Don’t avoid creditors
Let’s face it; owing money is tough, but owing money to multiple creditors is a lot tougher. It’s understandable that the first response is to stick your head in the sand and hope for the best, but for many parents with teenagers, this means that answering those dreaded phone calls becomes their responsibility.
It’s good to give your children a bit of responsibility early on, but it needs to be in the right areas. Being in charge of buying groceries from time to time is always great, and the same goes for cooking dinner once in a while. Answering phone calls and making up lies for their parents about why they can’t come to the phone right now should not be one of them.
Many families experience the same thing after going through a divorce, as one parent may refuse to talk to the other about their finances. It may become a problem even in an uncontested divorce where money matters seem straightforward, so make sure the two of you deal with the problems on your own.
Own up to your mistakes
Those who claim that coming from a low-income family helped them manage their finances better, know that the art of budgeting and living within their means played a big role. It could easily have gone the other way around too if their parents kept blaming it on other people or circumstances - instead of owning up to their mistakes and making an effort to dig themselves out of debt.
When you talk about the difficulties you’re going through currently, try to keep the conversations constructive. If you need to save money in order to pay back debt, say it as it as and don’t add that the economy is rubbish lately or that you’re in this situation because of someone else.
It only teaches your children that when they run into difficulties in life, it’s easy to avoid responsibility and just blame it on someone else. That way, we don’t have to change our behavior, right?
Have a plan and stick to it
To teach your kids anything at all about money, you need to be honest with them. The experts are clear about this; talk about finances, admit to having trouble, and make a plan on how to improve. It’s the difference between mindless complaining and actually doing something about it.
Show your children how they can help around the house in order to save money, involve them during the grocery trip, and make a competition out of who can save up enough by the end of the year. Money doesn’t have to be serious all the time, and by letting them get familiar with finance terms and budgeting early on, they’ll be in a better position to understand the idea when it actually gets serious.
When you realize how you may have been able to avoid the situation you’re currently in, it becomes so much easier to teach it to your children.
Make money matters a part of your everyday
Those who have been able to dig themselves out of the debt disaster know very well that somewhere along the line, they should have been better prepared. We can’t always predict what the future is going to look like and, if this is what got you in this situation, you should pass this knowledge onto your kids.
Think about what you would have liked to know about personal finances by the time you were a teenager, and make an honest attempt at treating your kids to this knowledge. It might mean that you should buy one of these great books on finances for young adults, or maybe that you treat your younger children to a game of Monopoly once in a while.
By playing games that involves budgeting, talking about the finances of the household, and giving your teenagers some responsibility without burdening them, they’ll be in a much better position to stay out of debt.
It’s the best way to raise responsible and money-savvy people, really, and your finances will take a turn for the better as well