Kids watch their parents closely. What they see, hear (and unintentionally overhear) about money during their childhood can influence them for the rest of their lives.
You create the initial structure on which your children’s money mindset is built. Your beliefs about money will have a powerful impact on their relationship with money, whether you are aware of it or not. Your actions, or inactions, have a tremendous ripple effect.
Money Trauma is Generational
Your habits, beliefs, and behaviours around money are largely shaped by what you heard, overheard, learned (directly or indirectly), saw, and picked up from your own parents based on their situation, both personally and societally. And they would have learned it from their parents etc. creating a family line of generational money beliefs.
This family line of generational money beliefs may also be rooted in trauma and passed on without any healing from it. Guess who is next in line to inherit these beliefs? Your children, your nieces, and your nephews.
Don’t just take my word for it.
It’s in Our DNA
In the book “What Happened to You” by Oprah Winfrey and her trauma therapist, Bruce Perry, MD, PhD, they talk about how one of the most important ways we transmit “information” to the next generation is through our genes. More than how tall you are, or your eye colour, some aspects of our stress-response systems are also “heritable”. These genetic mechanisms play a role in how our core regulatory networks function.
So, you can be programmed for resilience, or your DNA can be programmed for sensitization. Translation? Your body’s physical response to dealing with money matters can be rooted in positivity and confidence, or fear and shame. I know which one I’d prefer.
Try This Journaling Exercise
As many people are celebrating Mother’s Day with brunch, flowers, and homemade cards, I encourage you to also look at it as a reminder to check in on what kind of money mindset you are setting your kids up to have.
To do that, you first need to reflect on your own. I invite you to think and journal about your own parents’ experiences, beliefs, and behaviors around money. Were they positive? Were they rooted in negativity or shame?
Here are some examples:
- My parents made saving for my university education a top priority. Because they did this, I now understand the importance of saving for my own children’s education.
- My parents filed for bankruptcy when I was about 14 years old. We lost our house and had to move in with my grandparents. I resented my parents for allowing this to happen to us. I felt ashamed that we had to move into my grandparent’s house, which was old and crowded, and therefore, I could never invite my friends over. This situation took away my sense of security. Now I am over-saving because I am afraid that one day I would lose it all as my parents did.
- Growing up, my parents always sent me to answer the door when a bill collector would show up. I would have to open the door and lie and say that my parents were not at home. I believe this is the root cause of my anxiety.
Despite your genetic makeup, it is possible to train yourself to recognize and stop repeating harmful money habits inherited from your parents. The first step is making the connection between family members’ habits and your own is a powerful way to effect positive change.
Want help? My Mother’s Day gift to you is a free 15-minute counselling session. Click here to book now.