Author Topic: dealing with anti mustachian parents while trying to be a mustachian father  (Read 6936 times)

carlo319

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I am 35 year old, father of two boys aged 7 and 11.  I live in the Philippines.
 May parents live near Manila CBD, while we live 120 kilometers ( 2 to 7 hour drive, depending on traffic) from them.  My parents live a relatively extravagant lifestyle, although they can afford it. 

I want to teach my children the value of finding happiness in inexpensive things. 

But my parents, especially my mother, naturally want to spend time with her grandchildtren.  And when they spend time, they also spend lots of money.   

I am thinking of my sons to minimize exposure to the lifestyle of my parents.  But i feel guilty.  My mother might feel sad.  Is this a correct guilt?  Or do I need to practice tough love? 

Cycling Stache

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I can relate to this.

No, you should not limit access to your parents in any way.   How they want to spend money can be different than how you choose to spend money.

My in-laws are similar, and we enjoy the experiences that they provide the kids.  But we also make clear in our house that we are careful with our money and make sure something is really worth it.  When the in-laws come, we always offer to make meals first, but if they would like to take everyone out and treat, that's fine.  Over time, it has actually reduced the number of times we eat out, and they are more respectful of not spending ridiculous money when they're with us.

The fine line is not to criticize your parents too much in front of your kids.  Your kids will follow your lead.  It's okay to tell them not to take advantage of the grandparents' generosity, and we try to steer them away from ridiculous spending (e.g., getting smoothies and candy at a movie theater when there were already lots of sweets at the house right before we left).  But overall, it's okay if the way they want to care for the grandkids is through spending money, as long as they understand that it may be different from what you and your family do on a normal basis.

Those are my thoughts.  My kids seem to have handled it well the last few years.  I often find there is a little bit of a detox that takes place after they see the grandparents, but the kids get back into our regular routines fairly quickly.  And they love their grandparents, so it all works out.

NoStacheOhio

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I can relate a little bit, except we're only five minutes away from my mother.

She's gotten a little bit better with this, but mostly we just make it clear that we don't need whatever thing she thinks our son needs. The most recent thing was buying a play tent from a store. We just told her no repeatedly, and she eventually quit bringing it up. At one point, I may have said something about kids should build their own pillow forts/tents/imaginary hideouts. It was really annoying while it was going on, but she's since mentioned not "needing any plastic junk." It helps that our house isn't big enough for piles and piles of stupid toys.

Your kids will notice the difference between the way you live, and the way your parents live. Just explain the reasons for the differences without being judgmental. You choose your lifestyle because you want to save money for [reasons].

Catbert

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I agree with this others, don't limit time with your parents over this.  In addition to their suggestions can you encourage your parents to spend money on experiences with your children rather than things.  Not necessarily more frugal, but better memories for your children.  If they continue to buy stuff, especially large stuff, can you get them to leave the stuff at their house?   Maybe having to deal with large plastic items will cool their shopping ardor.

VaCPA

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You can try to discuss it with your parents and ask them to take it easy on spoiling them but if they continue to do it just let it slide. You and your spouse spend far more time with your kids than they do(I assume) so you will be the biggest influence on their lives. It's not worth the family drama of making a big deal over it. I'm way too young to know for sure but I think being a grandparent is an exciting thing and it's probably easy to go overboard.

Axecleaver

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This is a teachable moment. Don't limit their exposure to your parents, but do sit down with your children and talk to them about your philosophy of life, and why saving is important to you. These discussions will be a great opportunity for them to learn a lot from you.

carlo319

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Thank you for all your inputs.  Its good to know that you also value family life, and willing to tolerate different views...
:)

elaine amj

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I would never limit grandparent time - unless for very serious reasons.

My dad is a super spendypants. The kids get all their big gifts/expensive stuff from him. It does help that my Dad just gives me his credit card and I do most of the gift buying for him (we live very far apart). When he sees them though, he spoils them outrageously. A couple of years ago, we were on vacation with him at Disney. He noticed my DD was very into pin trading. (I had bought a stack of pins for her for $20 from ebay and she had spent years trading them. We never even considered buying new pins). He walked her up to a pin store and told her to buy FIVE pins. She was in shock and my frugal child (13 then) told him she really only wanted ONE special pin. At most, TWO pins. She really didn't want any more than that. He was adamant, saying we were not going to walk away until she chose five pins. She had a super hard time as there were only 2 pins she particularly liked. In the end, she did find 5 pins she liked and she still treasures them. But really, she would have been just as thrilled with one special pin. But that's my Dad.

