5 a week starting now so that by next Pesach you will be able to make him feel extra special with a bike if his choice. I also feel it's important for parents to be positive no matter how difficult finances are. It rubs off on the kids.
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amother




OP


Post  Sun, Apr 14 2019, 5:27 pm
Amother puce, you did get me thinking. This kid is my "sandwich" (although not the actual middle child, he is between two more demanding kids) and does have a complex about getting less attention etc. than his siblings...
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southernbubby




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Apr 14 2019, 5:32 pm
thunderstorm wrote:
I think it's super important to make sure your children know that they are loved by their parents when growing up poor. For me the negative part of being poor was that my mother was so busy working and going to school to get a degree that she forgot about giving us the emotional love we needed (or maybe she was burnt out and didn't have it within her) . Having less than my friends didn't make me resentful. Having a mother that worked full time and didn't give us a moment of her time did cause resentment. I think so many people today need to work but they have to remember that more important than a new bike for their son is to be there 100% emotionally and lovingly for them.
If my child comments and says "I know why , because you are poor" , I'd have a conversation that we don't have the funds right now and would love to get him the best bike but this year the best you could do it check flea markets which may have an amazing bike as well. Iy"h next year you will try your best to get him one that he wants. Maybe you can start saving $5 a week starting now so that by next Pesach you will be able to make him feel extra special with a bike if his choice. I also feel it's important for parents to be positive no matter how difficult finances are. It rubs off on the kids.


You should write a book. Speak to a frum publisher. People can learn a lot from you. If you can't write a whole book, it should at least be an article.
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Teomima




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Apr 14 2019, 5:45 pm
I have very frank discussions with my children (the ones who are old enough to process it) about money. I discuss with them how every family has their own limited budget and everyone has to choose their priorities in life. I make it clear to my children that they will never go unclothed, unfed, or homeless, but the clothes will be bought on sale and the food will be homemade from scratch, in order to save money. I explain to my book worm daughter that she can read to her heart's content, but that she must get those books from the library instead of constantly asking me to buy books for her. I also encourage my children to have a practical understanding of finances. I give them opportunities to earn money (for example, if they sort the recycling they can keep the deposit from returning bottles). Then later if they ask me for something (to buy them an ice cream, or a book, or an unnecessary clothing item), I tell them they can buy it themselves, with their own money. They deliberate, trying to decide if it's a worthwhile use of their limited, and hard earned, funds. In this way they learn exactly what I go through wherever considering a purchase.

Do they ever resent not having what other friends might have? Maybe. Am I going to let that upset me? No. As long as their NEEDS are met, I can handle them not getting all their WANTS.

That said, it sounds like you're concerned about matching even basic needs. In which case, continue narrowing your budget as you have (truth is, summer camp was never in the picture for us, and shoes have always been worn till either worn through or too tight). Keep looking for places to cut corners. And if your kids' lack of understanding and gratitude really wears on you, take them to volunteer at a soup kitchen so they can learn to better appreciate everything you are able to give them.
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greenfire




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Apr 14 2019, 5:50 pm
money can't buy you love ... but you can teach good work ethics even at a young age

then hopefully they will value what you do have rather than what you don't have
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amother




Aquamarine


Post  Sun, Apr 14 2019, 6:05 pm
It’s not easy. I still remember giving my chanuka money to my mom to pay for food. As much as we have bitachon and emuna, we are human and hate when our children are in pain or sad.
Our school has a thank you hashem program- every day girls tell their classmates what they are thankful for
Ex: ears to hear
Ices on a hot day
Feet to walk
One girl mentioned choclear implants which help her hear
small things and big things
It’s amazing to see the change in their understanding of what is important.
As for older kids- mine babysat, sold esrogim, worked in camps at various jobs, worked in a hardware store before busy yomim tovim. In fact one of my boys worked at a matza bakery (and I was told that he had strong work ethics and received a bonus noone else did)
They learned the value of money, self worth, respect for others and saved money. Once they realized what goes into earning money they weren’t so quick to spend it.
With such a caring mom like you they will be fine.
Love, hugs and being there for them is what counts.
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amother




Linen


Post  Sun, Apr 14 2019, 7:32 pm
I have always made my kids proud of the fact that they are not spoiled and are self reliant. I point out how much better prepared for life they are. They have learned to earn their own money and budget: how to distinguish between needs and wants. They are so much more appreciative of anything they get.Poverty is really really a blessing, as hard as it is. My kids know how proud of them I am when they live up to the challenge. I myself grew up very poor, but didn't know how to rise above it. It never occurred to me to get a job and purchase the things I needed.My kids have tosave up their pennies/dollars early on to get things they want.
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Laiya




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Apr 14 2019, 8:25 pm
I think it's important OP not to let dc's comments really get to you; even if they did, try not to show it.

Reassure him often and repeatedly that you'll make sure his needs will always be taken care of. Keep your financial worries private. It's ok imo for a 9 year old to hear that you can't afford a new bike. But, it can become a very heavy burden for him to hear that you don't know how you're going to pay the mortgage or rent.

Even when you are telling him that you can't afford something, don't feel ashamed about it, so that you don't convey a sense of shame to him. Hashem decides who earns how much money every year. You and dh are ehrlich and try your best, so you have what to be proud of.

