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teaching financial responsibility

Well, P101, I'm just driving myself batty these last couple of weeks of pregnancy staying awake, thinking about random stuff. My house is spotless for the first time in aaaaages, and I've come to bug you again.

Today's question on my mind is: How do you teach your child financial responsibility?

My parents controlled all of my money growing up, they took all my Lunar New Year lucky money, birthday money etc, and gave me money to buy things as I needed. I can see now that they were very careful spenders and savers, frugal in all the right places, but I never saw any of that, because they always bought what I wanted whenever I wanted it, and when we went on holidays (overseas every three years, more locally in between), money was never an object.

It wasn't until I started university that my parents left me to finally open a bank account on my own, get a job, etc, leaving me to pay for everything, (including a hefty weekly room+board to them) unless I specifically asked for money, which they would hand over with a lecture/guilt trip. They bailed me out of my credit card debt at 19. I haven't had a credit card since, I'm so terrified of them now, at 30.

I feel like I'm terrible with money now, and still in the back of my head I know if anything goes wrong I can just ask my parents to bail me out. I do my best to live within our means though, and we haven't had a debt that wasn't mortgage debt for a very long time.

I think it comes down to the fact that my parents didn't want us kids to know that we weren't very well off and that they wanted us to have the best of everything. My parents were uneducated immigrants, I'm sure we would have understood, but my mum bawled her eyes out when she worked out she couldn't send my little brother to a $17k a year private school. My parents also are huge on keeping up with the Joneses, so even if we were being punished by having various electronics confiscated, they would often buy us the latest gadget because so-and-so had one.

I *love* buying things for my 2yo son and seeing him happy. I'm not even good at buying things for his birthday and actually saving them until the actual day to open them with him. I don't know how I'm ever going to say no to things!

I've opened him a bank account today though, and put in all his birthday money etc. I'm probably likely to give him an allowance, and try and tell him when he's older, that he can only buy toys etc with his allowance. What else do you do? Do you let your kids see you saving up for stuff? I remember my dad telling my little brother at age 4 that he had no money for the big Batman tent/car/toy that he wanted, and my brother telling him to go to the ATM and get some then! (Dad bought him the toy the next day. My brother didn't even make a fuss when we didn't buy it on the day, shows you what my Dad was like)

Okay, sorry for the rambly essay, I really should try and get some sleep.

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