I'm a single mom to an adorable almost 4-year-old daughter, Ember. I was in a rush trying to get us out the door one morning and was trying to get Ember’s hair styled for the day. I quickly threw her hair up in a ponytail and was moving onto the next task of the busy morning. She said “G*d damnit mommy, I didn’t want a pony today. I wanted braids.” Yikes.
My first thought (honestly) was “G*d damnit where did she learn that”. Obviously, me. I thought I had been saying it under my breath this whole time. I stopped what I was doing and told her that we don’t use that word and apologized for saying it around her. Neither of us have been perfect since that day, and occasionally have to remind each other not to use swear words.
That moment scared me, not because of the word itself. What else was she picking up on? She’s old enough to be asking for more things and watching how I exchange money for a fun activity or new toy. Our kids are noticing things earlier than we think.
If we are telling our kids any of these things, we’re forming their future relationship with money:
We don’t get paid until Friday, so we can’t go to the toy store until then.
The trampoline park is too expensive, we don’t have money for that.
Mommy got a big bonus, so we get to spend it all!
I do think appropriate transparency helps provide children with realistic money management expectations. However, giving money that sort of power makes our children believe our happiness is tied to that payday.
Here’s some other ways to reframe those statements:
We have our budget set until we get paid on Friday. Would you like to set aside some of your piggy bank money to go to the store or wait until Friday?
The trampoline park is a fun activity, but we need to save $10 each week so we can go at the end of the month. Let’s find a free activity until we can go.
Mommy got some extra money, and we get to have fun with some of it. But since we don’t always have extra money, some of it will go into savings.
When you take charge of your finances, you’re becoming a role model for your children. They WILL see changes in how you act and speak, and start to model that behavior. An investment in your finances will not only improve your current situation, but will be passed down for generations to come.
P.s. Did you know I offer a free 30 minute consultation to see if coaching would be a good fit? I’d love to get to know you and see what I can help you with.