At what age is it right to start talking openly about money with your children? And the classic pocket money: is it a wise choice before adolescence? How to teach your children who are not yet of age a healthy and balanced management of savings? Talking openly about money in the family can be complicated for many parents, who often do not know when and how to introduce the topic. We wanted to address the topic with Stefania Andreoli, psychotherapist and developmental expert.
A comparison, the one with the therapist, also inspired by recent data fromFlowe Young Generations Observatory who analyzed the relationship with money and technology of children and the role that parents and families play in teaching children how to manage these tools.
The research, conducted by Astra Research, has in fact highlighted how children begin to use device technology on average around 7-8 years, even for online purchases, via credit or debit cards. Not only that: access to e-commerce is widespread in 38.5% of cases, with greater frequency with increasing age (ranging from 21% for the 7-9 year old group to 76% for 16-18 year olds ). Finally, the survey analyzed the ways in which purchases are made: by children, in total autonomy, for 33.5% of the interviewees; with the support of parents, in the choice and even more in the payment phase, for the remaining 66.5%.
Result: 92% of parents now consider it essential to prepare their children for purchases, including digital ones, from an early age.
“In terms of education in money management, being ready is better: waiting for adolescence to think about setting up a speech about it would see us arrive a little late”, explains the psychotherapist. “The value of the exchange currency is very precocious in children: at 6 they already have the question of money perfectly in mind, especially after the pandemic months from which we arrive”.
“What my colleagues and I, along with the same parents, are observing is that in recent times children are particularly sensitive to the issue of money and also talk about it much more often than we have ever heard them do”.
And in this, therefore, the pandemic has had an influence. How?
“I think it’s due to the fact that in the last two years the children have often heard us talk about lost or retained jobs, worries about pay cuts, layoffs, with comments such as:” Fortunately we didn’t have any problems with Covid, think about those who have lost a job! “. They also felt these things because in the last two years, at home, we were all there and the filter was much more difficult to apply ».
The pandemic life, in practice, has strengthened an attitude and curiosity already present in the little ones …
“Exactly. An example above all are the “barters” that Primary School children carry out using pencil points, buttons and other substitutes for money. Playing trade is a symbolic game as old as the world and in an absolutely germinal way a child has it in his head. In addition, the historical moment often led them to hear us talk about money and to realize that there was also an emotional climate a little more worried in the air. All this has made this money business more than ever in their heads, today more than ever before ».
How should parents behave in this regard?
“A parent” on the spot “with respect to this topic, knows that somehow postponing the money issue until the child is older would be an own goal: it’s an excuse, one of the excuses that parents give themselves when they think:” No, now it’s small “” it’s still too early to talk about it “, etc. For my experience, this attitude hides an embarrassment, a difficulty in starting the question, while I believe that being able to accompany a child little by little until he finally receives his pocket money – which represents the before and after with respect to this topic – can mean leading him by the hand, demonstrating that the topic is not taboo in the family. Because for many parents talking about money is as taboo as talking about sex or politics, a topic that somehow provokes reactions ».
Why, what feelings can the topic of money generate?
«It is a symbol and 10 euros are not actually 10 euros, or rather, they are not just that. Behind what they are to me is hidden, how I earned them, what financial history I come from, if I took a leap from my family of origin, how I was educated with respect to this, so there is a lot of status symbol behind it , a lot of value and all this makes the topic very untrue for parents “.
When, then, is the right time to strike up a conversation with your children?
“I find it a good indication to give the beginning of lower secondary school as a margin line, then for some families it will be a little later, for someone it could be a little earlier, then it depends, case by case, on how that particular nucleus works familiar. However, the beginning of middle school really marks an evolutionary step: you are no longer a child but you become a little boy, there is more autonomy, maybe in schools there are machines where you can buy a snack and having pocket money can be the first important step in this sense. And not only that: this small autonomy favors the first outings with friends at this age ».
What are the aspects to take into consideration?
«The amount and what that amount we have established must always be specified, with the granting of some additions for an extra expense to be made independently if you receive an invitation. The most important aspect, therefore, is that it helps the process of independence “.