Family Ties: How to Make Sure Your Money Worries Don’t Impact Your Children
It is an extremely fortunate couple that does not have financial strife at any point in their marriage. According to marriage counselors, money and debt problems continually fall into the top three reasons why couples divorce. It is unrealistic to believe that you and your spouse will never fight over money; everyone is raised with different values in regard to money and may have their own ideas on spending or saving that are not acceptable to the other partner. This is even more likely to be a conflict when money is tight, and for younger couples with children, money is often tight. Financial stress may be inevitable, but it is important to ensure that your money worries do not affect your children. Growing up is tough enough without having to worry about adult problems. There are a number of things you can do to keep your lack of finances secret from the kids.
Zip Your Lips Until After Bedtime
The budget can just as easily be done at 9 PM as it can right after dinner. By that time, little ears aren’t listening and are not privy to the information that you’re going to have trouble paying for both the heat and electricity this month. This is also the time to air your disagreements about money; just make sure you keep your voices calm and reasonable while you fight it out.
Saturday in the Park – Choose Inexpensive or Free Activities
The best things in life are free. What makes children smile most are Dad’s awesome airplane rides and baking cookies with Mom, not shopping at the mall for a new toy. In our race to give our children the perfect childhood, it is easy to forget that the best gift we can give them is our time. Make a point to spend family time together as often as possible. Sure, their friends may have seen the latest and greatest budget-breaking 3D movie, but your kids spent the afternoon playing freeze tag in the park with their parents and building lifelong memories.
Teach Your Children to Value What They Own
You do not have to reveal your financial situation to your children, but you can teach them to live within their means. In a consumer-driven society, it is a gift to your children to have them value and take care of the things they already own. It may break your heart not to get Susie the beautiful doll mansion or Bobby the new video game system, but it does not hurt them at all not to have it. An expensive present may bring a few moments of happiness, but a child who learns to value the small things will have a lifetime of happiness. Teach them the value of a homemade gift, and to take pride in developing a new skill in order to make a gift for another.
It is not difficult to keep your children innocent of the harsher truths of the world, including money troubles. They have their whole lives to deal with the stress of everyday life, so it is important to keep their childhood worry free. Let the upcoming math test, not the mortgage payment, be their biggest worry.