Teaching children about money is a big issue in many houses, and definitely in my house. We all want to teach our children how to respect and use money to take care of themselves and others. It is hard, and the family’s financial situation always affects the lessons the children are learning. From British journalist Katharine Whitehorn comes this quote:
“The easiest way for your children to learn about money is for you not to have any.”
Growing up, I always thought that my family was very middle-class, possibly even lower middle-class, whatever that means to a child. In retrospect, we were relatively affluent – we lived on the water, had a fairly sizable boat, and we had a housekeeper who also watched me.For the most part, I am glad that I didn’t understand. I imagine I would have been an demanding child if I thought that we could afford things that I wanted. Because honestly, kids want stuff, and it isn’t great for them to get all the things that they want.
This quote provokes a lot of thoughts for me. Since my family is not in poverty, and I sometimes think my kids are spoiled, it is easy for me to say that they might be more respectful of money if we didn’t have any. However, I am sure that kids in poverty learn different negative lessons about money as a result of their family’s financial situation. And obviously, not all children react the same way to the same situation. There are obviously kids who come from completely wealthy families who grow up with a very good attitude, and children who come from less fortunate homes and still have a spoiled mindset. This certainly isn’t an exact formula.
As a financial educator, I obviously try to instill smart ideas into the minds of my kids. I do wonder how much it works, and how they will handle their money when they are adults. Because honestly, the way they handle their money as teens and pre-teens isn’t very encouraging.
So, what do you think? How does your family’s financial situation affect your children’s understanding of money? Have you seen any specific incidents where they have shown great understanding or completely cluelessness? It’s an interesting subject, isn’t it?
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