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Talking With Teens About Money: Talk With Your Teen

  • Talk about priorities, needs, wants, and challenges. One of the critical life skills parents can teach their teens is to set and follow through on priorities based on the things that are most important. Managing money is a key opportunity to develop these habits. When talking about money, ask about the values and priorities that different decisions might reveal. Explore whether something is a need or a want. What impact might making one choice now have on future options?
  • Talk about the many layers of money management. The ways you and your teen think about and manage money are shaped by your attitudes, feelings, and values regarding money, your personality, your past experiences, and whether you think you have the abilities and power to make good money choices. Each of these areas becomes important to talk about with your teen. For example:
    • How would you describe your attitudes toward money? Do you see it more as a “necessary evil” or as something that will make you happy?
    • How does your personality affect how you think about and use money? Are you someone who is cautious, or do you enjoy taking risks? Are you more impulsive and want things right away?
    • What major experiences in your past have affected how you approach money management? What habits have you formed (good and bad) that influence how you deal with money?
    • How much power do you think you have to use the money you have well? What gets in the way of not having enough control over how you use money?
  • Examine the money matters behind everyday activities. Most of the things your teen or your family does involve money. That includes meals, clothes, housing, recreation, school, entertainment, health, dating, and many other areas of life. Often, these money decisions are hidden or assumed. When your teen is deciding what activities to do or wants to have a new pair of sneakers, for example, why not talk about the money choices involved (not necessarily to discourage participation but to help see the full picture)?

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Content created by Office of Adolescent Health
Content last reviewed on July 2, 2019