The trouble with intentional teaching

Cultivating good money habits (or any habits) in children requires intentional teaching.  This involves taking the time to explain concepts to the children, asking them questions and getting feedback from them.  It also means looking for opportunities to teach our children good habits.  We have to be more mindful and more observant of the children’s existing habits and behaviour – the good and the bad.  At times, I have found it incredibly frustrating to intentionally observe my children’s existing undesirable money habits.

I came to this realisation when I decided to resign from the corporate world.  When I was at work, I would miss my children like crazy.  Every day, I would reminisce about the time I could be spending with my children.   I would use that time to read books with them, bake a cake, engage in art and craft, etc.  

Baking Cookies, Christmas Baking
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That time would be joyful rather than wistful.  While my young children still think I am the greatest thing on Earth, I want to spend every minute with them.

So I resigned from the corporate world.

I do not regret resigning.  I really love that I get to spend so much more quality time with my children.  After school, I can cuddle up to my 6-year-old on the couch and read to him before taking the older children to after-school activities.  Afternoon tea is always freshly made and waiting at the table for my children after school.  I love that I don’t have to sleep by 10 pm every night so that I can wake up at 6 am every morning.  I love that our mornings are not so rushed and stressful.

More time for teaching the good and the bad

I experienced the happiness and joy of being a parent all the time.  But spending more time with the children also meant I saw more of their naughty behaviour.  I saw more of their bickering and fights.  More of their moodiness and the little things that annoyed me.  This came as a dampener to the ideal world of parenting that I was really looking forward to when I resigned.  I hadn’t anticipated that seeing more of the good stuff also meant seeing more of the not-so-good stuff about parenting.

This is the same with cultivating good money habits.  In order for me to cultivate good money habits, I need to be aware of my children’s existing habits.  The fact that I want to change an existing behaviour meant I considered that behaviour undesirable.  Intentional teaching means I am constantly aware of behaviour that I don’t like.  It is difficult to remain calm and reasonable when faced with consistent undesirable behaviour.

It helps to remind myself that the undesirable behaviour was developed over a long period of time and it will take just as long (if not longer) to unlearn.  My role is to start teaching the children intentionally to cultivate good money habits.

How do you move forward with consistent undesirable habits?