Right after the Christmas season, when you're staring at the pile of toys on the living room floor and debating how you're going to make your bills, it can be easy to feel like rich parents have it so much easier. They have money. How can they not do more for their kids than those of us who cut the kid's list in half and still have to figure out how to make that oil bill?
Let's stop the pity party, Mom and Dad. Dr. Michael Bardwil, a dad who tried to guarantee his kid's acceptance with a $40,000 donation to a school in Texas, found out the hard way that money can't buy happiness -- or admissions officials. He's suing Strake Jesuit, a college prep school in Texas, for having the audacity to deny his kid a spot after he opened up his wallet.
That sound you heard? That was all us middle class parents simultaneously rolling our eyes and letting out a giant sigh of relief. The good news is our wallets will not destroy our kids' chance of getting into college (how we pay for it is another matter) as long as there are admissions officials like those at Strake Jesuit with a little bit of integrity.
The better news? That's one less bit of temptation to screw up, er, fix our kids' problems for them. It's a parents' prerogative to protect their kids. But the generation that has spawned the words "helicopter parent" has turned "protect" into "make excuses for," and it's hurting them. Take the kids who don't know how to make their own decisions in college because Mom and Dad ran every playgroup or the Taylor Momsens of the world who are out of control because their parents set them off spinning like little tops at age 3.
Hey, I'm guilty of it too. When I heard a kid threw sand in my daughter's face on the first day of school, I wanted to run up there and throw a few punches. I reined it in for sanity's (and her) sake, but it's stories like these that I read every day that make it easier for me to take a zen approach to my finances. If I had more money, I would have more at my disposal to pave my princess' path with gold and glitter.
She's my kid; I want her to have the best and brightest. But at the end of the day, she doesn't need it any more than I did or my husband did. The best example to our kids? To make them work as hard as we did. They'll appreciate that Christmas morning mess that much more when they paid for it. Do you ever feel like more money would make you a better parent?
Image via borman818/Flickr