A friend of mine, on social media, posed a question a few days ago, on her page, 'what do your children have to spend their own personal money on.' And that isn't an exact quote, but pretty close. I was going to respond, then I decided to hold back after I read a couple of the responses. I was questioning my interpretation of her question and figured I had not understood what she was asking, so I passed it by. But couldn't help thinking about it over the course of the next several days.
As I read her question, in my own head, what I was hearing was "What options do your children have available on which to spend their own personal money." I gathered after reading the responses, that the intended meaning was "what items do you, as the parent, make your children purchase with their own personal money." Way different intent, and meaning. I guess it does show how my thinking has evolved over my 23 years of parenting. In thinking back to my own childhood, I would have taken that question to be a parenting question of force. But in my evolution, I am happy to say, that my initial interpretation was one of options. So much more freeing, so much more autonomy, less about control and judgment. I am so pleased with my process and my thinking. It really shows how what initially might take time and effort to change, will become a gut instinct. That you really can change how you think and respond on a deep level, it may take time but it can be done and is worth every moment of effort.
As a reader, it also confirms, to me, why face to face interactions are important, and on line conversations can be difficult, for me. You can't always read an intent.
Back to the question, the answer I was going to leave in response, would have been something like...
"Lots of things. My children have lots of interests and save some of their money, they do enjoy purchasing new computer games, steam games. They also choose books or at times art supplies. Those are some of the choices they make about spending their own personal money." I won't get into the "have to" aspect as my boys have never "had to" do anything. When issues arise we work on them as a family, and that includes money issues. A topic for another day.