Fathers can have a tremendous impact on the trajectory of the next generation. In therapy we see that their presence or absence in a young person’s life can set a child on a variety of paths. These routes can last throughout the generations. Children can end up picking life partners or choosing to stay single based on their experiences with male influences earlier in life. They can also develop their story about money and habits based on their observations and talks with the adults around them.
As noted by Warren Buffett, he has held important conversations about money with his children. He talked to them about money and its value based on his experiences as a business owner and those moments he had with his own father. In a money video series on YouTube entitled Secret Millionaire’s Club he outlines some key points that all dads can consider with their children.
Five Life Tips for Dads to Consider
- Keep learning
Always be curious about the world around you. Visit libraries to read books or watch videos with your kids that stimulate their brains. Children are sponges from day one. So much of the growth happens from 1-3 years of age. However, the young adult brain continues to growth and create new pathways well into the mid 20’s. If you are into wood working or barbecuing let the kids watch and create ways for them to participate such as allowing them to pick wood or chose some spices for some rubs.
- Creative thinking
The world had to pivot for a pandemic. Being creative about using what you had or securing resources that were hard to find was for sure a helpful skill. Dream with your kids. Allow them to invent. Children put things together in ways that adult generally wouldn’t. They simply haven’t been around long enough to know “something might not work” so they are full of fresh ideas. Build with them and allow them to develop answers to problems you may not have been able to solve yourself.
- Make helpful decisions
Be the role model on this one. If you want your children to brush their teach, brush yours at the same time. Kids need to see that adults do healthy things too. Let them catch you reading a book or paying a bill. Take some time to share with them the process and the why you do something. Don’t stay hidden. If you are sitting down to develop a vacation budget, ask for the children’s input.
Dads of elementary school kids can be surprised about how children spend. Ask the child if they would like to use their own money to buy an item. Often the kids will say no thanks although they just begged for the item. It was something they wanted if you were spending your money, but not their own. The child has no skin in the game if you buy everything for them and they will spend differently.
Provide the kids with free and low-cost ideas and then one’s that they can dream about and save for. You do not have to be a person that hides and goes to work. Be a person that can share with them the real meaning behind dedication and your values around wellness.
- Wants vs. needs
A hard topic especially when you are hungry and don’t feel like cooking and someone can dash to your door with food in a few easy finger swipes. But was that delivery option a want or a need? For instance, could you have made a snack with your kids to tide you over while you were cooking dinner with them? Was this decision in your budget? Allow for planning meetings with your children and create lists of wants and needs they you and they can work towards. There is nothing better than listening to and actioning upon a kids bucket list that will last a lifetime longer than all the fidget spinners in the store.
- Invest in yourself
You and your child are the best investment ever. According to Dr. Meg Meeker and her book Strong Fathers – Strong Daughters a father can have a huge influence over a young women’s perspective of self-respect and self-worth. The relationship you build with your daughter takes time and energy. It can be as simple as sitting down for a game of checkers or allowing the child to read you a book. Allow your children to motivate you and you can do the same for them. Take walks together. Study a new language or play and listen to music with each other. These moments of time go by quickly though they can feel like forever. Water the seeds you are planting in your children by helping to be the gardener and not always outsourcing.
Above all – Have Fun and make time to Laugh in your day!
Photo credit: Ashley Lyons