How My Son Ruined the Tooth Fairy for My Daughter -- and Taught Her a Valuable Financial Lesson

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  • Younger siblings tend to learn a lot from an older one -- for better and worse.
  • While my daughter no longer believes in the tooth fairy thanks to my son, she also has a firm understanding of personal finances.

It was bound to happen eventually.

When you have a child who's several years older than their siblings, your younger kids are apt to pick up on certain truths before you're ready for it. For example, my neighbor recently spent hours trying to convince her 9-year-old that Santa is, in fact, real after her 12-year-old decided to bust that myth and ruin Christmas for everyone (or so she says).

Meanwhile, in my household, there have been plenty of instances where my oldest child's teachings, so to speak, were less than welcome. I won't get into the details, but let's just say that my 7-year-old daughters are more familiar with certain inappropriate language than they need to be at their age. And that's just one example.

Another example happened last month. My daughter lost two of her teeth in short order, and that warranted two separate visits from the tooth fairy.

Now in our house, the tooth fairy is kind of cheap when it comes to giving out actual money because she knows her daughters are likely to lose physical bills. So instead of sticking a $10 bill under my daughter's pillow, what I'll usually do instead is give her a $1 bill and a coupon for a local treat in town, whether it's ice cream, cupcakes, or cookies.

When my daughter received her last tooth fairy gift, she was totally thrilled with it and proceeded to show off her money and coupon to her older brother. And at that point, he decided to truth bomb her by explaining that the tooth fairy is none other than her mom. He even pointed out that the handwriting on the coupon could easily be matched to mine, which sealed the deal for my daughter.

Now I could've gotten really annoyed with my son for spoiling the tooth fairy for a 7-year-old. But the way he explained it was enough to make me grateful he took it upon himself to bust that myth.

An important lesson learned

My son didn't ruin the tooth fairy for my daughter to be a jerk. Rather, he's the sort of kid who has never bought into that sort of thing, and he likes others to be in the know.

But also, the way he explained things to my daughter made me appreciate his little truth bomb. That's because he said something along the lines of, "First of all, how could some magical fairy show up here at night without anyone hearing someone break into the house? It would set off the dog and make him bark up a storm. And also, have you ever noticed that the tooth fairy's gifts all require Mom to spend money? So wouldn't it make sense that Mom is the tooth fairy, because she's the one who's on the hook for making good on those coupons?"

Upon hearing this, my daughter actually didn't get upset, but rather, said something along the lines of, "You're right. Everything we get is from Mom and Dad, so it makes sense that they'd give us everything the tooth fairy is supposed to."

It's all about appreciation

No parent wants to raise spoiled children. Now that my daughter knows I'm the tooth fairy, she's apt to be appreciative of the fact that I'm the person who takes the time to write her up coupons, and that I'm the one who swipes her credit card to pay for her ice cream/cupcakes/cookies when she goes to redeem them.

Now to be clear, there are still some things I wish my son would keep to himself and not share with his younger sisters. But I'm actually glad that he wrecked the tooth fairy concept and taught my daughter to appreciate the fact that everything she has comes from her parents.

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