Victor Jung is a committed philanthropist from New York City

Tag: Parenting

Teaching Children the Importance of Personal Finance

Victor Jung

Personal finance is one of the most important topics that children should learn about at a relatively young age. Giving children some teachings and practicals on the topic ensures that they grow with the right foundational knowledge. It also advances their strength in personal finance planning as they grow up.

According to the president of JumpStart Coalition, a children’s finance literacy group, parents should lead the way by starting conversations and incorporating finance lessons in everyday activities at home. Using a systematic approach when performing these lessons ensures that children can progressively grow their competency on the subject. Here are a few ideas on how to go about teaching your children the importance of personal finance.

Start with the importance of money

From the beginning, children should be taught how to identify and value money accordingly. Giving them a fundamental understanding and demonstration of financial value ensures that they can appreciate its importance whenever they see it. This can be done by showing them what exactly money can do for them and how it should be handled.

Spending vs. saving

Children also need to have sufficient knowledge on how to acquire money, how to save it, and how to spend it wisely. This can be perfectly demonstrated by asking your child to do a mild task and then ‘paying’ them a small salary. The essence of an allowance is to ensure that children understand that to get money, they have to do some work. It also reinforces the idea that money should be appreciated. Once they acquire money, you should then proceed to show them how to set a personal budget of prospected expenses, including setting aside some savings.

Setting a good example

There is perhaps no better way to teach children effectively than by serving as a good example. Using your life as a case study on how to handle money, how to budget, and how to save gives your children a reinforcement of ideas that are highly unlikely to be forgotten. Taking them on a trip to the grocery store, for example, demonstrates that they can set a clear budget to purchase only the necessary goods. From the change you get back after your trip, you can then teach them the value of setting aside some money for future use by tossing coins in a private piggy bank.

Charity is More Than Just Money for Children

With the decline in donations to charitable causes in recent years, the idea of engaging children in humanitarian acts in meaningful ways promises to provide adult donors in the future. Having been involved in charitable acts as children, these donors will understand what solutions can genuinely aid people, and they will contribute to making improvements in the conditions of peoples’ lives.

While many adults perceive charity as giving money, children’s perceptions of charity generally include social interaction and activities. Some of these acts involve children picking up litter, bringing food to seasonal festivals, dressing up for Children in Need, putting on red noses for Comic Relief, or donating their old toys for needy children. The list is endless.

Such engagement, if performed in a meaningful way, helps to foster altruism in children. In fact, since research suggests that children’s social orientations begin to form in their early years, helping children to become donors in the future by providing them experiences in which they become concerned about others is essential. Further research supports the conclusion that children who have charitable experiences before they are 10 years of age are twice as likely to be concerned about the welfare of others throughout their lifetimes than those who started when they were teenagers. Therefore, for charitable causes to succeed, it is vital that a child’s inherent socially-orientated behavior is fostered.

Equally important to the success of charitable organizations is the positive exploration of social and environmental issues. Acts of charity provide children the arena in which they can explore these issues in proactive ways. With the opportunities to acquire knowledge about the environment and their society and those of others, children can learn about the dangers to the air, land, and water. Also, when children are engaged in social and philanthropic activities, they are exposed to the inequalities of society. 

From such exposure, they can learn much to become responsible adults, having gained an understanding of citizenship and the importance of altruism. With this understanding also comes an increased motivation for giving to social causes in an effort to make improvements for people.

From their engagements in charitable activities in which they are exposed to people suffering deprivations, children gain the knowledge to know the importance of preserving clean air, clean water, and other natural resources. Interestingly, when they enter the conversation about climate change with their parents, studies in the United States have shown that these knowledgeable children have often contributed to a change in their parents’ attitudes about climate change. Indeed, knowledge fosters results.

