Have you ever wondered what kids think about money? Surprisingly, children experience some of the same anxious thoughts that consume their parents. You may hear plenty of stories about the silly things young children say and think about money, where it comes from, and how to get it, but the story goes much deeper than that. Some kids are also concerned about their parents’ financial situation and fear what could happen if the family ran out of money.
A study conducted by Halifax found that one third of children (31%) are worried about money. Furthermore, many children are aware of their parents’ money troubles. Parents are very worried about cash flow (89%), yet they aren’t doing a good job of shielding their kids from their worries. Despite the fact that parents try to hide their money worries, roughly 73% of children said they are aware of their parents’ dilemmas when it comes to making ends meet.
Furthermore, the study found that parents’ bad financial habits were often seen and repeated by their children. About 29% of parents said they were in such a tight spot that they had to borrow funds from someone they knew. Approximately one in six (16%) of children said they found themselves in a situation where they had to do the same thing. Even the youngest survey respondents are copying Mom and Dad’s bad habits. Roughly one in 10 (11%) of children between the ages of eight and 11 said they have asked someone for a loan. Children have also lent money to others. Among the survey respondents, 25% of children said they have lent money; about 30% said they have lent money to their own parents.
“Parents need to be very aware just how much of an impact their own feelings about money can have on their children’s views and habits … Talking about money at home can be a great way for children to start building an understanding of the importance of good money management,” said Giles Martin, head of savings at Halifax.
How you can ease your child’s mind
If you find that your children are worrying a lot about your finances, there are some steps you can take to help ease their minds.
Involve your children in household money discussions
Including your children will create transparency and give them a safe space where they can freely ask questions. You can use this time to reassure them about any fears they may be having regarding the household finances.
Don’t fight about money when the kids are around
You and your spouse will likely argue about financial issues. However, try your best not to argue about money in front of the kids. This will only serve to make them more anxious about the family’s money problems. Instead, discuss serious money issues in private. Financial psychologist Brad Klontz says it’s best to keep kids out of negative financial matters. “When children are inappropriately exposed to adult financial problems and conflicts, they are left feeling anxious and insecure. It can be very damaging,” Klontz told CreditCards.com.
Consider calling a therapist
Your children should not be overly concerned about your finances. This is your problem, and you should take notice if they are worried to the point where it is creating anxiety that interferes with their daily functioning. It’s time to call in a professional if you start to see that the worry is causing significant issues.