Can You Give Your Kids Too Much Information About Money?
Several years ago we had a program where people could write their questions and we would provide answers. We found this little gem and wanted to share a common issue in families.
I have two young children and I grew up in a household where secrets and holding things back was frowned upon. The order of the day was to be always candid and transparent. We talked about money (having it or not) very openly, and now I do the same with my own children. In my current marriage, I say what I feel and think in the moment, even when I’m angry and even if my children are present. I thought it was the healthy thing to do until I read an article recently about the damage it can inflict on the people around you. Now I’m confused. Should I be a truth teller or hide the truth?
When my children ask for new sneakers, I say: " No, your Dad's commission check was smaller this month."
Is that wrong? Answer: This is really about showing respect to your husband and setting boundaries. It’s the mother's primary responsibility to create and maintain an environment that makes her children feel safe and secure. Boundaries that makes sense provide safety. You grew up in an environment without boundaries, so you have a hard time differentiating between what information your children can manage and what will make them feel insecure. Financial issues in a family are really between the parents except for discussions that are instructional in nature. It’s also the mother's responsibility to start modeling respect. How she treats her children's needs and celebrates their individuality, starts very early on. It needs to be consistent with the way she treats their father even if he doesn't live in the same house anymore. Expressing your anger or earning capacity at your partner, makes your children nervous and insecure. Children are hypersensitive to mood shifts and pick up on the slightest change that adds to either their sense of safety or makes them feel as if they are living in a war zone.
Again, a lack of boundaries will make children question their own value and sense of competence; is the mood shifting their fault? An additional issue that comes into play is how the children perceive their parent if one of the parents belittles the other. It sets a bad tone in the house. Again, having boundaries creates respect, having respect creates boundaries. I found a gem of a book at the car wash: MANNERS…a little black book that is a great guide to sanity in your household, at your job.