Parenting children of any age has its ups and downs, and part of the job is navigating various conflicts as children grow and mature. One of the most common conflicts is those related to money.
GoHenry analyzed the most common financial conflicts between kids and parents based on a study from LendingTree and further research. LendingTree and Qualtrics surveyed 1,051 parents of children under 18 in January 2022.
One in 4 parents who participated in this survey reported recently arguing about money with their child. However, money does not have to be an ongoing stressor in parent-child relationships. Parents can get ahead of potential conflict by starting to discuss finances with their kids at a young age. The earlier and more often these conversations arise, the more knowledgeable and prepared children will be for their financial futures. Kids want to have these conversations, too.
Half of the children in a 2021 survey by T. Rowe Price said they wanted their parents to talk to them about saving money, and 1 in 3 would like to discuss how to budget. Read on to learn about the most common conflicts parents and children have about finances and tips on turning these conflicts into learning opportunities.
#5. Parents didn’t give children money to do something they wanted
Children often ask their parents for money to go out and do things. As the old saying goes, money doesn’t grow on trees, so parents must say “no” sometimes. These situations can be opportunities to teach kids about money and financial responsibility.
Differentiating between wants and needs can be a powerful lesson. Children also learn by watching their parents, so modeling financial responsibility is a great way to encourage children to make positive choices with their own money.
Teaching budgeting skills will follow children well into adulthood while helping them save money to do something they want. When budgeting for special events, parents can use simple steps and strategies—even with young children: setting a goal, planning the amount that needs to be saved, encouraging progress, and celebrating when the savings goal is achieved.
#4. Child’s spending habits
Sometimes, the things children want to spend their money on—not to mention the cost of these items—are not aligned with parental expectations for intelligent spending. Parents can work to prevent arguments about their children’s spending habits by teaching money-saving strategies from a young age.
Help kids are specific about their savings goals. It is essential to set goals and break them down into smaller steps and establish where the money will be saved—a piggy bank, a savings account, or even a debit card for kids.
Just having a plan to save money isn’t enough. Kids should learn to track their spending as well. Parents can encourage this behavior by providing opportunities for children to earn their own money via allowances.
#3. Child’s allowance amount
Allowances are essential for parents to teach their kids how to manage their money and the value of working to earn that money. According to Investopedia, three in 4 parents pay an allowance to their children, and about 1 in 3 set this payment somewhere between $11 to $20 per week.
For example, some parents pay children based on age, while others assign a dollar amount to each chore or task the child completes. However, setting the allowance amount can lead to arguments between parents and their kids. One way to mitigate this is to start paying subsidies when children are as young as 5 or 6 years old. Establishing a precise amount in advance and explaining how this amount has been determined is another helpful strategy to avoid conflict.
#2. The child used credit card without permission
Nearly half of parents in the LendingTree survey said their child used their credit or debit card at least once without permission. With the average amount spent at $534, it’s no surprise this is one of the top financial conflicts between kids and parents.
While the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry acknowledges stealing as “normal” behavior in young children—who often take things they find interesting without understanding the repercussions—theft by older children can occur for many reasons that must be addressed appropriately. Older children may steal to show off or feel more accepted by their friends, to give gifts to others, and even as a way to seek attention or express anger toward their parents.
So how should parents approach their kids when they steal? Child and adolescent psychiatrists recommend clearly labeling the behavior as unacceptable but not lecturing or condemning the child for their actions. Ensuring the child returns or pays back what they have taken is a powerful and effective learning lesson.
Teaching kids about properly using credit cards can also build good habits, such as establishing a prepaid card or authorizing a child to use a credit card—with features activated to track their spending.
#1. Parent didn’t buy something the child wanted
Teaching children to regulate their emotions and respond appropriately when they don’t get their way is a common challenge for parents. Cleveland Clinic pediatrician Edward Gaydos recommends several strategies parents can use to help increase their children’s compliance and avoid unwanted behavioral issues.
Setting clear behavioral expectations and limits, then sticking to them, is crucial for kids. This includes being specific with those expectations and following through with discipline when needed. For example, A child should understand what behavior is expected in public at a store. If the child throws a tantrum when their parent will not buy them an item they want, the child should understand the consequence of this behavior, and the parent must then follow through with implementing that consequence.
It is also essential to remember that managing children’s behavior shouldn’t be focused on punishment. Positive reinforcement, such as praising a child when they engage in desired behaviors, can be very effective.
“I find that taking a picture of the item with my phone, or scanning it directly onto their Amazon Wish List helps them feel heard and saves a cool item that they found for their birthday or holidays,” says Monica Fish of Planner at Heart. “This approach has dramatically reduced in-store arguments with my kids, and they now know this is the routine when we’re in a store.”
This story originally appeared on GoHenry and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.
Featured Image Courtesy: Pexels.