I feel as though I have started late in life with attempting to share a healthy relationship with money with my daughters. I never truly began my own journey to my money story until my marriage was ending. In the early years (okay, including the present moment as well), I have made parenting mistakes that I wish I could reverse. I would like a few do-overs.
I often reminisce back to when my daughters were young. Maybe I shouldn’t have let them cry it out as one-year-olds. What if I had nursed them longer, would they have no allergies today? “I should have, I could have” plays out in every woman’s head. All the love in the world isn’t going to shelter us from making mistakes. The challenge that comes from this is being able to embrace our humanity and not punish ourselves. We all need self-compassion and self-love.
The same is true with our relationship with money because how you feel about yourself will affect how you handle money. Also, how you handle money will affect your children. This is a cycle that can become positive. By creating a thriving, abundant, healthy attitude with your own money, you can then pass on that same healthy attitude to your children. Like a sponge, they will soak up the attitudes and beliefs around them, even when you think they are too young to understand. Creating a positive money message will last a lifetime.
Teaching our children about money is more than a conversation. It is making a commitment to recognizing our own personal money stories. As a parent, we can define what money means to each of us and then decide what values and beliefs we want our children to grow up with. However, our words and wants need to align with our actions. When they don’t match, our children will notice.
3 tips to Creating a Positive Money Message
- Get your own finances in order so that you can show your children by example that you are thinking of the future and making conscientious decisions for the family. Be a financial leader.
- Teach early. Our children are never too young to learn healthy habits. Even toddlers can pick up on our attitudes and actions.
- Communicate in a positive manner about money. For example, if bills come in the mail, it is easy to throw a few choice, negative words around and make a comment about not having enough money to pay all the bills. You might be venting, but a child might think you literally mean you have no money. Worry and fear could become associated with common bills.
What are your children learning from you?
Read more in my new book, The Heart of Your Money. It is my coming-of-age story with tips and exercises to help women find their own financial independence.