“Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” This famous line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet might be sage advice, but poverty-stricken parents across the land are falling foul of it.
I’m talking about mums and dads who pilfer their little one’s piggy bank when they run short of cash. I hold my hands up. I’m one of these embezzlers, although I must add I purely help myself to DIY loans rather than out-and-out theft.
It seems I am not alone, as research has revealed that half of all parents borrow cash from their kids – and 19 per cent blame it on the expense of raising them. Of those who borrowed cash, a huge 81 per cent confessed they hadn’t paid it back. When asked why, around 39 per cent claimed to have forgotten, while 16 per cent said their child didn’t expect the money to be returned. Before you start labelling me as a bad mother, I’ll just point out my borrowing isn’t to fund my wine habit or buy extra treats for myself. It stems from the modern day problem of never having actual cash or change, as I’m too used to handing over my credit card to pay for things.
I rob – sorry, borrow – from my kids when I realise I’ve no money for the brew machine at work or when the children need money themselves and spring it on you out of the blue.
I’m talking about when they suddenly announce in the morning before school: “Mummy, I need £1 for Wear What You Want Day”.At short notice and with no money in your purse, you have no option but to raid the piggy.
I am always quite happy to lend to my children as well as borrow from them. When we are out shopping and they spy something they want to spend their pocket money on, I buy it for them and tell them they can pay me back later. Usually, I forget, but they are honest enough to remind me… although my daughter does make me chuckle with her financial acumen as when me or Hubby say something like: “You owe us £2, she’ll quickly reply: ‘No I don’t. It cost £1.99. You have to give me 1p change.” Pocket money has been good for teaching our duo the value of money. Beforehand, when our children went to something like a school disco or school cinema, we gave them money to spend on sweets and snacks.
However, we decided that’s what pocket money is for and since then, Cameron and Yasmin take their own spending money to things like that.
More than cash can be borrowed, and I certainly didn’t envisage sharing clothes with my daughter already.
Being a shortie myself, she is almost as tall as me and I reckon in another year or two, she will be looking down on me.
I recently wore one outfit and put a fluffy feather shrug on top. Lovingly stroking the soft feathers, Yasmin said: “I like this, Mummy. Can I have it when it’s too small for you?”