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Mom Struggles To Explain To Her Kids Why All Their Friends Have Bigger Houses Than Them — 'It's Making Me Feel A Bit Insecure'

Photo: Jazkz / Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock 
struggling mom, children, houses

The world can be a challenging and unforgiving place for some people. However, as children, we believed that the world was limitless and that we could take on anything. We hadn’t yet been exposed to society’s rules, norms, and constraints as we did as adults. 

For some of us, our lack of preconceived notions and endless imaginations were influenced by our parents, who did whatever they could to shield us from the harsh aspects of reality. 

One mother is doing her best to preserve her children’s views of the world; however, she admits that it is becoming difficult as they are growing up and realizing the social differences that exist between them and their friends. 

The woman’s children have started asking her why some of their friends live in bigger houses than they do. 

Taking to the subreddit, r/Parents, the 40-year-old woman revealed that her children have reached the age where they are beginning to “question everything,” including their living situation. “We have a small house. It’s a ranch with three bedrooms, one bathroom, and a finished basement,” the woman wrote. 

mom struggles to explain to her kids why other kids have bigger houses than themPhoto: Reddit

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While she claims that their house is not “tiny,” her children have started asking why their friends live in bigger houses than they do. Their questions have made the woman feel insecure. 

“We live in a pretty wealthy area. So like 90% of their friends have bigger houses,” she wrote. “I try to explain to them it doesn’t necessarily mean anyone is 'richer' than anyone else but we all know that is not true in the scheme of things (in terms of money, not metaphorically).” 

While the woman shares that she would like to build an addition to her house or move into a bigger one, it is not “financially in the cards” for her right now. She sought advice from other Reddiotrs on how she should explain the current reality of the situation to her children to answer their questions. 

People offered the woman all kinds of advice on how she should go about answering her children’s questions, but the vast majority encouraged her to just be honest with them

“I think you can say that parents/guardians have different jobs that allow them to afford different things. They also value different things, which informs how they spend that money,” one Redditor commented. “You choose to spend your money on a smaller home so that you can have money left to spend on (fill in the blank). Some people who have larger homes may choose not to have those things.” 

“Be honest. Say some people make more money and buy bigger houses. Don’t make it a big deal and don’t make it about self-worth,” another user suggested. 

“I would take advantage of your child’s questions and use it as an opportunity to teach/motivate them. All people have different jobs with different salaries, those salaries affect what size house we can afford and what neighborhood that house is located in,” another user recommended. 

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Having conversations about money and living situations with children is beneficial. 

It is true that all homes come in different sizes and locations, and children will begin to notice that as they grow up. As they grow more curious and ask questions, psychologists claim that it may be time to have educational conversations about money

mom struggles to explain to her kids why other kids have bigger houses than themPhoto: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock 

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“Parents tend to underestimate how much kids notice and what they’re capable of understanding, but it’s important to be honest and discuss the situation in an age-appropriate way,” Amanda J. Rose, a professor of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri–Columbia, told American Psychological Association.

When children notice that their friends may live in bigger houses and inquire about finances, she dissuades parents from saying, “We can’t afford that.” Instead, explain to them the importance of budgeting and carefully planning how we spend our money. 

“Rather than focusing on the stress of not having enough, it helps to emphasize the importance of budgeting and being cost-conscious,” Rose added. 

It is normal, in fact healthy, for children to ask their parents questions about their life circumstances. It is what helps them to grow and understand. 

While teaching them about the aspects of life, like why their friends may live in bigger houses or have more toys, it is important to remember that comparison often leads to despair. 

When children compare themselves to all of their peers who come from all types of families, some of them may believe that they are not measuring up and feel inadequate. Instead, emphasize all of the things they may have that others do not, such as a loving and supportive family or beloved pets. 

This is not to invalidate their feelings about all of the things they see their friends have and are doing. It is simply to give them new perspectives and a sense of appreciation for what they have been offered. 

It can be hard as a parent to teach your children about the realities of the world, especially if you find yourself in some financial troubles that they begin to pick up on. Just remember that you are doing everything to the best of your ability to give them a happy, healthy, and fulfilled life, no matter how big your house may be. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.