Childrearing

‘My Tooth Fairy Was A Tightwad’ And Other Money Lessons

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I love this post over at Moneywatch about how a mom’s decision ended up giving her some valuable financial lessons. Here’s the deal. Her daughter lost her first tooth and the mom, who wrote The Wall Street Journal Financial Handbook for New Parents, thought it would be a great teachable moment.

She wanted the lesson to be about budgeting so she told her daughter she could select a toy that costs no more than the money she’d been given under her pillow.

So the daughter received $5. Not bad, right? Well, it turns out that the mother should have thought a bit more about what the going rate was for other five-year-olds in New York City. Other tooth fairies were nowhere near as generous.

Wow, did I make a big mistake. After the Tooth Fairy arrived, my daughter went to school and proudly told everyone what she found under her pillow. It turns out that her Tooth Fairy has deeper pockets than her friends’ fairies. So much so that I received quite a few looks from teachers at pick up time. I can only imagine that my little one’s bragging created some tension in the classroom and made some of the other children feel badly. I wanted to explain myself, but the damage was already done.

She said that she realized the budget lesson she’d planned wasn’t nearly as important as teaching her daughter some money matters.

Isn’t this how parenting is? You think you’re giving your children one lesson and it ends up being another? The lesson her daughter needed was how it’s not always polite to talk about money. And you shouldn’t brag about the gifts you receive, no matter the occasion. And all families are different and spend and save their money in different ways based upon their own values.

The author ends by asking what your best tooth fairy lessons were. All I remember is that my tooth fairy was a major tightwad.

What did you learn from the Tooth Fairy?