Tough Money Questions From Your Kids

Tough Money Questions From Your Kids

Navigating the terrain of challenging money queries from your children can often feel confronting and awkward. Drawing insights from interviews with Australian parents, guardians, and caregivers, we’ve identified common money topics they tend to sidestep. Below are some strategies to transform these tough questions into valuable teaching moments.

Tough Money Questions From Your Kids

Parenthood often calls for tapping into reserves of patience and creativity. You become adept at fielding a barrage of inquiries, sometimes resorting to crafting imaginative narratives – like the superhero vision-enhancing powers of carrots (naturally).

Yet, what about those instances where the answer truly matters, and you find yourself at a loss? Perhaps you lack the knowledge to respond adequately or struggle with conveying complex concepts in a child-friendly manner. Or maybe you’re hesitant to broach the subject altogether? Welcome to the realm of awkward money conversations.

Many money-related queries demand a deep understanding of the topic, necessitating deconstruction and reframing to suit your child’s comprehension level. Moreover, it’s crucial to safeguard their sense of security by delicately packaging your responses and ensuring they remain impervious to inadvertent dissemination on the playground.

Two thousand Australian parents, guardians, and caregivers of children aged 8-17 were interviewed. This revealed the top money topics they tend to avoid discussing.

Instant gratification

Navigating through the supermarket aisles, with chocolate tempting from one side and chips beckoning from the other, and a hungry child in tow, the challenge arises: how to handle the plea for instant gratification when faced with the allure of a Kinder Surprise?

In this scenario, the practice of teaching delayed gratification proves more daunting than the theory suggests. Our suggestion? Instill in your child the concept that a “no” today leads to a far more rewarding “yes” tomorrow. Collaborate with your child to identify a worthwhile goal to save towards (tomorrow’s “yes”). Then, your role becomes that of a supportive guide, gently steering them away from immediate desires towards long-term rewards.

For instance, gently remind your child, “If you spend $4 on this Kinder today, you’ll delay getting that $20 Lego set you’ve been eagerly saving for. What makes having the Kinder surprise now more appealing?”

Engage with their responses by asking probing questions. And if they propose the idea of you sponsoring the chocolate, gently remind them that, just like them, you have your own savings goals.

Discipline is a skill that requires nurturing. By providing your child with a tangible goal to strive for, you can emphasize the satisfaction of achieving it. For those who are inclined, consider experimenting with the marshmallow test as an additional learning tool.

Why certain things are beyond your financial means

Picture this: it’s dinner time, and your child eagerly asks if your family can visit Italy during the upcoming school holidays, which are only three weeks away. Knowing that such a trip isn’t feasible at this time, you’re faced with the challenge of how to respond when your child privately inquires, “Do we not have enough money?”

This question is delicate, as your response plays a significant role in shaping your child’s social identity and their relationship with money for years to come.

So, what’s the best approach? Consider reframing the concept of “not being able to afford” as “choosing not to spend.”

Seize this opportunity to delve into the decision-making process behind your family’s spending habits. For instance, explain that while you’re not opting for Italy this month, it’s because you’re prioritizing saving for a future trip to visit their grandparents or supporting local Australian businesses and rural communities instead of international travel.

Engage your child in discussions about what values and passions are important to them, and brainstorm examples of how they can align their spending with those values.

This moment presents a valuable chance to nurture your child’s understanding of financial decisions and encourage thoughtful consideration of how they allocate resources in line with their beliefs and interests.

The value of money

Fostering an appreciation for the value of money without instilling life-long spending guilt is a delicate balance. As your child progresses through life, their perception and valuation of money will naturally evolve. Nevertheless, there are several strategies to cultivate fundamental appreciation and comprehension.

Initially, provide your young one with various perspectives on money by metaphorically stepping into different pairs of shoes. Consider how individuals who grew up with ample financial resources might value money differently from those who did not. Similarly, ponder the disparities in how individuals with varying income levels perceive money.

Additionally, broaden your child’s understanding by exploring what a dollar can procure globally. Highlight the diverse perspectives and valuations of money held by different people and communities. While a dollar may suffice for a canteen snack for your child, for someone else, it could represent an entire day’s earnings. Encourage your child to contemplate these discrepancies in valuation.

Furthermore, facilitate hands-on learning experiences to deepen your child’s understanding of money’s value. Introduce them to a Kit card, enabling them to earn, spend, save, and consequently appreciate the value of their own dollars. Indeed, firsthand experience serves as the most effective teacher in comprehending the significance of money.

In summary, while providing examples and perspectives is beneficial, allowing your child to actively engage with money is paramount. Through experiential learning, they will develop a genuine understanding and appreciation for its value.

The cost of living

“Hey Mum, Dad, what portion of our income went into buying our house? How much of our budget do we allocate for groceries? What proportion of our savings did we use for our trip to Bali?”

Discussing exact amounts of our financial investments and expenditures can sometimes feel uncomfortable. Imagining the whispers among parents about what we spent on our Bali getaway can be daunting.

Instead of focusing solely on exact figures, let’s consider breaking it down into percentages. This approach can paint a broader picture of our financial flow, giving context to our earnings and expenditures. It might be more insightful for our child, offering them a deeper understanding without fixating on precise numbers.

Alternatively, we could delve into the specifics of where our money goes. Rather than presenting a single large sum, we can provide a breakdown of the various components. This allows our child to engage in detective work if they’re curious about the numbers.

Ultimately, whether we choose to disclose percentages, provide input breakdowns, or share exact figures, it’s crucial to grasp the underlying intention behind our child’s questions. Depending on the situation, full transparency about numbers might be the most suitable approach.”


Tough money questions may feel challenging and uncomfortable, but they present a chance to broaden your child’s understanding of the realm of finances.

DISCLAIMER:  This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute official financial advice.

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