Posted by: fathersez | December 11, 2007

5 stages of a child’s life and how it relates to financial and life education

This post is inspired by an article I read many years ago. I think it was in Readers Digest, but I am not sure. I am trying to remember as much of it as I can. 

This is not a psychological thesis, so please do not treat it as such. Children go through 5 phases as they grow up to become adults. Let’s begin. 

“My mommy knows everything” stage  

I am sure all parents will remember this stage with some nostalgia. The children who fall into this stage are those from the time they are born to about 6/7 years of age. 

What ever Mommy says is followed and accepted without question. Brush your teeth, go to sleep at 8.30 pm, do not play in the rain, etc. There may be some resistance, but it is negligible and usually, Mommy gets what she wants. In the event of any trouble, the kids can always be easily bribed.  

Mommy could also be depended upon to resolve any issue. How to heal a sick cat and or even to take on the 6’ 7”, 300 pounds ex-boxer father of Harry, who had said or done something nasty etc. 

All arguments between kids would have the mandatory, “My Mommy said so!”.  

“My Mommy knows most things” stage 

The kids are a little older now. Maybe between 8 to about 12/13 years. Other influences have now come into their lives. The older, “cooler” kids in school, their internet chat companions, etc. Mommy’s influence is still formidable, but now there are avenues to seek “second opinions”.

This is the time when the kids shy away a bit from being kissed by their mommies in school. 

Being called Mommy’s boy or girl in school would be an unmitigated disaster. 

“My Mommy does not have a clue” stage 

This is the stage most dreaded and feared by parents….the teens to late teens stage. The children are now aged maybe between 12/13 to about 20 years or so.  

They have their own minds, their own sources of information like the internet and their peer groups in school are now entrenched. Not quite adults and not quite children, they are sandwiched. There is a feeling of wanting to rebel and try out adult things, but are somewhat restrained by ties such as monetary support, place to stay, etc. 

Boys go through the girls stage and girls go through the boys stage.  

Money is expected from parents and not much thought is given to the hardships the parents may have to go through to earn it. Conversations with Mommy would be monosyllabic whilst phone bills on their conversations with friends would be astronomical.  

This stage is very crucial and may define some make or break situations like running away from home, eloping with their “loved ones”, etc.

Generally a stressful period for Mommy as well as the children.  

“Maybe I should ask my Mommy” stage

Here some stability is setting in. Also some acceptance of the real facts of life. Facts like we need money to survive, and that we have to work to get money and getting money by some “easier” means may result in punishment from Authorities etc. 

This would be the stage straddling college, graduation, first jobs and maybe serious relationships with the opposite sex and marriage. The children would now be in the early to perhaps mid /late 20’s. 

There may still be some anger over some perceived “ill or grossly unfair treatment” during the earlier stage of their lives, i.e. the “Mommy had no clue stage”.

Slowly they see two sides of the situation and some understanding of their Mommy’s way of thinking dawns. 

“I wish my Mommy was here, she’ll know what to do” stage 

Most probably our children now have children of their own. The antics of their kids make them nostalgic of their own past and there is a lot more appreciation for Mommy.

The child has now completed the circle and become an adult.  

How does this help us in giving our kids financial education?  

It appears to me that the best time to start teaching our children on pf or life would be during the 1st two stages, i.e. “Mommy knows best and Mommy knows most things” stages.  

During these stages, the kid’s minds will be most receptive. The lessons learnt, even if discarded during the next “Mommy not having a clue” stage, will remain in their minds. Ready to be awakened during the “maybe I should ask my Mommy” stage. 

Unfortunately these 1st two stages coincide with the time when the parents are inexperienced, may have to work extra hours to cope with the extra expenses of the kids and “quality” time with the kids are not as much as it should be.  

This is perhaps, where we, as parents lose out. 

We then try to catch up during the “Mommy does not have a clue” phase, and the stage is set for countless arguments, slamming of doors and sulks. 

And all Mommy can do is to wonder, what have I done. 

Naturally, they’ll be exceptions to the rules above. From hyperactive children to those who read “War and Peace” when they are only 4 years old.

This post is just meant to show a different slant to the issue of parenting and the teaching of good family and life values to our children.  

And I do think it makes sense.

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Responses

  1. It does makes sense. But i think any financial planning education for individuals can be considered early if they are below 30. However, of course,the earlier the better!

    Hopefully by having a mindful parents (keeping track of the child’s whereabouts, at the same time not too bossy!)
    and the initiative from the child’s side to read good books, mixing with the right crowd and learn from other people’s experience will make both parties cope with “my mommy does not have a clue stage”.

  2. Dear Fathersez,

    Thanks for the insight. It does make understanding this complicated world easier. Having 2 kids at mommy knows everything stage, this is certainly a timely reminder. I will pass the message to the mommy.

    Thanks again

  3. @Ms. Xynix, Thank you for your comments. That is the most stressful stage. Thank God, my two elder girls, did not cause too much trouble during that stage.

    @Journeyofthefree

    Thanks for your kind remarks. The other thing, that I forgot to mention, but am sure that Mommy knows, is the busload of “no strings attached” smiles and hugs she would have got from the kids during the earlier part of the “Mommy knows everything stage”.

  4. I’m definitely in the final stage. Both of my parents are gone, but there are so many times when I wish I could pick up the phone and ask them what to do about various situations! I talk to them from right here in their home where I grew up (I own and live in it now), but they don’t answer!

    Thanks for participating in the Christmas Edition of the Carnival of Family Life! The Carnival will go live at midnight (Pacific time) on December 24, 2007, at Colloquium!

    Happy holidays!

  5. I feel the same way too. I could have done and said a lot more to my father when he was alive. Now he is gone.

    I suppose, for you, staying in the same house invokes more powerful memories of your parents.

    Don’t worry. I believe that your late parents will know whenever you have good thoughts about them.

    I am looking forward to the Carnival.


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