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Beggar problem in India is real. I do not give anything to beggars in order to discourage begging. My mother does.

I don't want the child to think that I am cruel and it is okay not to help the needy.
The child is currently 2 years 4 months old.

  • When (at what age of the child) should I start getting concerned about dealing with beggars in front of the child?
  • How to deal with beggars in front of the child?
  • What should the child be told about me not giving anything to the beggars?
  • What should the child be told about my mother giving money to the beggars?

I am yet to find a place here where there are no beggars, so avoiding such places is not possible.

Also, we don't carry food around to give to the beggars. I tried to give food to a beggar once, she threw it down and moved on.

I am an Indian - if it matters at all.

  • I think answer to this question might differ totally on different countries. I'm from France, and begging, while it is still a problem, does not raise the same issues as can be seen in the post you link to. The issue being addressed when parenting being different, answers will be different as well. – DainDwarf Oct 26 '15 at 9:31
  • @DainDwarf Actually, I linked to that post just to give a proof that begging is a problem in India. Not all beggars cling to you or pester you. Many just sit somewhere and keep on asking for money. Many "look" miserable, many don't. Many pester for a minute and then leave, and others don't leave until you shout. I really want to make it behaviour specific, not country specific. That post was specially about tourists. I am not a tourist in India, beggars know that. – needle clock Oct 26 '15 at 9:39
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What about stepping away from the begging issue and doing a seperate activity with your children to encourage charity.

(I'm in the US so my examples may not line up exactly.)

  • Donate some old cloths or household supplies to the Salvation Army (or similar).
  • Work at a soup kitchen or bring food to one.
  • Use your job/skills to do something for free for someone who cant afford it. For example if you are in IT help someone write there resume; or if your a barber go cut someones hair that needs it etc.
  • Give away your dinner leftovers to someone in need instead of giving them cash.

You could even ask your kids to think of some ideas of how you can help the community and do some ideas that they suggest.

In this way you can lead by example even if you do not choose to give money to someone on the street.

  • I like this answer. You give information to the child; you demonstrate compassion; you provide a context for not directly giving money to beggars; you encourage a charitable activity. This answer also translates to different religions - many of which include a duty to provide charity. – DanBeale Oct 26 '15 at 11:40
  • You have misunderstood the question it seems. you said: What about stepping away from the begging issue Beggar is standing in front of you and your child asking for money. How can you step aside from the issue? – needle clock Oct 26 '15 at 12:17
  • @needleclock I think this answer still applies though, if you are already doing your charitable work and encouraging that, there is no problem with not helping the beggar in front of you and worrying about "I don't want the child to think that I am cruel and it is okay not to help the needy." You have already solved that problem, so that concern no longer applies to the beggar situation, leaving you free to refuse to give cash – Eric Renouf Oct 26 '15 at 14:21
  • @EricRenouf I am not doing any charitable work as of now. My salary does not allow that. – needle clock Oct 26 '15 at 15:23
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I would just keep doing whatever you do to deal with them now. At some point your child will ask you about it (if not, you can bring it up too). Then just explain to them what you did and why. Then if you do things to help them indirectly, point those out as well. You can then involve your child in those activities if it is appropriate.

As an example, if it were me and my child, I would explain that I don't give money directly to beggars because I've seen many of them spend it on things that won't really help them (usually alcohol, etc.) and I would rather give the money to a homeless shelter. That way the beggars can have a warm place to sleep and I know the money won't be wasted.

When the subject of how you mom handles beggars comes up (and it will, kids notice these things) you (or your mom) can explain her feelings and reasons for acting as she does. Don't paint your mom's actions as "wrong", they are just a different way of handling things.

As long as they understand the reasons both you and your mom have for dealing with beggars, when they are old enough they will be well equipped to make their own decision about how they want to handle it.

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