With her tooth fairy money inside her purse, Kerri ventured off to a dollar something or other store with her Daddy. I gave Daddy strict instructions: Kerri wanted to go shopping with her money, and she would have absolute freedom in how she would manage her finances, purchases, and decisions. The only time Daddy was allowed to intervene was if she was choosing something unsafe or inappropriate, and even then he was supposed to make her think about her choices (only saying "no"if she really insisted on purchasing something not safe or inappropriate).
Kerri had already scoped out the store the other day with me, and had to choose between items because I was not buying her every thing she wanted. At the time, I had told her when she had her own money, she could buy them if she wanted. Now that she had her own money, I was curious if she would go back and get the things I refused to buy. My hope, which I explained to Daddy, was that Kerri would learn a valuable lesson about monetary value, making choices, and consequences.
They returned home with much less than I expected. Kerri had a composition book, a whoopee cushion, and a squishy porcupine looking ball. Not one of those things was anything she had looked at on our prior visit. I asked Kerri how much she spent, and I was shocked. She told me: "Nothing. Daddy bought it for me.". Instead of learning the lesson I had hoped, I thought the only lesson Kerri learned was to spend Daddy's money instead of her own. I gave her Daddy my disapproving "we will talk later about this" look.
And we did. Later on, when Kerri could not hear us, I asked him why he threw away the opportunity for her to learn a valuable lesson, when we had already discussed and agreed on this before they went out. He told me that she did learn a lesson. He said that she was careful about the choices she made: she would pick up things and then put them back down, saying "I don't really need this". She was trying to get the most value for her money. My husband reassured me that he did not influence Kerri at all, and that she did not ask him to pay. Kerri was prepared to pay the cashier, but since it was only three items he decided she should save her money and he offered to pay for them (since he had made some purchases of his own).
Kerri still has her tooth fairy money. So the lesson is incomplete. Or maybe Kerri wasn't the one who learned a lesson.
Life with Kerri still has much to learn.