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I’ve been getting lots of questions lately from parents thinking about whether to give their kids an allowance, but I think the question is much bigger than this. The bottom line is, you don’t want your kids growing up and still depending on you for money (trust me on this), and in today’s world, money management is more complex than it has ever been.

Our culture promotes high levels of debt, and a recent study showed that the majority of young people entering universities didn’t know the difference between a debit card and a credit card.  There’s also a lot of talk these days about how young people feel entitled, and are entering the work force with low skills and high income expectations. Conscious parents are asking how to raise a child with a solid and healthy understanding of what it takes to earn money, manage it, and feel good about the process.

As an entrepreneur, and a person who is still learning about money myself, I have lots to say about this. Whether you choose to give your children allowance is less important than the context, conversation, and opportunities you create around money. There are a few main areas to think about, and we’ll cover them in the next four blog posts. We’ll talk about how to help your child establish healthy beliefs about money, develop strong money skills, learn ways to earn money, and, finally, address the question of kids and allowances directly.

First, let’s focus on the beliefs your children are absorbing about money, and how you can be intentional about introducing helpful beliefs instead of unhelpful ones.

Most importantly, remember that the beliefs YOU hold around money, and how you relate to it, will be passed on to your child. Your child will unconsciously identify and absorb and duplicate patterns in your behaviour – whether you are consciously aware of those patterns or not. We know that what we believe has a powerful effect on how we live, how we feel, and the reality that shows up in our lives – this applies to money, too.

So, ask yourself: Does money stress you out? Is money something that you get mad, worried, or fearful about? What are your beliefs about money (money is the root of all evil, rich people are bad, you don’t deserve money, earning enough money to live is exhausting, etc) and how have those beliefs served you? If you’re not happy with your own relationship with money, get some support in this area by reading books, finding a mentor, or working with a money coach who specializes in understanding and changing beliefs and patterns that don’t serve you.

Next, start to notice your behaviours around money and your child. Do you spend money thoughtlessly, on anything your child wants? They may end up believing that money is NOT valuable – easy come, easy go – and you may find them saying, if something gets broken or lost, “we’ll just buy another one.” Do you control the money, not allowing your child to keep or use money? They may end up believing that they are not responsible enough to handle money, or that they need to be financially taken care of.

Then notice the sentences that you repeat about money, and the context you put them in. Consider phrases you repeat and the beliefs you are actually wanting your child to absorb, and compare them. If they are in alignment, go with it. If not, consider creating a new phrase to substitute for the ones you use that don’t feel right to you. For example, “Money doesn’t grow on trees,” or “we can’t afford it” might become, “Let’s prioritize and plan ahead so that we spend the money we’ve earned on the things that are most important to us.”

Once you’ve identified the beliefs, behaviours and words about money that you are sharing with your child, you can carefully choose what you want to continue sharing, and what you don’t. Next, adjust in these three areas so that your beliefs, behaviours, and words for the messages about money that you WANT your child to absorb are in alignment with your intended messages.

Please share your thoughts, feedbacks, and experiences around money messaging below!

We’d love to hear from you.