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Fighting Over Money in Front of Kids

February 7, 2022

We totally understand, finances are stressful and a highly controversial topic.  They can cause a lot of strain on a relationship and conversations about money can be very hard to navigate. Maybe you want to be saving for a house while your partner wants to be saving for a second car.  Maybe you want to pay off your debt while your spouse wants to invest in cryptocurrencies.  Or maybe the two of you can’t agree on a budget. Disagreements happen in marriages- especially when it comes to finances.

Now, what matters in this situation is how you handle those disagreements, and are you having these conversations in front of your kids. Is there a chance you may turn into a red-faced rage monster during this discussion? If so, it may be a good idea to step away and have a discussion with your partner in private. It’ll give the two of you a chance to calm down and prevent your child from developing negative ideas about money.

Studies have shown that children whose parents fight over money in front of them have issues with money later in their life. Why? Because they develop a belief that money is the root cause of issues in their family. It makes sense. I mean, who would want to have anything to do with money after watching it cause so much tension in their household?  Some kids may even grow anxious or feel guilt for costing their parents’ money.  They may not understand their family’s finances, and feel stressed that they’re a “waste” of money.  It can be very confusing for a child.

This doesn’t mean you can never disagree about money in front of your kids, though! Our children are truly like little sponges. Each and every one of our actions get sucked right into their memory bank, giving them ideas about how to approach the world around them. 

If you and your partner are able to come to a compromise peacefully, you would actually be helping your little sponge soak up some truly valuable information by having the family finances discussion with them in the room. As they watch their parents teach each other, learn from one another, come to a compromise, and solve their financial discussions as a familial unit, they will be able to take yet another step toward becoming true money masters.

Additionally, it’s great to take some time and teach your kids about budgeting.  Perhaps you can let them know why you’re feeling stressed lately.  Keep it age-appropriate, of course, but you can explain to your kids that there are many expenses that you all need to pay for.  This may help your children understand why you can’t go out to dinner every night of the week, you can’t buy lots of toys from the gift shops, and you need to limit the number of trips you go on.  The more you can help your children understand the realities of finances in the world, the smarter they’ll be in the future when it is their turn to manage money.

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