Children of Debt: Using Your Financial Struggles as Tools for Teaching

All households can experience tough times, and some more than others. Having less to spend is not all bed new, though, and It’s actually quite common that children of low-income families grow up to be more financially savvy than their peers. If your family is going through a dip in finances at the moment, you can easily take advantage of this to teach them a few valuable lessons – just avoid the pitfalls.

Here is how some families use financial struggles to safeguard their children from similar problems, as well as a few words of warning on what to steer clear of.

Children of Debt: Using Your Financial Struggles as Tools for Teaching - parent and child image

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Have constructive money conversations

Talking about money problems with children is on the top of the to-do list. When times are tough, and you keep it to yourself, it tends to cause a bit of confusion. Be open about it and you’re giving your children a chance to understand the situation.

Explain that you need to save money, as a household, and that they can be of big help by simply remembering to use less electricity. These conversations are healthy and constructive; the problems are presented together with a solution, rather than mindless worries.

Some parents take the money-talk too far and burden their children with it. The conversations about money are used to unload themselves of worries, and the parents may even feel a sense of relief afterwards – while the child is left with a sense of being unable to help.

Admit your mistakes

While we should all learn from our own mistakes, your children are in the unique position of being able to learn from your mistakes as well. Take responsibility for the situation you’re in, admit that you haven’t been as on top of your finances as you should have, and avoid blaming it on your circumstances.

However tempting it may be to point out that you’ve gone through a costly divorce or that the economy is tough, save these blame-shifting talks for your friends. When you’re talking to your children about it, it’s all about being the grown-up, and grown-ups take responsibility.

If your child or teenager ever find themselves in the same situation, they won’t spend time on pointing fingers but instead get right to work and sort things out; just like you taught them.

There are so many words of wisdom to be found in financial problems, and you can use the situation to teach them about the importance of budgeting, the code of practice 9, and general saving alternatives. By being stubborn and proud, you’re just letting a fantastic teaching opportunity slip away from you.

Growing up in a family that needs to save money rather than spend it can actually be quite healthy for their future finances. It teaches them to understand the value of money and how important it is to have a backup fund in case something should happen, so keep teaching the right kind of values while picking yourself up.

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