OP, I hope things turn around for you. May Hashem bless you with parnassah tova v'chol tuv
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amother




Jade


Post  Sun, Apr 14 2019, 8:43 pm
Op, this is a great question!! I was thinking about this the other day and realized that on similar threads, moms always responded "if you are happy, then theyll be happy!!".

Well, I dont agree with "life is not so simple. My mom was very happy and gives all her money to help her kids, but growing up, she needed to beg for money for food. We always had to eat even if it was rice or noodles.. but my mom really was happy. That didnt make me happy. Why? Because every schol chagiga and shabaton/event cost money and I needed to spend my money for deoderant...even if I could go, I didnt have a normal (even cheap ) shabbos clothes to wear because all the nice clothes and jobs went to my close in age sister(so I also had very little money). My best friend was so sweet and lent me a nice outfit for one event.

So lack of money made me have negative feelings bec it affected my socialization...And, I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH REGULAR(majority non wealthy) KIDS. I didnt feel a competition for the latest item as the girls were nice and not flashy and not rich. But, I didnt have basic clothes and couldnt go to basic school functions...

Now with my kids, im not poor but me n my dh work a lot and dont have enough for extras like we dont go to summer camp, no extra curriculars, we dont eat most foods only cheap...rarely pizza... no hired help no house...

But, bh we have basics bec we live very very simply, but my kids always compare and they are in schol with average regular income kids. Its hard , op, and I often think of how it will affect my kids ...BUT I AGREE WITH TEOMIMA, I tell my kids that we are lucky to have food and show them starving kids in the tzedaka phamphlets and tell them well give tzedaka. I also tell them that bh we have a place to live...and we do have treats for shabnos or treat for bday so too your friends spend on different things...BUT, at the end of the day, its hard bec. Kids are resentful and they want at least some things their friends ALL have(I would like to know their secrets.)

Inside my heart, im hoping hashem will increase our parnassa, but , op, I understand your concerns and hope you will be in a better situation.
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sub




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Apr 14 2019, 9:50 pm
a bracha to all that you should have parnasssa brevach and kavod.
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urban gypsy




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Apr 15 2019, 11:06 am
amother [ Linen ] wrote:
I have always made my kids proud of the fact that they are not spoiled and are self reliant. I point out how much better prepared for life they are. They have learned to earn their own money and budget: how to distinguish between needs and wants. They are so much more appreciative of anything they get.Poverty is really really a blessing, as hard as it is. My kids know how proud of them I am when they live up to the challenge. I myself grew up very poor, but didn't know how to rise above it. It never occurred to me to get a job and purchase the things I needed.My kids have tosave up their pennies/dollars early on to get things they want.


Why on earth did you go anonymous for this comment? What a wonderful post!

I just got divorced and my ex doesn't pay child support. His parents spoil the kids with hundreds of dollars of toys and gifts while I'm paying for everything else with my minimum wage salary. I'm proud that I can provide for them on my own but worried that they will get annoyed at me for always talking about how budgets and money Sad
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Rappel




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Apr 15 2019, 11:17 am
1.Never discuss finances with them, or tell them that you can't do something because of money. Poverty is a mindset.

2.Teach them the value of saving, and help them make/execute plans to earn their own money for extras.

3. Always, always, no matter what, provide the basics.

4. Money can't buy you love. Those are all my best memories.

You can PM me if you want to discuss further; I don't want to add details in public.
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urban gypsy




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Apr 15 2019, 1:37 pm
Rappel wrote:
1.Never discuss finances with them, or tell them that you can't do something because of money. Poverty is a mindset.


Can you expound on this please?
Don't you think doing this will result in kids who are financially clueless?
Why is telling them that something is not in the budget raising them with a poverty mindset?
I'm not trying to argue, I've just heard a lot of arguments for and against and I'd like to hear more about what you mean, because I love your posts Rappel!
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Apr 15 2019, 1:53 pm
OP, you've gotten some incredible answers here. My method, was to always model gratitude to Hashem, for even the tiniest thing that most people take for granted. I'd talk out loud about all the things I'm grateful for, all the time. (This helped me as much as it did DD.)

We did discuss finances as well, but not in the terms of "we're so poor", but rather in terms of being responsible and spending within our means.

===============================================

Jade amother, I'm so sorry you had such a hard time growing up. That must have been extremely painful for you. It sounds like you've learned a lot from the experience, and gained a lot of wisdom to pass on to your children. You should be proud of yourself.
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keym




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Apr 15 2019, 2:30 pm
urban gypsy wrote:
Can you expound on this please?
Don't you think doing this will result in kids who are financially clueless?
Why is telling them that something is not in the budget raising them with a poverty mindset?
I'm not trying to argue, I've just heard a lot of arguments for and against and I'd like to hear more about what you mean, because I love your posts Rappel!


I've heard that concept before of not telling kids and I strongly disagree.
I mentioned in a different thread a bit ago.
I was raised poorer, and my parents used that concept of not talking about money. Instead they said things like "we have for the things we need".
The thing was when there was no money for braces or a math tutor I felt irrelevant. Because my needs were not being covered. So I guess my needs didn't matter. I was very resentful.
I wish they would have said "we would if we could" or some other line that would make me feel like my needs mattered.
So I do talk about money a bit with my kids.
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ectomorph




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Apr 15 2019, 2:38 pm
I think it depends. I remember being extremely anxious when I heard my parents talking about lack of money.
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