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Ask Dave

Good Parenting

Marie buys stuff on her credit card for her kids because of guilt over the divorce. Dave says not to confuse fun with being a good mom.

QUESTION: Marie has two kids, makes $40,000 a year and has $52,000 in debt. She has a lot of guilt about her divorce, so she buys stuff for the kids on the credit card so they will have good memories of their childhood. Dave says not to confuse fun with being a good mom.

ANSWER: You can buy fun, but you can’t buy happiness. It’s fun to go to the movies or Disney World, but those aren’t good things if they’re done in detriment to your family, which is what is going on here. You’re medicating your purchases. You’re confusing fun with being a good mom. The kids and mom have been through a rough time, but the kids are resilient and let’s give them credit for that.

Don’t define positive memories as a trip to the movies or something that costs money. That’s not the only way to create positive memories. Saying no and setting limits are positive things in growing up. It’s good to teach kids that money is finite.