Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash
Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Talking Finances with The Kids

Question

Due to a job loss and other factors we’re faced with some significant financial challenges and we’re going to have to make some major changes in our standard of living.  How can we talk to our kids about our financial situation?

Answer

God’s word has a lot to say about money, but unfortunately this is one topic that few parents discuss with their kids.  Most parents don’t know where to start, what to say or what not to say, so we just say nothing . . .until there is a problem.

You do need to talk with your kids, but the first step is for the two of you to thoroughly discuss where you are, how you got there, what you have to do to move ahead.

These discussions should include your prayerfully considering your options so that when you talk with your kids they’ll know that mom and dad are on the same page.  That will increase their comfort and sense of security as you share the difficult news.

If you merely need to cut back on some expenses let them know that.  Perhaps you can no longer afford private music lessons or the costs of being on several sports teams. If there is some way they can play a part in deciding what spending changes to make then that’s all the better.

However, if things are more serious and the changes more drastic then you must resist the urge to “protect” them from the severity of the situation and how it might impact the family.  Don’t share too much information, but also don’t minimize the problem.  Let them know what the problem is, how it will impact the family, how it might specifically impact them and what some of the options are.

If you’ve made some mistakes in your financial management let them know what they were so that everyone can learn from them.  If you were the victim of things beyond your control let them see how your faith in Christ and the promises of God’s word is making a difference in how you deal with difficult times.

How might Romans 8:28 apply to this situation?  How might God be able to use this crisis to bring your family closer together and help them better understand the importance of saving, budgeting, tithing, dealing with debt, handling credit and making wise spending choices?

With God’s help you can respond, rather than react, to this situation and turn it into a growth opportunity.

Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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