So, the other day my eldest, Pirate Pete, was caught red handed nicking coins out of the coin jar in our bedroom. In a way I’m not surprised. We’d had a go with that a while back, but at that point it was both boys, and frankly they were just playing with the coins. They didn’t have much of a notion of money yet.
Recently Pete has started to buy things with his pocket money rather than just hoard it. They’ve been getting pocket money for a while, and its handed over at the end of the week when we check how they’ve done with their chores. Nothing serious, just cleaning their school shoes, and sweeping under the table after dinner. All meant to make that connection between work and money. That old protestant work ethic runs deep in both LL and I, and we want to instil it in the kids.
Its just little things he’s been buying, like the Beano or a small toy airplane. Again, this is a good thing, makes him start to understand the way the world works. You work, you get paid, you use the money for things you need and like.
In parallel he’s a real net surfer. One of the sites he loves is lego, and he’s been going through a real phase of star wars lego. I love lego, think its one of the best toys ever. I’m not so sure about the focus on kits lego has these days, but Pete will build the kit to exactly how the directions show, then break it apart and rebuild his own things, so its not that bad.
What we missed was his linking the value of buying lego with what’s in his pocket money bank. Something recently kicked in when he realised that his 50p a week wasn’t going to add up to what he needed to buy his favourite kit very fast. So he stole a little.
Its one of those moments I’ve been both hoping wouldn’t happen, and had been waiting for. I sat him down and tried to talk him through what he’d done. Poor thing was miserable, and didn’t like talking about it. He especially didn’t like my confiscating all but £2 of his hoard.
Then he compounded his error. When he handed over his stash, saying he’d kept all but two pounds, it was found he’d kept back a wee bit more than two pounds. The first misdemeanour I was ready for, the second caught me by surprise. Time for another little talk, and time to take away his stash and create a little bank book instead. Its hard to judge how hard to be, but it’s a message that needs brought home into his growing brain.
Sometimes being a parent isn’t very fun.