School is almost out for summer. Chances are your kids will be asking for money to go to the movies, to hang out at the mall or for a new bike, scooter or skateboard. While many parents dread talking to their children about money and some avoid it altogether, the summer is actually a great time to teach your children important lessons about money.
What your children learn at an early age serves as the financial foundation for the rest of their lives. Parents are the primary creators of their child's belief systems, and therefore should consciously and carefully craft every belief they pass on especially when it comes to something as important as money.
The most financially aware parents teach their children that it's right to want to be rich, and it's also possible for anyone who thinks big.
Here are seven money lessons for the summer to get your children thinking the right way about money.
1. Teach your kids about money from the stance of objective reality. It's a nice thought to say everyone, regardless of financial status, has access to all the good things in life. It's also naïve and untrue. Explain how a small percentage of the people own the majority of the wealth, and that most people settle for less than their share. This isn't an elitist way of thinking. You're teaching your kids to see the world through the eyes of objective reality, the way society really is.
2. Wealth brings privilege. Right or wrong, wealth offers privileges, and the sooner kids know it, the more likely they are to do something about it. When you dangle that carrot in front of the rabbit long enough, he's going to find a way to get it.
3. No entitlement mentality allowed. It's OK to help your children out financially, but giving them every dollar for everything teaches children to have an entitlement mentality. Help your children out, but encourage them by the age of 15 to find a part-time job to teach them they have to earn money and not just expect it.
4. Make it grow. Teach your kids how to make their money work for them. Teach them that money is a dynamic medium of exchange for goods and services that should circulate and grow. Teach them that saving is good, but finding ways to make their existing money grow is even better. Teach them that the best way to make more money is to find problems to solve.
5. Get excited about money. Teach kids that money is something to look forward to and to look at it from a consciousness of freedom, possibility, opportunity and abundance, not something to dread or be frightened of. Teach your kids to set their expectations high when it comes to money because you often get what you expect. If you expect to make $30,000 a year, that's what you'll make. But if you expect to make $500,000, you might not make exactly $500,000, but you'll be thinking big and in the right frame of mind to make a lot of money.
6. Money doesn't equal happiness. Having money won't make you a better person; it just gives you more opportunities. If you're not happy without money, you're not going to be happy with money.
7. Any child can strike it rich.
Above all else, the most important belief parents can instill in their kids is that they are smart enough to earn all they desire. Regardless of their education level, IQ score or performance in school, they have everything it takes to become a millionaire. No sweeter words were ever uttered from a parent to a child than "I believe in you," and "you can do it."
The best way to teach your kids this summer is by example. The best news of all: Parents who have failed to achieve their financial dreams can still set an example by continuing to try and teach their kids about failure and success. Even with all the middle class societal influence raining down on kids every day, parents have an unparalleled level of power with their children that can override years of fear and scarcity programming.
This blog post is part of the 'FinEd for Parents' blog series, curated by the editors of HuffPost Financial Education to provide parents with expert advice and tips for managing family finances and raising money-savvy kids. To see all the other posts in the series, click here.