When it comes to money, it’s not unusual for one parent to feel a little less experienced or skilled, or for one parent to have more time for financial education lessons. Even so, it’s well worth ironing out these wrinkles so you can be on the same team with your partner as your kids learn. Here are just a few good reasons to work together:
- Your kids might work the system.
Don’t let them fool you. Kids are way smart. When you and your partner don’t work together with the family money, then your children might figure out very quickly how to work around what each parent says. For instance, if you’re a spendthrift and your partner is a big saver, they might learn that they’re more likely to get what they want if they go to you first. Similarly, if you and your partner don’t stick together, then if you say no to something, your kids might learn that your “no” really just means “go ask Parent #2.”
- You and your partner might end up fighting.
If your kids end up manipulating you and your partner when it comes to money, it’s very easy for you both to become frustrated at the situation. The natural desire partners have is to have a sort of “backup” in each other, and when that isn’t there, the risk is that you might end up blaming each other for what’s going on.
- Your kids won’t remember squat.
One thing that can happen when parents are on two different pages with finance is that kids don’t get the same degree of reinforcement and practice with money concepts and tasks as they otherwise would. The result is that it’s harder for them to remember the principles and sequences necessary to be financially successful. Additionally, if you and your partner present ideas and methods in drastically different ways, your kids also can become confused, which hinders how well they’ll really internalize your messages.
- They might have problems with their own partners.
Kids learn a lot by what they see. They use what you do as a model for their own behaviors, so if you are not letting your partner help, you’re allowing your children to “work the system” or you and your partner fight about money all the time, then you’re teaching them a host of negative lessons. They might learn that it’s appropriate to control others with funds, to manipulate, and to argue. If they treat their own partners in these ways, they might have trouble maintaining solid relationships.
- Your kids won’t see you and your partner as equals.
Ideally, you want your kids to see you and your significant other as being roughly equal in skill and intelligence. If you refuse to get involved with your children’s money lessons, then they might see you as being less competent, which undermine your authority in every other area. Conversely, if you alone handle the money in the family, then they might see you as the only one who can answer money questions, unnecessarily forcing you to handle every money inquiry and robbing your partner of the chance to participate.