How to seriously mess up your kid about money

Posted by: Kris@Bicycle, Monday, Aug 29, 2016

Could you unconsciously be sending your kid negative messages about money? That’s the question I asked myself recently as I complained about paying a stack of bills. In a perfect world, money is simply a resource to be managed: you earn it, you spend it, you keep some for yourself. But it’s not a perfect world, and so we attach all sorts of emotions to money: anger, jealousy, guilt, fear, etc. There are many ways money baggage evolves, usually starting in childhood. Here are some of the biggies, the surefire ways to inflict financial damage on your kids – guaranteed.  

Fight with your spouse.

Nothing says, “money is scary” like watching mom and dad have a heated argument. Your beef may be legit, but that doesn’t mean your 5-year old needs in on it. Growing up thinking money = arguments is a quick way to get your child to fear or avoid money altogether – or, worse, to assume that everyone fights about money.

Do a lot of complaining about money.

Your rent is too high, you’re underpaid, your water bill is outrageous. It may all be true, but does your kid really need to hear about it? Griping about money teaches your kids that money is annoying. It gives them the impression that your money concerns are out of your control and are always someone else’s fault.

Control (or be controlled) by the purse strings.

If your money relationship is lopsided, the kiddos are picking up on it. If dad calls all the financial shots, what does that say about mom? If mom keeps a secret credit card hidden away, don’t think your teenager hasn’t noticed. Managing money for two has its challenges; aim for a level playing field so that your kids learn that you are both competent when it comes to money.