Are You Largely A YES Parent Or A NO Parent?

Swapna Mirashi
Ever realized how often money and (related) material things creep in your everyday conversations and dealings with your children?
Whether you buy them their justified need of a book/toy/CD or deny them their demand of a latest gizmo or gadget. Whether you make a conscious effort to make your kids/teenagers aware of their responsibility towards money and using it wisely or keep nagging them over their irresponsible financial behavior. Whether you fund all their needs and wants or give them pocket money and teach managing that, you as a parent are consciously or unconsciously shaping your children’s financial attitude.
Your own financial habits and attitudes largely influence theirs. And your reactions, immediate feedback and actions as a response to their financial behavior and attitude plays ‘the’ most important role in shaping their habits and attitude towards money and personal finance throughout their lives.  It is thus important to understand and alter these two important aspects – your financial habits and attitudes and your response to your child’s behavior and attitude towards money – in order to instill responsibility and right financial values in them.
Yes, children have many demands these days. But for these millions of children’s demands, parents have only two predominant responses;
1 – Yes
2 – NO
Both these responses make decisions for the child. The ‘no’ is a decision of ‘not buying’ and the ‘yes’ of buying everything the child wants.
In order to make the child accountable and responsible, a different, more open ended response, which will make the child think, is desirable. Encourage the child to decide if what she wants is indeed that important to her. And if it is, help her child figure out how she can afford what she wants from her pocket money.
3 – ASK 
 Checklist # 1 – Are you largely a YES parent?

  1. You have a tendency of buying on impulse
  2. You pride in acquiring latest trends/gadgets/appliances/cars etc.
  3. You believe that you/your family/your kids must ‘fit in’ a group to be happy
  4. You feel guilty that you do not have/spend enough time with your kids
  5. You believe that as a parent it is your duty to fulfil your child’s every demand
  6. You realize that you resort to buying for your kids, stuff they demand in order to make up for promises or commitments you could not keep.
  7. You heavily rely on others (including your spouse) to take care/ bring up your kids
  8. Spending on your children’s demands – stuff, eating out, gifts, parties – is a substantial part of your monthly expenses.
  9. You cannot say NO to your kids on anything
  10. You want your child to think that you are the best mom/dad and try hard to be so in their eyes.

Ask why – ‘you want it’ and ask how – ‘can you afford it from your pocket money.
ote that the above checklist is for indicative purposes only. It is not a scientific test.
If you agree with at least 6 of the above statements, you are largely a YES parent.
A little about Largely YES Parents
Largely YES parents meet (or at least try their best to meet) most of their kids’ demands. They believe that whatever they earn is for their kids. They are generally an emotional lot who feel that their kids should not be deprived of the pleasures they were deprived of or never had access to as a child. If they can afford it, they get it for their child. 

Very busy professionals, socially active and influenced people, parents with very little ‘quality’ time for their children, those who are emotional/ sentimental, especially when it comes to their kids tend to largely respond a YES to their child’s demands.
 Checklist # 2 – Are you largely a NO parent?

  1. You generally believe that children demand unnecessary things.
  2. You worry about financial future and believe in saving more for the future than spending now.
  3. You avoid shopping malls or prefer window shopping.
  4. Your immediate response to everything your child asks for is a NO
  5. You believe that as a parent it is your duty to discipline your child
  6. You believe that as a parent you understand your child’s needs better.
  7. You believe that advertising, attractive packaging, new products and malls are spoiling kids.
  8. You often make excuses when your child demands something.
  9. You do not trust children to have the ability to make decisions.
  10. You believe in traditional parenting style.

* Note that the above checklist is for indicative purposes only. It is not a scientific test.

If you agree with at least 6 of the above statements, you are largely a NO parent.

A little about Largely NO Parents
Largely NO parents say no to most of their kids’ demands. They believe that whatever they earn is for their kids’ future. They save most of their earnings for contingencies and their children’s secure future. They are generally practical who expect their child to be practical too. They believe in being strict with their children.
Professionals with fixed annual increments, family of many dependents, those who believe that giving kids whatever they demand could spoil them, over-protective, slightly paranoid parents tend to largely answer a NO to their child’s demands

​As both, Largely YES and Largely NO, have their own advantages and disadvantages, a fine balance between the two is recommended. A more open-ended response ‘ASK why and how’ will help instill right values and habits in children; money wise and otherwise. 
 Checklist # 3 – Are you a ‘ASK Why and How’ Parent?

  1. You generally consciously involve your kids while shopping so that they understand the household (and figure out their) needs and wants.
  2. You believe in prudently using your money – wise spending, saving, investing and sharing.
  3. You involve your child in making certain purchase decisions to check his/her thought process.
  4. You mostly listen to your children’s demands and guide them in evaluating whether the demand is justified or based on some superficial assumption.
  5. You allow your child to question and often answer your child’s questions/doubts.
  6. You do not feel guilty if you deny buying any of your child’s demand as you often explain your logic to your child and listen to their perspective.
  7. You hardly feel prepared to handle any pester power.
  8. You realize that you as a parent are the financial role model for your child and hence consciously work on your own financial habits and practices.
  9. You realize that even young kids have a mind of their own and are intelligent to make right choices for themselves.
  10. You are in general happy with the communication with your kids.