It is well known that money is a major bone of contention with many couples and can lead to severe domestic disharmony, yet couples continue to fib about finances to their other halves. Often, the children in the family are aware of these lies, and thereby parents may be teaching children the wrong lessons about money and relationships, which can backfire on them in adulthood.
An article in Yahoo makes the argument that from telling what you think are harmless ‘little white lies’ to more serious deceit, letting your children bear witness to the deceit can make them comfortable with lying as well.
For example, while out shopping with your child, you may purchase something extravagant and tell the child to keep the purchase secret from your spouse. This sends a message to the child that it is okay to hide things from a partner in a relationship in order to not get into a conflict. As a life lesson, this is teaching the wrong thing. Your child should know that within a marital relationship, major purchases and financial decisions are made with the consent of both parties, and being dishonest about purchases is likely to put strain on the relationship and bring about trust issues.
Another way you could be portraying lying as a valid strategy in a relationship is by keeping the truth until it is too late to reverse a decision. A person doing this will make a substantial financial decision, for example, enroll their child in an expensive extracurricular class, and only mention it after some time when there as no way to go back on the choice. This puts the spouse in a difficult situation because it puts the child is in the middle of the topic of conflicted.
Finally, watch out that you are not using your children as leverage in order to sway financial decisions in the household. One example would be getting the children to beg for a vacation trip. Major decisions should be made between parents and it is unwise to try and co-opt your kids to put pressure on your partner in order for things to go your way. By doing this, they subconsciously learn how manipulation works and how to use it to their advantage.
While it is not possible or even desirable to be 100% truthful all the time, such as keeping a birthday present a surprise, remember that children have impressionable minds and they learn young. Setting a good example by being as honest and respectful as possible to your spouse is key to bringing up well-adjusted children who will also appreciate honestly in relationships.
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