Teaching Kids About Money

I recently had a visit with an office colleague who brought his wife and 6-week-old twin girls into work for a visit.  The girls have two older brothers (2 ½ and 4 years old), and the parents are experiencing a combination of exhaustion and euphoria.  They have much to do as they raise their four kids, and I found myself remembering the joys and fears of having my own young children.

With the enormity of their task in mind, and as I thought about the advice I give in this blog, I had to chuckle.  The twofold advice I give about teaching kids to manage money: (1) God is in charge, and (2) there are limits in life, really sum up all that Christian parents wish to impart to their kids about all of life…not just money.

“Mine!” starts early. Almost before you can believe that your darling infant is walking and talking, he or she begins to lay claim to every item they see. Acknowledging God’s ownership does not come naturally.  In the same way, a child’s urge to push the limits also begins with an emphatic “NO!” at a very early age.  Children do not easily embrace limits.  

What I’m saying here is this:  money is a parenting tool.  The lessons of money management are not distinct from other messages you want your kids to embrace.  Just as money is God’s tool in your life to train you to acknowledge His ownership and to train you in the wisdom of limits, money is a tool in your kids’ lives in exactly the same way, only YOU are the authority responsible for communicating the lessons to them in a way that they can understand and receive.

As you train your kids to acknowledge God’s ownership and to accept financial limits, consider the wisdom that you are imparting to them for the other areas of their life.  Money is a great parenting tool because it is so concrete and so tangible. Rarely in parenting is there an area that is so “manageable” as the area of money.  So many parents live in fear of tackling the topic of money management with their kids because they believe it is too complicated.  I’d like to encourage you that money is actually one of the most straightforward avenues through which you can teach your children two of life’s most important lessons:

1.    God is in charge. (He owns it all.)  

2.    Boundaries are healthy.  (Money is a limited resource.)

I hope that you will step into the process of teaching your kids about money with confidence.  Allow the lessons God has taught you about money management to permeate your communication with your children.  God will honor your commitment to train them, and He will give you encouragement and direction along the way.