How to Discuss Terminal Illness with Children

Most adults have an instinctive desire to protect children, both physically and emotionally. Their wish to guard against harm leads them to safeguard their environment, and do what they can to clear dangers and obstacles from their lives. Unfortunately, there are some things that simply can’t be avoided, regardless of a parent’s vigilance.

As death is a part of life, it stands to reason that sooner or later, children will have to face the impending death of a loved one. Talking to kids about terminal illness is hard, as being truthful about what it means is certain to bring pain to children. However, just like some of the other difficult parenting tasks (e.g. sleep training or leaving a child with a babysitter for the first time) it is a necessary part of raising healthy and independent future adults. Here are some tips for talking about terminal illness with children.

Normalize It

Death and dying are a natural part of life, and it is helpful to make children aware of that concept from an early age. Certainly, there is no shortage of children’s books and movies that reference death in some way or another. Having a conversation about it when it pertains to a fictional character (Bambi’s mother, for example) is a great way to talk about it before it becomes personal. When it does become personal for them, having that context that as painful as it is, it is normal, will help them make sense of it.

Tell them what they need to know

The amount of detail kids can absorb will vary by age and developmental level, but it is important to give children the information they need to understand what’s happening with their loved one. Research has indicated that children who have dealt with a parent with a terminal illness felt they were not given all of the information they needed, and that rather than protect them from stress, this created more anxiety for them.

Be honest

Be honest about what is likely to happen, and don’t be afraid to answer their questions with total honesty, even if that means saying “I don’t know.” Children need to be able to trust not only the information they are given, but the person giving it.


Teaching Your Children Cultural Acceptance

In spite of the fact that we are living in the 21st century, heartbreaking issues such as racism, bias, and cultural discrimination are still alive and very much pervasive throughout many communities across the United States.

Although it sometimes feels like an insurmountable feat, it is possible — though not easy — to diminish the reach and effects of racial injustice, inequality, and discrimination. However, it is important to note that this change does not begin on a large scale. Quite the contrary, the very root of eliminating such harmful behavior begins in your own home by establishing a standard of openness and acceptance with none other than your own family.

With this fact in mind, let us take a deeper look at how one can teach their child — or children — cultural acceptance.

Get out of your comfort zone. In spite of our integrated and diverse population, Americans still seem to gather together in homogenous — or seemingly homogenous — communities, as that is where they feel they best fit in.

However, in order to teach your children about the fundamentals of diversity and cultural acceptance, it is imperative that you take them to a new place and allow them to experience a different way of life. This could be achieved by bringing them on your next trip abroad, where they can try new foods, meet new people, and witness that the American culture is not the only one on this planet.

Or, if your children are still relatively young, you could easily take them to a museum that highlights a particular culture or group of people. Allow them to discover different artifacts, see the faces of people who look different than they do, and hear the stories that are rooted in another culture’s history.

Teach your children to celebrate others. Once your children have been exposed to cultures different than their own, it is imperative that you take the time to thoroughly answer the onslaught of questions they have likely generated. This process will improve their abilities to understand who others are in terms of race, family composition, and even physical ability — all while aiding them in confirming their own personal identities.

The most important point to drive home throughout this time is that others being different from oneself is not only totally acceptable, but ought to be respected and celebrated. This can be enforced not only through your words, but through supplemental children’s books as well.

People of certain races, abilities, and familial backgrounds may face obstacles that your children might not, so be sure to point that fact out and ensure they know that they could make life a little bit easier on someone else by treating them fairly and with kindness — no matter how the rest of the world may perceive them.

Remember their true role model(s). No matter how old your children are, there is nothing more influential in their lives than your presence and efforts. By keeping that fact in mind, you will ultimately hold yourself to a higher standard, as opposed to enforcing the age-old adage, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Teaching Children to be Entrepreneurial

If your children begin to show signs early on of dedication and hard work, the field of entrepreneurship may be one of the most rewarding career paths they can take. Without pushing them to pursue something they aren’t interested in, gauge their reactions to new and exciting opportunities. There are many instances in which you can introduce entrepreneurial skills to your child, and doing so can instill a passion that will last a lifetime.

