Families Change Guide to Separation & Divorce

3.5 - Children, Money, and Separation

3.5 - Children, Money, and Separation

In the next few sections, we provide information for parents to help teach their children about money. If you do not have children, you may skip to section 3.9 to learn about your fiduciary duty and the financial stages of separation.

Most of us have strong feelings and opinions about money based on childhood experiences and the values and beliefs of our parents. Often these experiences, values and beliefs are different for each parent.

Trying to teach your children about money is a difficult task, particularly in families where children moving between two homes may encounter different values. This section provides some guidelines that may help.

Children learn about money by experience, observation and example.

Children’s education about money should focus on the concepts of earning, spending, saving, borrowing, and sharing. You can begin to work with the first three concepts when children can talk in sentences. Children need to be a little older to comprehend the concepts of borrowing and sharing. These two concepts require an understanding of math and ability to see things from another’s viewpoint. These skills don’t fully develop until several years into elementary school.

Children may receive money by allowance, as gifts, or by earning it. There is no right or wrong way to provide children with money since each family is in a unique financial situation.  Deciding whether or not to use an allowance is a family decision.