March 04, 2011 | By: Imelda Corney

Are you an indulgent parent?

One day on a crowded bus I overheard one woman talking to another about how she was indulging her children.  The conversation went on about how this woman was giving into her children’s every whim from exclusive (read expensive) summer camps, to laptops, to cell phones, to bedroom makeovers etc.

I couldn’t believe my ears. This woman must have won the lottery or perhaps she was using her credit cards to give into her children’s every request.

My bet is the latter after all she was on the same crowded bus I was, early in the morning most likely headed off to her 9 to 5 job as well.

In my head, I wanted to tell her that if she is spoiling her kids now they will not cope well on their own later.  I wanted to tell her we hear all kinds of stories of over spending at Credit Canada and we can help you now before things really go awry.

Finally, I got to the subway.  There was a problem on the subway line and the train was packed. This seems to happen far too often.  Surprisingly, it didn't bother me one bit that I had to stand all the way to my stop. I even think I looked happy and smiling as I recalled the conversation I overheard on the bus and thought of another indulgent mother, my friend Linda.

Linda holds two jobs just so she can pay for things like her first grandson’s big birthday party, her daughter’s lavish 18th birthday, buy expensive gifts for her family on special occasions and buy expensive designer clothes for her adult children and grandchildren from across the border every other month.  She even gave her adult daughter a credit card and her daughter works!  You see she can’t say ‘no’ to her family and she is afraid to see them unhappy. But do my friends and I dare tell her she’s crazy or offer her any advice? Heck, no, or she’ll chop our heads off..

This is what Linda does: after coming home from her day job, she’ll wait for an hour and off she goes to her part time job (15 minutes away from her apartment) and works for another five hours. She uses her vacation days to work for eight hours at her part time job. She works on weekends too, only saving a day for herself. What an extravagant workaholic!  Unfortunately, she is on a vicious treadmill to provide luxuries for her family that she really cannot afford.

Now why do some parents do these kinds of things? Is it because of love, guilt, stupidity or just a plain lack of financial literacy? I’d say likely it's all of the above.  To those facing this problem, I say think carefully about what you are doing. Often the best thing you can give a family member is your time and love and that's good money management because it's free!


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