The term financial incest is strongly related to parenting. In times of financial stress, some parents tend to burden their children with monetary-stress. What most of them are unaware of is that this could push the children towards a psychological disorder termed ‘financial incest’.
Brand Klontz, a certified planner and psychologist defined it as ‘the inappropriate involvement of minors in parental financial matters, including discussing financial stress with children or using them as messengers to pass financial messages.’
This unhealthy experience leaves a lasting impression on the children, making them take on a stroppy role in their career and personal relationships. Here are a few scenarios that could prevent children from financial incest:
-Do not make your children feel guilty about the efforts you are putting in to fund their education or other needs.
-Do not have financial spats in front of children.
-Do not share your career setbacks with kids in a negative manner (if you really have to, then break the news in a positive light, such that the child needn’t worry).
-Even in a divorce case, avoid blaming each other or using kids as a buffer for lack of funds.
-Do not get children to answer phone calls from debt collectors.
The intent of this article is not to discourage you from discussing finances with your children, but to outline what not to do.
The key thing to remember while talking to kids is ‘tactfulness’. It is very important for parents to teach their children some money lessons such as saving, spending on the right things, basic banking, etc.; but not in a manner that makes them feel responsible for the bad times they might be going through. Instead, help them deal with it and encourage them.
Remember that young minds are vulnerable and words can have an ever-lasting impact.