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Forget Grit: Teach Your Kid to Be Scrappy

ParentMap's March 2019 Editor's Note

Alayne Sulkin

Published on: February 27, 2019

scrappy kid

The Hall & Oates hit “Rich Girl,” unbeknownst to many, refers to a fast food heir who lived off his (yes, his — songwriter Hall thought “Rich Boy” didn’t sound as good) father’s fortune, immune to facing consequences for his actions because his rich daddy would buy him out of all of his troubles. 

All parents, no matter their economic status, face the “old man’s money” syndrome to some extent. Money can liberate us with great economic freedoms, while also challenging us to raise kids who understand and appreciate the value of hard work. What problems do we as parents agree to shoulder, and which should we not? You may be thrilled to drive sweetie-pie and her friends here and there and everywhere, loving the pleasure of their company and revealing chatter, but navigating public transportation boosts an extraordinary array of social and emotional skills they won’t develop in mama’s limo service.

We are obligated to teach our children essential skills — like being scrappy rather than frivolous — that will allow them to survive independently and without our help when the need arises.

It is a rare family that is unburdened by financial anxieties, and our first experience of parenting sticker shock often happens when we first bring our new, beautiful baby home. Suddenly, we are thrust into a necessity-induced and society-stoked consumption phase of life, woefully underprepared to grasp the complexities of a new balance sheet that spans from cradle to college — and possibly beyond! "10 Wallet-Wise Ways to Bring Up Baby" provides thrifty tips and tricks for saving a bundle on your little bundle in the early years.

Seattle native son Joel Gamoran will tell you that being scrappy — and cooking scrappy — can make you happy! As national chef for kitchen retailer Sur La Table (launched in its flagship Pike Place Market location one year after Starbucks opened, in 1972), this gregarious, plaid-wearing host of the television series “Scraps” and author of the new cookbook “Cooking Scrappy: 100 Recipes to Help You Stop Wasting Food, Save Money, and Love What You Eat” is at the forefront of the zero-waste, food-scrap cooking revolution.

Over your next deliciously “scrappy” meal, consider sharing your fiscal memories, fears and values with your partner and ask them to share theirs. Money can be a hot-button topic, but approaching the subject with this type of loving inquiry can reduce stress and help you develop a shared money mindset that will shape your family’s financial future.

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