I do admit I optimize this side of him and try to steer him towards the stuff that the kids need/would like. Backfires sometimes though. We mentioned the kids needed new watches. He showed up with 3 expensive watches each (unfortunately, none in a design they care for so they are stashed somewhere in my house).

Still, thanks to my generous Dad, they had various things throughout their childhood that they loved which would have been out of my normal budget. A swingset one year, a trampoline another year, a train table, etc etc. And I got a couch one year, a basement reno another year, a pergola another time...all kinds of awesome stuff :)

NonprofitER

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Agreed with everyone else.

One set of my child's grandparents live close and the other set lives a few states away. The further away grandparents see us less often, but try to "make up for it" by going BANANAS when we're all together. We've gotten irritable about the spending in the past, but its a balancing act because we know it comes from a place of enthusiasm and love.  They typically have 6 months between visits to mentally envision all the great experiences/ gifts/ etc. they will bestow on our child when we're all together... so their projected expectations are a factor.

On our last visit, we all enjoyed going out to see a kids movie in the theater. We don't often do that with our child (age 6), not because we're cheap but mostly because we still limit media and emphasize free play. But a movie every once in a while is a great thing and our child was SO EXCITED to go see this particular film at the theater with $12 popcorn and the whole bit.  As the movie was ending and we were all reflecting on how good it was and walking to the theater bathrooms, said grandparents IMMEDIATELY promised to order our child the movie on "pre order DVD" and they whip out their fancy iphones to do so.  While I didn't react right then, I was floored. We were STILL LIVING THE EXPERIENCE, right then! There was no need to assume that because we all enjoyed the movie, we needed to BUY IT RIGHT NOW. It would never have occurred to our child to even *think* about purchasing it, let alone before we left the theater!  But for that particular set of grandparents, more = better, a good experience = need to purchase/quantify it, etc.  Sigh. 


Cassie

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Kids and grandparents need each other. It is such a special relationship like no other. I was lucky enough to be very close to 1 set of grandparents and my kids were lucky too.  It is their job to do some spoiling.  Your kids will remember forever the good times with them. I only told my Mom "no" once when she wanted to buy my youngest a kid battery powered car. As we lived on a dead end street the kids rode their bikes in street due to very little traffic but their bikes were high up and the car was low. I was afraid that he would ride in the street and get run over by a car. Also you can't just give 1 of 3 kids something expensive so she would have bought something expensive for all 3.  The amount of $ this would have cost would have been ridiculous given their income. They had savings but this was over the top.

serpentstooth

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I am 35 year old, father of two boys aged 7 and 11.  I live in the Philippines.
 May parents live near Manila CBD, while we live 120 kilometers ( 2 to 7 hour drive, depending on traffic) from them.  My parents live a relatively extravagant lifestyle, although they can afford it. 

I want to teach my children the value of finding happiness in inexpensive things. 

But my parents, especially my mother, naturally want to spend time with her grandchildtren.  And when they spend time, they also spend lots of money.   

I am thinking of my sons to minimize exposure to the lifestyle of my parents.  But i feel guilty.  My mother might feel sad.  Is this a correct guilt?  Or do I need to practice tough love?

Are you seriously considering undercutting your children's relationship with their grandparents on the off chance they might grow up to be insufficiently frugal?

HipGnosis

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Did you minimize your exposure to your parents as you grew up?  Did you turn out Okay??

Or do you (now) value inexpensive happiness because of your parents??

carlo319

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Did you minimize your exposure to your parents as you grew up?  Did you turn out Okay??

Or do you (now) value inexpensive happiness because of your parents??

-----

The love of my parents for me during my growing years is a big factor why I can be happy with little money.
They were both from a poor family. 
They were both social activist (leftist) while in college.
My father was able to find luck and success in the corporate ladder.

When I was in college,
and my father was near the top of corporate ladder,
I started to think differently from them.
I had dream a life that is different from his lifestyle...

