How To Manage Tricky Financial Issues In The Home

Oct 20, 2022 | Parenting

For many parents, finances are tight. This is especially true in our current economic climate, with high inflation and fears of a recession. It is understandable if you are concerned about making ends meet. It may even be a source of tension between you and your partner.

Parenting in this context can be tricky. You want to be able to get your kids everything they need. You also don’t want them to have to carry the same stress about finances that you do.

How do you manage dealing with tricky financial issues in the home? Here are some important tips to take into account.

Be Prepared For Anything

Something we need to take into account in terms of finances as parents is that anything could happen to us. Even those parents who are very secure in terms of income can be diagnosed with a critical illness or be a victim in an accident.

This is why it is so important to have plans in place to take care of our families when we die. All parents should consider life insurance – whether whole life insurance or term life insurance – and should have a written will. Also consider having a plan in place in case you become incapacitated due to illness or disability and can no longer work.

Carry The Burden Between You

It is important that our kids are not kept in the dark about what is going on in our lives, especially if it concerns them. Chances are that if you are experiencing financial difficulties, they will know whether you tell them or not. It is tough to pretend you’re making ends meet when you can’t buy them new clothing or take them on outings.

However, while you should speak to them about your financial problems, you should always carry the burden between you and your partner. Financial issues can cause a lot of anxiety, even among adults. But as an adult, you have a good understanding of how the world works and of what you can do to make it through this tough time. You can manage your anxiety to a degree.

Your kids, on the other hand, can do absolutely nothing about your financial issues. Their anxiety can cause them a lot of suffering, as they worry about things they don’t really understand. The worst case scenarios they envision are probably worse than what could actually occur.

As such, try not to manifest your tension around them. Give them some insight into what you’re going through, letting them know you feel anxious. But tell them that you are working on solutions, giving them an idea of how those solutions look. Definitely do not fight over finances in their vicinity.

Never Blame Them

As a parent struggling with finances, it can be easy to lose your temper, especially when one of your children does something that causes your financial situation to get worse. This may be spending more on your credit card than they are supposed to, using a lot of airtime and data on their phone contracts, or breaking something expensive that you need to urgently replace.

In some cases, it may be necessary to discipline them for breaking the rules. However, you should avoid placing any of the blame for your financial situation on them. They did something that they were not supposed to do and it cost you money – that can be the reason that they are getting in trouble. They should not, however, feel like they have caused your already-existing financial issues.

This is because the messaging they receive goes beyond your current struggles. They start to feel like they are burdens and that they should lessen themselves to make your life easier. It is tough for kids to moderate their emotions with the rationale that may seem obvious to you. The guilt and shame they feel are much more real to them.

Managing tricky financial issues in the home requires a careful balance. It is difficult to get this right, especially when you are struggling to manage your own emotions in regard to the issue. However, it is crucial that you carry the burden, ensure they feel loved and nurtured, and give them the space they need to be kids.

References & Sources

[1] Waters, L.E., Loton, D. & Jach, H.K. Does Strength-Based Parenting Predict Academic Achievement? The Mediating Effects of Perseverance and Engagement. J Happiness Stud 20, 1121–1140 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-018-9983-1

[2] Waters, L.E., Loton, D. & Jach, H.K. Does Strength-Based Parenting Predict Academic Achievement? The Mediating Effects of Perseverance and Engagement. J Happiness Stud 20, 1121–1140 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-018-9983-1

[3] Waters, L. The Relationship between Strength-Based Parenting with Children’s Stress Levels and Strength-Based Coping Approaches. Psychology, 6, 689-699 (2015).  doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.66067.

[4] Jach, H.K., Sun, J., Loton, D. et al. Strengths and Subjective Wellbeing in Adolescence: Strength-Based Parenting and the Moderating Effect of Mindset. J Happiness Stud 19, 567–586 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-016-9841-y

[5] Zavala, C., Waters, L. Coming Out as LGBTQ +: The Role Strength-Based Parenting on Posttraumatic Stress and Posttraumatic Growth. J Happiness Stud 22, 1359–1383 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-020-00276-y

[6] Waters, L. How To Be A Strength-Based Parent. Greater Good Magazine. October 2, 2018. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_be_a_strength_based_parent

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