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Daughter thinks we are poor(318 Posts)
This is no way a stealth brag as I know I am reasonably lucky.
Between me and DH we earn £90k per year but we live in London and poor choices in our youth mean we rent. My 9 year old DD has a small bedroom but has lived in the same place all her life. She has (pre Covid) had all the opportunities her friends have had re clubs, activities etc and I don't think she is aware that we rent rather then own our home.
Some of her friends live in huge houses and she seems to resent us for the fact that we don't. I try to teach her the value of money, and also, that as there are only three of us, how much space to we really need?
I am worried she will be embarrassed but don't want her to be!
What do I do?
Good opportunity for her to learn gratitude, and what's important in life. If she thinks it's important to have more, materially, what is her plan to be financially better off? How much is 'enough' and what's she willing to compromised to get there?
"It's not how big the house is, but how happy the home is' might apply here for your DD. It's completely true, too!
My daughter thinks we are poor because I won't buy her an iPhone. Honestly kids have no idea of what poor looks like they just fixate on one thing ime. You are not poor and even if you were as long as you are giving her a loving and supportive home with lots of educational opportunities she is fine. That's what matters in the long run and she will know this when she grows up even if right now she thinks having to sleep in a single bed instead of a double is real depravation. It isn't.
My daughter once decided we were poor because we'd eaten a lot of stew in the previous week.Her grandfather was in hospital and we'd used the slow cooker a lot as the hospital was about 3 hours drive away.It's probably a good time to have a conversation about poverty and what it means.
Have a clear out of clothes (all of you) and donate them to charities that help those less fortunate. Donate some food to a local food bank and explain what they are for/who they help. Go out and buy a copy of the Big Issue and explain who sells them. Etc. Actions like this will help her understand and appreciate what she has that is more than others, rather than think about what she has that's less than her friends.
Maybe a bit dramatic, but is there anything you can do locally, volunteering, supporting a food bank etc, or any sort of age appropriate documentary you could find to watch with her to demonstrate what 'poor' actually looks like?
Agree with a PP that kids can fixate on one thing and think they're hard done to. It can be enlightening to learn what they do have and take for granted, compared to those that don't have.
My 8 year old son said one of his friends had x amount of money. My son said he wished he had that too. I asked him how would your life be any different if you had that amount of money. He had no answer. I told him we are average not rich or poor and that most peoples daily routines are similar despite their money. If you talk about things openly with your daughter and ask her some questions like this it might help her explore the issue. For our family we are relatively "poor" compared to those around us as we are in a middle class town. However we dont "identify" as poor and thats the key. We don't focus on what others have, we focus on the blessings we have and you can always find something a child has which a rich friend might not have. For example your daughter might have a pet or a collection of toys that she owns and the other person doesn't have. Then focus on those things. If you are matter of fact about the issue rather than feeling upset about being "poor" im comparison to friends then she'll perceive it as not a big deal.
At least she has a bedroom and a home, why on earth does a 9 year o!d care about the size of houses anyway, who has she been listening too. Children need love warmth and food not parents worrying over a bloody great mortgage debt and size of house does not always equal a happy nurturing home.
We live in such a wealthy area where the children all live in 5 bed houses and we have a 2 bed flat. I drive an old car because I just don't care about cars and won't finance one. My DC has an IPhone, an IPad etc so she is not deprived but they are probably older versions as she gets our old ones. She has nice clothes etc.
"While we may have less income than your friends, we are still in the top 5% of incomes in the UK. We work bloody hard to earn the money that pays for your lifestyle and it's hurtful you perceive yourself as hard done by when we are privileged as a family. That's why we'll be encouraging you to volunteer, work and learn the value of money and the important of being self sufficient throughout your life."
The fact she’s making it known to you is proof she’s doesn’t really believe it.
I grew up poor surrounded by poor friends and we knew it. We would never have dared say anything that might make our parents feel bad about it because we knew how hard they worked, what things had befallen on them to get there, etc, and whilst we might secretly have dreamed of finding out we were suddenly rich, we would have been mortified if we made our parents ashamed.
I'm spent a lot of lockdown ranting about how some kids were in a freezing house with no food and no devices, I probably went too far and described a Victorian workhouse. Anyway the kids think we are really rich now
I second having a clearout and talking to her about what poverty looks like and how lucky she is. Wow.
My DD also thinks we're poor, because we won't buy her a smart phone and we don't have thousands of gadgets or a massive house.
I have explained over and over about land values in England and cost of housing (she's 15, not 9!) but it goes in one ear, out of the other. She has friends that live in 6bed homes but doesn't appreciate that they're living with PILs/BILs/SILs in multigenerational households. 25% of her school get PP grant, so there's plenty in social housing, flats, houses of all sizes etc.
No idea what the answer is.
@Iminstealthmode we do all of that already so she knows she is lucky.
We have a very big house for London and it’s a huge regretful drain on finances and we earn six times this. A millstone!
My teen kids have realised they need little during the last year and have, hurrah, enjoyed life’s little natural joys. They don’t get much anyway but are comfortable. Our society is so materialistic and disposable it’s appalling. The oneupmanship is vile. We are lucky financially but no one would ever know as we wear scruffy clothes and people are surprised if they come here.
Honestly, we all “shit after breakfast” and decent people like you for you (your daughter) and just do t care unless they are arseholes.
£90k is a lot of money. I’m struggling to understand why you can’t but your own property to be honest. DH earns £50k and I earn a few hundred a month and we save about £1000k a month.
I know that £90k sounds a lot, but I know you’ll pay a lot of tax on that, but if we can save £12k a year in theory you should be able to save about £30k each year.
A couple of years then that £60k and I’m sure that would get you a deposit for a descent 2 bed property.
Funny old world.
I used to have money until my husband took off with it all.
He left me with three children to raise and a house that needed renovating. We had an extension built and were about to replace the kitchen and redecorate and improve the place and he took all our money leaving us in the shit as it were.
I did not realise it then but I do now. I am rich. I am blessed and I am lucky.
I am happy now and I have my children and my grandchildren and my health and I know I have enough money to live on and even if I can't afford the things I used to be able to, I am richer than anything money can buy, because what I have is priceless
I think 9 is around the age when you start noticing differences like that with other kids and it is hard to understand why some kids are luckier than you. I say this as someone that went to a school with lots of rich kids (I wasn't one). I wasn't ungrateful or a brat but I did have a few moments where I thought it was unfair and my parents confirmed - yes, it is unfair. But it taught me that life is unfair and you have to make the best of what you got.
I went to primary school in a very wealthy area and I remember being teased for being poor because my family only went on one holiday a year.
I truly believed we were poor. three weeks euro camping in France one year Then America the next year and I was embarrassed.
My mum and dad parked bloody hard to give us that, and all I could see was they couldn’t afford skiing aswell.
We’re in a similar situation to you; decent income but London, so also renting a smallish flat. DCs have a lot of affluent school mates. I once overheard one of them say to DD “why do you live in flat? You must be poor!” which was pretty shocking.
They’re old enough to understand how these things are relative though. We might not have the £1.5 million house, but there are children in the very same city who go to bed with empty stomachs and DCs know they are very fortunate.
We lived in a perfectly adequate house but my parents could have afforded a much better one. It did annoy me growing up. My Mum said she wasn't spending her time cleaning a big house.
To add- it’s better to buy simply because you’re paying your own mortgage and one day that will finish and the money will be yours. Most people can only dream of earning that kind of money do I’m surprised you’re not saving to buy as it’s within your reach easily, whereas some people it absolutely isn’t and they’d do anything to be able to afford their own home, instead of paying off someone else’s mortgage