“Mom, how much money is in your bank account?” This was the question my son chose to spring on me the other night during the chaos of cleaning up dinner. I hesitated a bit, partly because I wasn’t sure of the exact amount and partly because I wasn’t sure how much to share with my son. I did finally tell him an approximate amount of money, and then we talked a little bit about how it might sound like a large number, but that we had quite a few bills to pay and how much they were in relation to the amount of money currently in my bank account. After listening to me for a minute, he launched into a detailed explanation of his savings and expenditures of tokens in an online game that he has been playing lately, then ran off to take a shower.
As I finished cleaning the kitchen and thought more about our conversation, I realized that I haven’t talked to my kids much about money. I don’t know what their thoughts and attitudes are about it; other than a few random conversations about our budget and sporadic FHE lessons about tithing, the topic doesn’t come up much in our house. I do know, however, that even if we aren’t talking about, they are still forming attitudes and beliefs about money from the things they see and hear around them. A few years ago I read a book about budgeting that focused on the psychological issues surrounding money—the premise of the book was that no budgeting system will ever fix your money issues until you figure out and solve the particular money beliefs that are driving your behavior. Until I read that book, I thought I was doing pretty well when it came to money management, but I was able to discover some unpleasant truths about myself and the way I handle money (like being scared to talk to my children about it, for example).