Psst! Your Kids Are Probably Spies!


In case you haven’t realized it yet, I thought you should know:  If your kids are anything like mine, they are probably spies.  They might as well have a direct line to the NSA.

They’re always watching you, monitoring your movements, your spending habits, and your conversations.  They are profiling you.  It’s not because they have some nefarious plans to overthrow the household (well, they might, actually) but because it’s their job.  They are hard-wired to mimic you.  They start copying the day they’re born.  This is painfully obvious to every parent who has the occasionally cuss word in their vocabulary.  Invariably they find themselves with a two-year old using some very colorful language.

The upside to this is that it’s really easy to teach your kids valuable life lessons without doing anything at all – just go about your life as usual, and your kids are going to learn from your actions.  Your successes and your mistakes won’t be lost on them.  However, knowing that you’re being watched, you could take advantage of the situation to maximum effect.

  • When you’re thinking about the next big purchase, or the next vacation, don’t be afraid to talk about how it fits (or doesn’t fit) in your budget.  For added bonus points, throw in phrases like, “We need to save up a little longer, because we don’t want to use credit to buy this.”
  • When you’re at the store and you see something really an incredibly awesome doodad, be open about the fact that you really want to buy the doodad, but it’s not something you need.
  • When you’re preparing a meal in the kitchen, try to estimate what the meal costs in total.  Unless you’re using a really expensive meat in your dish, most family meals from scratch are between $15 and $25.
  • Conversely, when you’re eating out with the family, you could remark that “You know, this meal would have cost half as much if I’d made it at home, but wasn’t it nice to be able to go out and have dinner served to us for a change?”

This isn’t about putting on false pretenses.  It’s about advertising some of the things that you’re thinking and doing, with the aim of making an example of yourself.  Remember, you’re being watched – if you’re mindful of that, you can find prime teaching opportunities which require zero additional effort.

Do you do anything differently when you know the kids are watching?  I’d be curious to know – just comment below!


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