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 They may behave differently, becoming more withdrawn or irritable and younger children may become clingy."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; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

    £45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

    Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

    £45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

    Laura Norton: Project Accountant

    £50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine