In a household, the issue of money and how to spend it can be a source of conflict and stress. There are situations when parents disagree on the matter of spending for their children. The notion that children are being “spoiled” because one of the parents allow them to splurge on toys, clothes and birthday gifts can start an argument, especially when the household budget is affected.
Parents’ spending habits on their children is always a reflection of their values and priorities. Argument about money is an often cited source of conflict among couples in the United States. According to a survey by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), money fights prompt an average of three arguments each month – making it the most volatile topic for spouses.
With the growing cost of raising children, arguments about kid-related expenses will often arise. The most frequent money fights cited in the AICPA survey revolved around “needs versus wants” (58% reported this as the most common reason for a spat), unexpected expenses (49%) and insufficient savings (32%) – all of which can be aggravated in families with children.
Marital conflict about money is always attributed to a failure to communicate about finances. More than half of the AICPA survey respondents said they don’t set aside time to talk about money before disputes arise. If you and your spouse often have disagreements about spending on the kids, consider exploring ways to resolve your disagreements.
Maybe it’s time for the whole family to sit down and talk about money. Money habits and values are typically shaped during childhood so parents should be clear on what they want to impart on their children. Be open and discuss how much everything in the household costs. Usually in a household, one parent takes responsibility for the children’s everyday expenses, and that parent should be able to discuss how far the budget can go for stuff they want to buy. Tell the children honestly when you can’t buy what they want. Sometimes, they may react strongly, but in the end, they just have to accept that they can’t have everything they want immediately. Propose a plan or timetable on when certain items the children want can be purchased. While young children may feel hurt that they will have to wait, it will help train them to be more careful about their spending and value what their parents give them.