Dave Ramsey says: Guide them, but let them learn from their mistakes

Jan 9, 2024, 1:00 PM

Young child receiving money....

(Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

Dear Dave,

My wife and I have started teaching our 5-year-old son about money. Do you feel we should step in and fix things when he makes mistakes, or let him experience the consequences of his actions? It’s so hard on my wife, especially, to see him disappointed when he makes a mistake, and his plans don’t work out.


Dear Lane,

I know this might sound mean to some folks, but sometimes a good financial disappointment when you’re young is the best thing that can happen to you. They’re hard to watch happen, or to experience, but often they’ll teach life-long lessons. No decent parent wants to see their child sad or hurt, but reality is a pretty good teacher when it comes to learning how the world really works.

One of the jobs of a parent is to look for teachable moments with their kids. Of course, when it comes to teaching, there’s always a chance the student won’t learn the lesson well enough the first time around. I’m not sure how you’re doing things, but if I were in your shoes, I’d follow these steps. First, give him a chance to earn some money. In my book, that means work. No allowances! There’s a lot of self-esteem and value to be found in accomplishing a given task successfully. Then, once you pay him for the work he does, you have another perfect chance for teachable moments, because you can help him learn about saving, spending and giving, and how to do all three wisely.

It’s always hard on parents when they see their kids unhappy. I know we went through it with ours. As a parent and protector, you want to jump in and make everything okay. But the hard truth is that fixing or doing everything for them is the easy way out. And in the process of doing that, a child will begin to develop a sort of learned helplessness.

Sometimes, Lane, you need to love kids enough to not do things for them. Let them make some mistakes, experience the consequences and fix things themselves. And it’s better for them to do all this while they’re still under your guidance and protection.



Dave Ramsey

Couple sits at table, seemingly planning out life....

Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey says: My wife thinks she owes me money

Struggling with financial tensions in marriage? Dave Ramsey offers insights on overcoming guilt and building a united front in managing debt.

4 days ago

Woman seeks financial support from father...

Dave Ramsey

Dave says: Work together, and increase expectations gradually

There are ways we can support our children financially without completely pulling the rug out from under them. Here are tips from Dave Ramsey.

7 days ago

(Pexels Photo)...

Dave Ramsey

Dave says: If you’re not going all in, stay out

Think twice before diving into that new business venture! Success requires a hefty 40-50 hours a week commitment.

11 days ago

(Pexels Photo)...

Dave Ramsey

Dave says: Seeking mediation with a neutral third-party advisor”

If someone close to you is having financial problems with their spouse, it might be best to refer them to a marriage counselor rather than insert your own advice.

14 days ago

In this week's article, Dave Ramsey talks about when to buckle down and climb out of that financial...

Dave Ramsey

Dave says: Getting out of a big mess doesn’t always feel good, but it’s necessary

Getting yourself out of a financial big mess doesn't always feel good, but sometimes, it's necessary to get back on track.

18 days ago

People sitting at a table, looking upset about bills....

George Kamel

The normalization of debt: How it happened and why it’s keeping you broke

The financial systems we trust benefit from our struggles. Break free from the cycle and rethink your financial game plan.

21 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Dave Ramsey says: Guide them, but let them learn from their mistakes