A leg up, or indulgent parenting?

Buying property is always a hot topic at dinner parties. As humans, we can’t help but measure our progress compared to others, just to see if we are keeping up with the Joneses.

So the latest news in Sydney’s expensive property market for parents to buy a million-dollar property for their children has the city divided. Some are applauding the efforts of parents buying their daughter or son their very first home in an attempt to give them a leg up in an expensive property market, while others decry the gesture as indulgent or a failure in parenting.

Maybe I’m just incredibly jealous that my parents didn’t buy me a hip pad in the inner city, but I’m firmly in the camp that gifting your kids their own slice of Sydney will do more harm than good.

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Rather than facing the financial struggles that all their peers will experience, these children will breeze through life having not a care in the world. The one objective that the vast majority of the population slogs their guts out for almost an entire lifetime – to own a fully paid off house – will not even be an issue for them. Yes, this is exactly the outcome the parents are hoping for their offspring (out of their love and devotion of course), but this is a surefire way to ensure that your children will end up being completely out of touch with pretty much everyone else, and continue to feel a sense of entitlement for the rest of their lives.

One of my greatest life lessons, being raised by working class parents that migrated to Australia with nothing, is that hard work and perseverance are all important ingredients to success. This has been a theme all through my life, through family life, school and my career, and my martial arts training. You can achieve great things by working hard, building your networks, and growing and developing each day.

Giving your child a house, without them having to work for it, means that they are less likely to learn these lessons. Research has shown that children that learn resilience and grit are more likely to be successful, so giving them a property on a platter, along with indulging their every whim, is more likely to damage your child than benefit them.

Of course, it’s only natural that you will want to help them out so they won’t have to struggle so much. I’m not suggesting that a parent should stand idly by while their kid survives solely on home brand white bread and tins of Spam and baked beans, just to make ends meet. My parents helped me out a lot while I was studying at university by partly subsidising my living expenses, and I will be forever grateful.

But they certainly did not buy me a house, and for that, I’m also forever thankful.

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