Once upon a time, money was not spoken about. It was considered crass, impolite, indiscreet. But then again, many topics were considered verboten, which have all since been busted wide in this secret-free and loud era.
As for myself, in my childhood, money was really not spoken about. I was thrifty by nature; Babi would send me a check on my birthday, which was immediately deposited into the bank account Ta created at my birth, where it earned interest at a rate that no longer exists. If I wanted anything, I would bring my petition to the high potentate (Ma), where my request would be accepted or denied. Life was pleasantly simple.
Today, with so many once-untouchable matters being openly discussed, that would make the kinfauna's approach to cash quite different from my kiddie view. Shopping with my 13-year-old niece, I bought her a pair of shoes for her birthday. She fretted that they cost too much (they didn't), not realizing that she doesn't give a second thought to other, more costly expenses.
When times are good, then the after-effects of money is not a conversation. When times are bad, such as a Recession, then there comes a need to address the sensitive subject of spoiled children.
Ron Lieber wrote The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money. He also has article with some of the book's information, "Why You Should Tell Your Children How Much You Make." There is an interview with the author here.
That idea made my breath catch. Tell younglings about their parents' salaries? Unheard of! Absurd! As I continued reading, I managed to grudgingly put aside my biases, finding myself swayed by Lieber's anecdotal arguments.
While I do think that there are people out there who are stupid about money no matter how much education they receive in that area, most of us are simply tossed into the world of bills and budget without any prep work. Our schools should certainly have required courses in the realities of money before these teenagers make any life-altering decisions.
In my observations, I see that many make the fatal error of thinking that being a "loving parent" means showering offspring with expensive toys, snacks, and clothing. Yet as those children age, they will have been carefully taught that only things have value, as opposed to actual values.
What rugrats actually crave is quality time with their parents. Give a kid an iPad, and he'll be initially thrilled, but not when his father retreats into his own tablet and shuts him out.
I grew up with toys (I adored Barbies) and I was in no way deprived. Yet each were purchased with tactical care, not mindlessly. There were many "no"s before we got to the "yes"s, and still Babi thought Ma was wasting money. If I make the stupendous mistake of shopping with the youngest of kinfauna, I get many admiring smiles from bystanders as I repeat, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no." But the kiddies aren't resentful. They pout for a few minutes, and most of the time they forget what took their fancy. They do a bigger dance at the idea of me going hoarse reading them books. Like The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies.