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 They may behave differently, becoming more withdrawn or irritable and younger children may become clingy."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 VouchedFor.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

    £16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

    SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

    Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones