Should you discuss your financial struggles with your kids?

Let's say you are suffering from some kind of financial crunches. Perhaps your spouse has been laid off, or maybe you've a large amount of medical bills, or monthly mortgage pending. Whatever the situation might be, it's undoubtedly getting on your nerves. But you are not sure if you should share the information with your kids. If yes, how much should you share?

Should you just give some hint about your family's tumultus financial situation to your kids, or simply disclose the entire matter? Here are the most common arguments.

The Disadvantages

  1. Bafflement: It could just overwhelm your kids leaving with no clue as to what to do or how to react.
  2. Helplessness: This could put unnecessary strain and worry upon them, given that there is little they can do to take control of the situation.
  3. The sense of guilt: The current situation isn't their fault, yet they might take the blame upon themselves and feel guilty because of the expensive purchases you've made for them.
  4. Jumping to conclusions: They might feel that they too perhaps contributed to the situation in some ways and start worrying about the family losing everything.
  5. Grow up: Kids should be kids and behave similarly. They should not fall prey to the vulnerabilities of the real world.

The Advantages

  1. Understanding: If you disclose the family's poor financial condition to them, they won't nag for something that is expensive and unnecessary. They would know that money is limited, and any unacceptable demand can make the situation worse. Moreover, this knowledge would help them take better financial decisions in future.
  2. Reverse role modeling: If you discuss the family's poor financial situation with them, it would help them learn from your mistakes. Seeing the miserable stress you're under in, they'll think many times before taking any single financial steps in future.
  3. Applied finance: This would help them understand and learn how to apply financial lessons in real life.
  4. Jumping to conclusions: Kids are smarter than what we think of they are, and with time they are becoming more and more intelligent. Chances are there that your kids are already sensing that something is wrong going on within the family and they might even start supporting you morally, without knowing the situation.

The Verdict

If your financial difficulties are affecting your children, or they've started noticing something unusual within the household, it's time to pull them from the darkness and become honest with them. Don't give out too much, unwanted or technical details. Try to make them understand in their way. They are tender and innocent. So don't give out too much harsh details. Don't make them scared, rather try to extend hope and tell them that everything will be fine soon.

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