Getty Images for dcp

Getty Images for dcp

Our Story Begins:
Are Your Kids Really Poor?

Mila Kunis, and by proxy her hubby Ashton Kutcher, made some headlines this week by stating a rather interesting thing: “I am telling my kids they are poor.”

Now . . . just to be sure . . . Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher are far from poor, I would think.  They are two exceptionally successful movie stars, in addition to being annoyingly beautiful people.  They both did grow up poor.  But when asked by an Australian talk show about raising kids she was answering the rather direct question of how to raise kids “who are not ass****s.”

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Now . . . I actually agree with the idea that you don’t want your kid to grow up to be the business end of a donkey.  I cannot pretend that my kids are perfect and I cannot pretend that they are angels.  I didn’t, as Kunis remembers, have “ketchup soup” growing up.  I did have fried baloney sandwiches, not because it was the thing to have, but because we probably didn’t have the money.  But so what?  I actually liked them.

I’m not criticizing the stars, I actually admire that they don’t want to create a, say, Jaden or Willow Smith or a North West.  They want their kids to be grounded.

I would posit a different approach than “I may have money, but you don’t . . . you need to work for what you want!”  I do believe that’s a true statement, sure.  But there are other things you should teach, too, and maybe mine are a bit old-fashioned.

First: you should work for what you get.  Anything worth having is better if you worked for it.  That’s really the same thing Kunis and Kutcher are telling their kids.

Second: treat your significant other with respect.  For my boys: open the door for women, treat them well, and never . . . ever . . . hit a girl/woman.  Don’t care how angry or crazy you get.  Women have as much to offer and are just as worthwhile as any guy.   For my girls: appreciate what you are given, expect respect, and never back down.  Being a woman doesn’t mean you are any less than anyone else, even if the glass ceiling and the world seem to be otherwise.

Third:  I talk to my kids about money.  They are told what the electric bill, the water bill, the food, the rent, and everything cost.  When they ask for things I tell them why they can’t have x, y, or z because the other things we have to pay for have sapped the bank account.  I don’t think that is bad.

Fourth:  kids should be treated like people.  We often think of them as less than adults and they’re not.  They’re people.  They’re smart, but not as experienced.  They should respect their parents, where they come from, and what they do.  My kids need reminders just like anyone else does.

So in the end . . . I think the idea is the same.  But you don’t have to tell the kids they are poor to make them good people.  I think you just need to make sure they realize that they need to be good human beings and most the time . . . your example speaks more than any words you give them.

What about you?  Do you tell your kids these things?  Do you agree with Kunis and Kutcher?