Many of the ideas we talk about in First Comes Love, Then Comes Money can be applied to conversations with your children as well. Honesty, respect, compromise—they are all essential as you talk to your kids about the changing economy and what it means to your family.
Kids are pretty perceptive and they will notice when the stress of these financial times starts to creep into your family. So don’t try to hide the truth from them. Instead, talk to them about what’s happening in calm, honest ways. Let them know what kind of changes they might notice—going out to eat less frequently, shopping less often, a more modest birthday party, etc.
So do your best to stay positive. One of the fringe benefits of having strong financial communication is that you can honestly tell your children that you are making plans and working hard to protect your family. Use simple terms and avoid creating drama or stirring up fear. Even if you’re facing serious financial challenges, let your children know that they will be cared for, no matter what.
Let your children see you talking about money in healthy ways. This is a chance for you to model good financial communication to your children—something that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
It also helps to know your children’s money personalities. While they are not fully formed in when children are young, you can probably see hints of how your children think about money—one keeps all her pennies safe in her piggy bank, another can’t wait to spend her birthday money.
Finally, invite your children to help you set family financial goals. If you need to cut your spending, ask for their ideas on how you can do that. Show them how their ideas are helping your family stay on track financially.