Family money woes a burden on the kids

Children as young as eight stressed by parents' worry about finance, new study warns

Parents who fail to manage their family's financial discussions at home could be putting their children at risk of anxiety and even long-term financial problems themselves, experts suggest, as a new report finds that children as young as eight worry about money, and 29 per cent of youngsters lend their own parents cash.

With 88 per cent of children believing their parents are concerned about money and almost 60 per cent subsequently taking on those fears themselves, parents are being urged to consider carefully how they talk to children as young as seven about family finances.

One in five children aged between eight and 15 said they think their parents worry about money "all the time", according to a study of 1,132 young people around the UK for Halifax.

Children in London (64 per cent) are the most likely to worry about money, followed by those in the East Midlands, South East and South West (all 62 per cent). Children aged eight to 15 in the West Midlands (49 per cent) and Yorkshire and Humberside (50 per cent) are the least likely to worry about money,

"Parents often don't realise how aware their children are, even young children," says Dr Thalia Eley of the Institute of Psychology at King's College, London. "And while anxiety is a complicated problem that often arises from a number of issues, family money worries could be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

"Most children have worried about things by the time they are eight, and if their parents are worried about something, it will worry them. They may behave differently, becoming more withdrawn or irritable and younger children may become clingy."

"Where there are major financial concerns, parents should really avoid discussing them with their children, especially younger ones. The lines between adults and children are blurred as children grow up very quickly now Even biological factors and the age that school testing begins support this and there is a general pattern of the pressure on children being greater at younger ages.

"When it comes to money worries, it's important to protect them and remember that they are less well-equipped than adults to deal with and identify how severe those problems might be."

However, for general day to day living, say if a family needs to budget carefully or cut down on extras, these things will be obvious to a child and parents should work to discuss what strategies will be put in place to manage the circumstances rather than offer bland reassurances, she says.

"Provide children with coping strategies rather than avoiding the subject all together. Parents must clarify that these things aren't the end of the world and put them into context, giving children in particular, a realistic but not too scary an idea of the situation," Eley adds.

With almost 30 per cent of children admitting to lending their parents and 17 per cent to borrowing from friends, parents and grandparents, difficulty managing money could have a knock-on effect on children's futures.

The family home is a child's primary learning environment, so if there are no tools or strategies to manage money or to improve financial difficulty, there is the risk that those tendencies will be passed on, adds Eley. "With society facing long-term problems, there seems to be a strong case for better financial education in primary and secondary schools."

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
tech
Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

    £320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Head of Audit

    To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

    Audit Manager Central Functions

    To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...

    Credit Risk Audit Manager

    Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week