27 Feb 2020
My wife and I recently started running into some financial problems, and we are thinking of reducing our son's pocket money (he is 12). My question is, do we explain the financial situation to him?
Is he too young to learn about all these?
To be honest, if you feel that cutting his allowance will cut you some slack, you are probably:
giving him too much in the first place; or
if you already are giving him lower than average, it's probably just enough money for recess and could affect his growth in this crucial period of his life
Whether it's 1 or 2, he's probably too young to understand the true value of money, especially if he's spending everything you give him. He may not be able to empathise with you both with regards to the situation, and cause greater distress within the family. And if he does, it may cause developmental hindrance especially in matters related to money, which I have experienced before.
You are currently at a very tricky crossroad -
You can either suffer in silence and let your child come to some realisation (hopefully never and lead a blissful and ignorant childhood till he's old enough to realiseand thank you for all you've done for him) or hope for his understanding by telling him early through reducing his allowance and risk developmental issues.
For either way you as parents will have the shorter end of the stick, and this is one of the challenges of parenthood you will have to face.
So you have to make a difficult choice, bearing in mind for one's release from suffering, someone else has to pick up the pieces, whether it be you (the parents) or him (the child).
I think it is fine to just give a broad, vague hint, without making it seem like there are even financial problems. Probably something along the lines of managing money better. But not to tell him about the true nature of the problem.
Reason: I don't think it is good for a kid's developing psyche to inform him of the full extent of your problems as it will erode his self-confidence and feeling of security, which will follow him into adulthood. As much as we wish that our children learn not to derive self-confidence from having money, we cannot deny that it does affect confidence. I think I saw an article once about how it affects children into adulthood, causes them to present themselves differently and make different decisions. So im not saying don't tell him so as to spare his feelings, but rather don't tell him so that his mental development will not be adversely affected in the long run.
If he persists in asking, just tell him you both recently did a review of your finances and felt that the family as a whole could afford to cut back on expenses generally, in order to prepare for the future or any emergencies.
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I feel its good to let the kid understand a bit. Make it simple like, family got not much money. Nee...
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