As a parent, it gets overwhelming to see your teens growing into young adults. On one side, there is the happiness of letting them be independent in their lives. However, on the other side, there is fretfulness about children making guilty decisions on their own. It is indeed a big and crucial responsibility on the shoulders of the parents to impart the best values in their kids. Among the plenty of essential skills, it is utterly vital teaching them the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. Let’s know its prime significance and workable ways that generate sought results.
Academic knowledge plays an undefined vital role in everybody’s life till the end. Along with such education, it is highly imperative to gain interpersonal skills and one of them is to decide what is needed at what time. Let’s put some light on the significance of these skills.
The foremost benefit out of such learning is that children will make financial decisions wisely. They will understand what unavoidable ‘need’ is worthy of their spending and what is only a wasteful expenditure due to their ’want’.
Resultantly, children will manage their budget and use money resourcefully. And this does not stop here because such a wise decision-making skill will help them throughout their lives. It will even protect them from financial risks in the future.
It is a renowned saying that excess of everything is bad. For example, some parents may relate to the situation where they might ‘want’ another drink but cannot afford it financially or healthily. Or where one ‘wants’ another serving of the tasty food but has no appetite left.
In such circumstances, extra or ‘want’ may lead to tipsiness, overeating, and other issues. Similarly, at every step, children must know when to stop and differentiate between ‘want and ‘need’.
There are countless things that caring parents wish to inculcate in their kids. But then it may get difficult to know when the appropriate time is. Is it today or afterward? Is it too early? Or will it get late? Too many questions, but the answers may be as simple as below.
The first decisive factor would be the level of understanding and reasonability your child is having currently. Some kids are faster than usual in grasping new lessons while some may respond a little late in the age. Do not worry in either of the situations and know your kids closely to teach timely. See if they are mentally ready to learn the difference between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’.
In particular, it may be the period of adolescence that could be the right time. The reason is that teenagers are quick to absorb novel concepts in this phase. Things learned during this age stay with them for several years and even till old age. Hence, begin teaching them the difference when young and as soon as possible.
Understandably, it can get quite challenging to teach volatile and growing kids the implication of wants and needs. Do not feel lost and use the below-mentioned ways to teach the importance of the difference between the two.
The first thing can be to get an answer as a yes or no for having or buying a particular thing. The questionnaire can include - can you survive without this thing? The answer will be no for things that a person ‘needs’ like food, clothes, shelter, education, etc. However, the answer may be a no in certain cases like expensive clothes, fancy outings, decorative showpieces, and more.
It is a scientifically proven principle that people learn things better through visual mode rather than audio or others. Hence, parents may use pictorial or real-life props to showcase the importance. Buy a pair of shoes at a reasonable price that is a need and fulfils the purpose. And then tell them that even a low-priced purchase can meet their need and anything beyond is an extra expense that is a want.
The best way is to hand over the budgeting and shopping responsibility to the children for some time. Experiencing things on their own will indeed put them in a better situation to learn the concept better. Practical learning yields more results than just theoretical advice. So, assign them shopping tasks that are a mix of what they want and need. Give a restricted budget and let them decide the things they are willing to buy or leave.
Children learn what they see and imitate their parents’ actions. Thus, it is wise to act in a certain way and take informed decisions to teach your children. Do not overspend when they are with you while shopping and keep lavish things out of their sight. One may even avoid such unnecessary expenditures for some time to teach the teenagers the difference between want and need.
Teaching the difference between wants and needs at a young age will help your teenagers grow wisely and rationally. With Fyp, you can help them inculcate good financial habits. The 'missions' feature allows parents to assign simple tasks to their teens so as to make their kids more versatile and responsible toward money.