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This article is from a series of articles about giving your children the life-skills necessary to effectively manage their money. To go to the table of contents, click here.

Reinforcing positive fiscal behavior

Speak from the heart-if your kids make a decision you would like them to repeat, praise them for it. This is effective for teaching fiscal fitness. For example: "Because you took such good care of your backpack this year, I think you will be able to use it again next year. That means, with the money we saved, I can get you an extra pair of jeans (or a baseball mitt, ballet shoes, new microscope)."

Be precise and clear with your comments.

If you want to comment on something you are not happy about, stay away from remarks that create fear such as, "You are a bad boy/girl." Statements like this make it difficult for children to tell if you are talking about their behavior or their character. Fear motivates only in the short-term; desire motivates in the long-term.

Also be sure and talk with your children about the choices you make for the benefit of the family. Things like buying a used car instead of a new car, turning off lights to save electricity, creating a list before grocery shopping to get the best value, cutting the grass yourself rather than paying someone else to do it, saving X dollars each month towards their college education and passing on an expenditure until you can buy the item with cash rather than using credit.