Here is the last (but not the least) in my series of key money phrases you should teach your children:
4. I’m sorry
Finances are the most likely point of contention in marriages. When my husband and I got married, we established a money rule: Each of us would have independent authority over transactions up to $100; after that we had to discuss the proposed transaction. That was 26 years ago. Today, the total for independent expenditures is $1,000. This rule tended to keep a lot of the potential resentment over money at bay.
But, everybody makes mistakes, and so did we. Enthusiasm would get the better of one of us and we would spend more than was allowed without discussion. “I’m sorry” was critical to making it through to the other side.
“I’m sorry” is not easy to say, but saying it can be incredibly freeing. It allows the other person to forgive, which is the first step to the healing process. Without it, mistakes fester and grow out of proportion for all involved.
This is another way for parents to model good money behavior for children. Tell your children you are sorry when you make mistakes. If you forget to pay your child’s allowance on the day it is due, say you are sorry. Explain why it is wrong not to pay a bill–even allowance–when it’s due. This will teach your children to respect money promises and obligations and show them that when they make a mistake, they can say they are sorry, learn from it, and move on to being smarter about money for having learned the lesson.
Don’t lie to your children about money. If you do, you destroy the fragile trust you have built with them over money. Clear up a lie immediately. Explain if you have lied, why you did and why it was a bad idea. Move forward knowing you have shown your child yet another way to clear up a money mistake before it had a chance to grow out of proportion.
Have you ever used any of the phrases on this list with your children? Which one? How did your kids react? Did you try to avoid using any of them? Please tell me about your experiences below – the good and the bad.