Let's Talk Money

Yesterday, I had a talk with my daughter about money. She and I recently opened a bank account strictly for her to deposit checks that she earned from her part-time job. A few months after opening the account, my daughter overdrew her account. I could have gone into panic mode or yelled at her for not keeping close tabs on her spending, but I really wanted to use this as an opportunity to learn and grow. Most important to me, was helping her to have compassion and to hold herself in high regard, despite the fact that she had made these mistakes. I wanted her to see that she could learn from this experience. Shame and blame had no place in this conversation and no place in our relationship, for that matter. I am very proud of the way that I handled the situation. I calmly gathered information about the overdrafts, and showed her the facts on paper. I asked how she wanted to rectify the problem. My daughter was extremely appreciative of the way that I approached her, especially since I did not yell at her or expand feelings of guilt and disappointment. I encourage parents to breathe before addressing problems. Sometimes that bit of space that staves off reactions can connect us to a greater intention that we want to express.

Talking with our teens about money matters is very important. If we want them to be responsible with their money, and to develop a healthy relationship with money, then it is incumbent upon us to teach them that their worth has nothing to do with money, and everything to do with the fact that they are living, breathing human beings. Notwithstanding the fact that financial wealth opens doors, it does not define a person. Our teens are at the point of understanding their value and the value of others. Is a person more valuable if they have money? Are those who have less, worth less? Teens, and adults alike, feel pressure to consume and to emulate others. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements and messages that we are not enough, and that we can be more if we only owned (fill in the blank). I am calling for a different set of values: values of generosity and self-love. As parents, we primarily teach by example. And, when we demonstrate good relationships with money, our teens learn that they are more than how much money they have or don't have. Instead of seeing money as connected to their worth, they can see that money is an instrument of giving and receiving. I wish you well as you talk with your teen about money and other important matters.

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