“Mom, how much do you earn?"
Okay, hands up now… who tells their children how much they earn?
Yup. I thought not.
I have long thought it kind of weird… Andreas and I are big into trying to parent anarchically, trying to allow them to make their own decisions wherever possible, encouraging participatory democracy within the house and other beardy-weirdy type “respect the person, don’t dominate the child” type behaviour.
We are very honest with our kids. If they ask us if we’ve had sex recently… we’ll tell ‘em. If they want to know how gay people have sex, we’ll explain. But if they ask us how much we earn, or how much money we have, or how much our house cost… for some reason, I falter and fudge.
I thought I had got rid of my last vestiges of Calvinism, but apparently not.
“I know just how you feel,” says my friend Rachel. “My husband keeps telling people what I earn, and it really bothers me which in turn surprised him. I don’t know why I feel awkward: it’s not like it’s an embarrassingly high or low amount – and surely it’s good to know what others earn, so we can get an idea of the norm? So why do I feel it’s so… not done?”
Indeed. The only ones getting protected as we whisk home our payslips are our employers, who then never have to explain themselves. And I want my children not to grow up to feel subservient to a sealed envelope, for goodness sake’s.
I’m stuck on this one. Intellectually, I’d like to just share all our financial information with our children, because it may demystify things for them (they are currently 8 and 10 years old) … but emotionally – I just haven’t been able to go there.
Help, other parents. What do you do? And why?
Do you share your financial information with your kids?
Read more by Sam Wilson