Five Priceless Christmas Gifts
Home Tell a Friend! Contact ICFE Link Exchange Search ICFE Subscribe ICFE About the ICFE
ICFE News Releases ICFE in the News Children and Money Financial Education Personal Financial Counseling with Paul S. Richard, RFC Credit Card Tips Credit File Correction Mending Spending Links and Resources Order Options

ICFE eNEWS #19-27 - September 2019

Doing LESS To Accomplish MORE

By Jim Garnett, a/k/a Ask Mr.G, a member of the ICFE's Board of Educational Advisors

A few years ago, a court case caught national attention because it made an unusual claim concerning how over-indulging parents had affected their teenage son negatively. Ethan Couch was driving intoxicated, going 70 mph in a 40 mph zone, lost control of his vehicle, and plowed into a group of people, killing four and injuring nine.

His high-powered defense attorneys claimed that the teenager's total lack of remorse was directly due to "affluenza," a term they borrowed from a 1997 PBS documentary entitled, "Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic."

The attorneys claimed that the teenager's affluent parents had over-indulged him to the point that his moral values had been deadened. This explained his lack of repentance and inability to understand the consequences of his actions.

Believe it or not, the judge agreed with the defense argument, and although found guilty of the crimes, the teenager was given 10 years of probation that required counseling at a posh rehab center.

I did not agree with the lack of justice, but as a financial counselor and a Nationally Certified Parent Trainer, I did agree with the over-lying principle that was emphasized: over-indulgent parents can negatively influence their children's values for years to come.

What do you think? Can well-intentioned parents actually do too much for their children, resulting in attitudes that can harm them instead of help them? Researchers say a resounding, "Yes." Children not only tend to adopt their parents' perspectives, but also the practical application of those perspectives into real life.

So, how do we as parents temper our "doing" for our kids so as to not adversely affect their attitudes, ambitions, and actions? I suggest that parents do less to accomplish more by incorporating three things in their giving: Participation, Anticipation, and Appreciation.

1. Incorporate Participation. Occasionally, allow your children to invest "sweat equity" in the process by requiring them to pay for or work for a portion of cost. Children that are simply given things all the time, have difficulty connecting the dots between the gift and the sacrifice required to give the gift. Incorporating occasional participation will give our kids a much clearer understanding of how the world really works.
Sometimes as a boy, I would ask my parents for something that they could not afford to give me. They would respond, "We can contribute this much, and you will need to earn the rest of the money to pay for it." I then had to decide whether or not I "really wanted" whatever it was or if it was just a temporary whim. Looking back, I see that participating in the process helped me realize there is usually a sacrifice involved in getting and having things..

2. Incorporate Anticipation. In today's "buy now and pay later" society, we tend to miss out on one of life's greatest joys by not experiencing a space of time between "our wanting something and our getting something." We miss out on the joy of anticipation.Think of how much different Christmas would be if parents merely walked down store aisles and handed their children their Christmas presents. That would be pretty dull! It is much more exciting when we are required to wonder, imagine, guess, and wait for our gifts. If you remove anticipation from Christmas giving, it removes much of the fun!
Remember "back in the old days" when many purchases were done on the "lay-away" plan? The store held your item (laid it away) while you made payments on it, and once all the payments were made, you could take your item home. I would dare say that most items purchased like this were valued more highly because the wait increased our anticipation.
The makers of "Tootsie Roll Pops" utilized the value of anticipation when they required you to patiently get through the outside hard candy before you reached the soft, chocolate-flavored tootsie roll center. Then there was the 1971 commercial where we watched a bottle of Heinz Ketchup slowly pour out on a plate of hot French fries while Carly Simon's song "Anticipation" played in the background.

3. Incorporate Appreciation. One of the results of over-indulging our children can be the lack of cultivating appreciation, and where appreciation is lacking, an attitude of entitlement can grow in its place. The arrogance of "I deserve what I am given" replaces humility, and our kids begin to see the world revolving around them and their needs and their happiness. They become takers instead of givers!The "affluenza" virus still plagues our families! The best "antidote" I know is a combination of Participation, Anticipation, and Appreciation incorporated in our giving process. It all comes under the general heading of "Doing LESS To Accomplish MORE."

The "affluenza" virus still plagues our families! The best "antidote" I know is a combination of Participation, Anticipation, and Appreciation incorporated in our giving process. It all comes under the general heading of "Doing LESS To Accomplish MORE."

Get questions like this one answered in my new book, The Nuts and Bolts of Cash and Credit: An Encyclopedia of Financial Knowledge" on
Ask Mr. G
Jim Garnett, The Debt Doctor
AskMrG Consulting, LLC
2216 SW 35th Street
Ankeny, IA 50023

Paul S Richard PhotoICFE eNEWS is available FREE upon request by visiting our Web site and filling out the contact form, and selecting "Yes" for "Add to Mailing List. Please pass this eNEWS on to your peers and interested others and invite them to subscribe for free. Also, visit the ICFE's new Web site:

Sent by:

Paul S. Richard
President - Executive Director
Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE)

About the ICFE:

The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation and founder of the College for Financial Planning in Denver, CO.) The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending practices, increase savings and use credit more wisely.

The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its financial continuing education courses programs and resources. In addition to eight Certification courses covering identity theft, credit files, credit repair and credit scoring, among others, it also publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.

The ICFE is a partner with the national Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy and the California Jump$tart chapter. The ICFE staff is also active with San Diego Saves and Military Saves, both offshoots of America Saves.

The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much. ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.

The ICFE helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G library, a free eNews service, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools in the ICFE Book Store.

Home ] ICFE News Releases ] ICFE in the News ] Children and Money ] Financial Education ] Resource Center ] Credit Card Tips ][ Credit File Correction ] Mending Spending ] Links and Resources ]  [ Online Store ]


Copyright ©  1997 - by Paul S. Richard
and the Institute of Consumer Financial Education, All Rights Reserved.
View our
Privacy Policy Our Terms and Conditions

Institute of Consumer Financial Education
PO Box 34070
San Diego, Ca 92163
Paul S. Richard, Executive Director
Phone 619-239-1401

FAX 619-923-3284

Questions for Click to go to Website Contact Us or 

Website Design Donated by Daniel G Hughes Fresno and Half Price Toner Refills

Please Tell An Associate, Friend or Family Member About the ICFE