The title of “entrepreneur” can be confusing and somewhat vague in the eye’s of a child, and the idea of being an astronaut or firefighter is often much more alluring. However, phrasing the title as “someone who changes the world” usually gets their attention, and is only an exaggeration in the slightest.

In order to expose them to the world of entrepreneurship, don’t hesitate to take your children to work with you. Show them what your business does, how you go about your daily routine, and how you present yourself in a professional environment. Encourage them to ask you questions when they aren’t exactly sure what it is you’re doing. Explaining the ins and outs of entrepreneurship to them is a great form of education. While this is certainly not a strategy to implement every single day, it can give your child a glimpse into their potential future.

Allow them to be involved with entrepreneurial projects that you take part in. Not only will this teach them about the subject, but they’ll see that being an entrepreneur entails helping people as well; an innate characteristic that all children possess. With that said, raise them to see entrepreneurs as their real-life superheroes. While idolizing Superman and Batman at young age is perfectly acceptable, help them understand that the heroes that actually exist are those that help others, and how many entrepreneurs fit that title.

Make business conversations a regular part of your household, knowing when this topic is and isn’t appropriate. After all, being seen as just a business person rather than a parent in your child’s eyes can be extremely damaging to the relationship. But, you should be able to openly discuss your goings-ons at work, so long as they are appropriate for younger ears. Ask for their input when you are faced with a problem at your workplace, or when you’re starting a new project. Though you may not be expecting the greatest feedback, seeing the task from a new perspective could provide some surprisingly valuable advice, of which children have more than you think.

As mentioned, there certainly should be a line drawn between business and family time, but allowing your children to have some insight into your regular business practices can prove beneficial. Inspiring them to become an entrepreneur is as easy as showing them how much you enjoy your job, as well as explaining the hardships and difficulties, of course. Without forcing them to enter a field in which they have no interest, encourage them to develop positive daily habits, and show them just how rewarding entrepreneurship can be.

Want to Make Your Kids Happy? Teach Them to Give

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to many that giving and engaging in charitable efforts can have a positive effect on our outlook on life. Generosity can boost our endorphins and release oxytocin in our bodies, which creates a feeling of empathy and happiness. When applying this concept to children, one may think that their constant want for toys and material items would blind them from these benefits. However, teaching a child to give can do just the opposite.

Compassion and the want to give comes at birth and is a natural instinct in human beings. For instance, if you’ve ever seen a child no older than 1 or 2 years of age attempting to share whatever it is that they’re holding, you’ve witnessed that innate sense of wanting to give. Children are born with the ability to help despite not being taught the values of their actions, and studies have shown that giving can make them much more happier than receiving gifts.

A responsibility you have as a parent is to nourish this ability to give, and encourage your children to continue these efforts. There are countless benefits that come with giving and partaking in charitable efforts, but an increased sense of happiness is perhaps the best of all. However, it has been proven that giving also improves our health. It can reduce stress and even lower blood pressure in individuals that may be struggling with both health complications.

In terms of how you can encourage your children to give, there are a number of ways you can do so. First, talk to them to find out what their interests are and what they feel strongly about. Whether it’s animals or fellow children, this can give you a good idea of which organizations you and your children can work with.

Work close to home. Allowing your children to dedicate their charitable efforts to friends, family, and their respective community can have a profound impact on their overall happiness; something donations to an anonymous source on the other side of the world can seldom do. Perform these activities as a family to maximize happiness and the health benefits that come with donating your time and effort. It is a great way to bond with your children as well.

Encouraging your children to give and teaching them the values of charity can also promote social connections. Most charitable outings involve large groups of people gathering together to promote the betterment of a community, and doing so can allow relationships to develop among volunteers. Social interaction is very important in the growth of children, as it can improve both physical and mental health.

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