As a parent, you know there will come a time when you will need to give your child the money-talk, amongst other things. While it is imperative to empower your child with financial skills at an early stage, not all financial information you give them will help mould their future.
Some information may corrupt their thinking and even change how they look up to you as a parent and the society as a whole.
Here are some of the things you should avoid telling your children about money:
1. Which parent makes more money: When a child knows which parent earns more money, they tend to feel, and grow thinking, that one parent does more than the other in the house.
This sends the wrong message that you as parents are divided. If you are a united front, why tell them about your different salaries in the first place? Teach them that all jobs matter and each contribution is equally important.
Also, as much as you would want and love your children to learn about budgeting and saving at an early stage, talking about your salary should not be a priority not unless they ask. This doesn’t mean you lie to them or give the exact figure, you can give them some context or range to satisfy their curiosity.
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2. How much their gifts cost: Sometimes you can go the extra mile and buy your child an expensive gift to express your love, which is a good thing because children need to be appreciated once in a while. However, when you constantly talk about the price of the gift and how careful they should be with it, your child might lose the joys and anticipation of receiving gifts from you because of all the conditions that come with receiving a gift from you.
Remember that money should never reflect the value of a gift. Your children will grow and learn the difference between cheap and expensive. Furthermore, their demands will change too and they will begin to gauge your gifts with price tags, probably then you might not be able to afford these gifts.
3. Openly worrying about paying expenses: Yes, children can understand and see that things might be hard and you are struggling to make ends meet, but you should never tell them how you worry about being unable to carter for their expenses like school fees and other basic expenses.
For starters, children are very sensitive when you constantly rant about money in their presence they will start to feel like a burden.
Airing your worries about the future to your children will stress them out and they will start feeling unloved and unwanted This might also lead them to start finding alternative ways of getting money, sometimes illegally especially when they are teenagers.
Have purposeful conversations and don’t radiate anxiety or make blanket promises you cannot keep.
4. Openly showing ignorance about money: It might be true that you are bad with money and that you spend way more than you should on luxuries, but this shouldn’t be a reason for you to pass it on to your children.
When you flippantly declare and demonstrate how poor you are at handling finances, children grow up believing being irresponsible is normal and that they can emulate this habit.
Instead, teach your children about budgeting, saving and having their priorities right. If you can’t be a good example to them, at least ensure they are well informed on how to be financially incisive adults themselves.
5. Lying about money: This is another thing parents do that sets a bad example to their children. Don’t use your child to cover up lies on the things you buy or using them to fleece money from your spouse.
It might work for you, but for your child you are instilling a lying culture in them that will grow on them. When they are older, they will believe lying which equals conning people of money is acceptable and normal.
Also keep in mind that when you nurture this kind of behaviour, someday you will definitely end up being a victim of these lies, not just about money but also about their grades and the kind of company they keep.
If you must lie about something, do it on your own without making your child your accomplice or alibi.
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