I cannot say I am okay.  Yes, I can be happy with liitle money, buy I am still a people pleaser,
and I am still afraid to show a kind of mustachian attitude,
especially in a place where it is hard to find like minded people...

I am 35 year old, father of two boys aged 7 and 11.  I live in the Philippines.
 May parents live near Manila CBD, while we live 120 kilometers ( 2 to 7 hour drive, depending on traffic) from them.  My parents live a relatively extravagant lifestyle, although they can afford it. 

I want to teach my children the value of finding happiness in inexpensive things. 

But my parents, especially my mother, naturally want to spend time with her grandchildtren.  And when they spend time, they also spend lots of money.   

I am thinking of my sons to minimize exposure to the lifestyle of my parents.  But i feel guilty.  My mother might feel sad.  Is this a correct guilt?  Or do I need to practice tough love?

Are you seriously considering undercutting your children's relationship with their grandparents on the off chance they might grow up to be insufficiently frugal?

carlo319

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I am 35 year old, father of two boys aged 7 and 11.  I live in the Philippines.
 May parents live near Manila CBD, while we live 120 kilometers ( 2 to 7 hour drive, depending on traffic) from them.  My parents live a relatively extravagant lifestyle, although they can afford it. 

I want to teach my children the value of finding happiness in inexpensive things. 

But my parents, especially my mother, naturally want to spend time with her grandchildtren.  And when they spend time, they also spend lots of money.   

I am thinking of my sons to minimize exposure to the lifestyle of my parents.  But i feel guilty.  My mother might feel sad.  Is this a correct guilt?  Or do I need to practice tough love?

Are you seriously considering undercutting your children's relationship with their grandparents on the off chance they might grow up to be insufficiently frugal?

Before, I am seriuosly considereing it, but as of now, because of the helpful comments from this forum, I think it is not necessary...


Adventine

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Hi Carlo! Nice to see another Filipino here.

As others have said, you and your wife are the biggest influences your kids will ever have. The way you choose to live is a much more powerful example to your children than the way their grandparents choose to live.

I also have a grandfather who lives extravagantly and showers us with gifts and expensive meals at restaurants. My parents are pretty consumerist, but nowhere near my grandfather's level. My sisters and I grew up relatively frugal compared to those two preceding generations. And I'm the only Mustachian in the whole family tree.

I love my Lolo even if a great deal of his spending leaves me baffled to this day. I would have been very sad if my parents had chosen to limit his participation in my life just because they didn't agree with his lifestyle.

It's possible to have a relationship with family members without needing to approve of every lifestyle decision they make.

Rubic

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@carlo319:

Since your parents want to spend money on your children, is there any way you could channel it towards contributing to saving accounts in their names?  You could tell your folks that they'd be helping out with their grandkid's future education expenses -- something that would have a meaningful impact on the rest of their lives.


VaCPA

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Also consider you never know how long grandparents will be around. Some people never get to know their grandparents very well. I've only had the pleasure of knowing 1 out of 4 in any meaningful way. Instead of worrying they're messing your kids up by spoiling them(they aren't) just let your kids soak it up for as long as they're lucky enough to be able to. Speaking of which I need to call my grandma and see how she's doing...

StockBeard

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I would have a talk with your parents, tell them you're not comfortable with them spending so much on the kids, asking them nicely to tone it down.
I'm worried I'm getting in a similar situation, with family being in a different country they spoil our kids remotely with regular gifts. I'm thinking of asking the grandparents at some point to replace some of the gifts with investment accounts for the kids, to help them prepare financially for the future. My grandparents did that with me. It took years for me to realize how much of a headstart they've given me in life, but now I realize how much that helped...

carlo319

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Hi Carlo! Nice to see another Filipino here.

It's possible to have a relationship with family members without needing to approve of every lifestyle decision they make.


Thanks Adventine.  I really need to work out in respecting (not judging) other peoples lifestyle, at the same time asserting my
(our) mustachian lifestyle...

carlo319

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@carlo319:

Since your parents want to spend money on your children, is there any way you could channel it towards contributing to saving accounts in their names? 


Rubic, my children are blessed to have grandparents who also doing something, financially for their future.  Thank you for your suggestion.
:)