Money is one of those subjects that people feel very strongly about regardless of their background or personal history. We spend most of our lives trying to make money so that we can live; conversely, making money takes up most of the time we have for living. Wars are fought over money and relationships destroyed. Money is a necessary part of our lives; however, something that can cause terrible stress and pain. While we like to say that money is not the most important thing in life, we know that it is indeed very important.
While money isn’t everything, ignoring its importance will not make problems with it go away. You will also most likely pass your approach to money will probably be passed on to your children. They will absorb, whether consciously or not, the way that you feel to money. Few of us realize that we are constantly conveying messages to our children about money. If you are concerned about influencing your child’s attitudes toward money consider altering your own.
Here are a few ideas about how to convey positive attitudes toward money to your children:
1. Are you constantly stressed out over money? You are not alone. Many people worry constantly about their next paycheck or how they will pay their bills. Children feel many of the same emotions as their parents. You might not notice it, but your kids are probably nervous about money just as you are. If you cannot find positive ways to deal with stress over money you will pass your attitude on to the next generation.
2. Do you fight with your spouse about money? You might not realize it but you are teaching your children that it is not only ok but, in fact, the norm, to do the same. You are essentially saying to them that money is more important than a lasting relationship. Refrain from fighting about money in front of your kids unless you plan on hearing about the same experiences from them.
3. Think seriously about how you save and account for your money. Are you a good saver? Do you tend to spend money quickly without thinking? There is little doubt that your children will acquire the same habits. They will look forward to your next paycheck because they know that it means getting new stuff and eating out. If you don’t provide a good example of restraint and discipline, your young children, who naturally have less restraint, will certainly develop none. If you are disciplined with your money and save a bit every month you will not only have enough money to send your children to college–you will also have proven that saving is a significant habit. Write down all of your expenses and keep a careful budget. Keep a meticulous record in your checkbook. With the convenience of online banking many of us assume that our records are both safe and accurate. However, as many of us will find, online banking is not completely accurate. Keeping a careful record of your money helps to teach your children the same responsibility and organizational skills.
By changing your money habits you will send a different, more positive message to your children. If you don’t practice what you preach there is little chance that your children will somehow practice good habits when it comes to money. Kids are fantastic at finding hypocrisy and confronting their parents with it. Look at your habits, change the bad ones and then teach your children about money.