Til Money Do Us Part (Part 2 of 4)

Check out the March 14th blog on Financial Infidelity

This week’s topic is on Financial Incest (yes, there is such a thing for those of you who are wondering).  So what is Financial Incest?  It takes place when children (adult children as well) are used by parents to bear age-inappropriate responsibility for or worry about financial situations.  This is a sign that your marriage is under extreme stress if you are transferring your anxiety, frustration and financial stress to your children.

Beliefs and attitudes about money and how it works are typically developed during a young age through the examples by our parents.   The consequences for violating healthy boundaries and making your children feel accountable for your financial situation can have long lasting negative effects throughout your child’s adulthood and their relationships with others, including you. Some symptoms include workaholism, overspending, feelings of financial insecurity, frequent financial conflict with others (including spouse).

Here are a few relatable examples to represent this type of money dysfunction that may be present in your family:

  • Single parent who relies on their teenager to help them make financial decisions
  • Divorced parents using the children as a go between in money arguments
  • A step-parent who resents financially supporting his/her step-children
  • Putting pressure on your child to work and/or pay bills
  • Expecting a child to keep a money secret
  • Having your children lie to creditors or others about your financial situation.

As promised here are your weekly tips! 

Tips to Avoid Financial Incest:

  1.  APOLOGIZE to your children if you have been committing financial incest and tell them it was wrong of you to burden them with your financial stress; then STOP doing it!
  2.  GET APPROPRIATE SUPPORT -Take your anxiety, frustration and financial stress to other ADULTS who can help you or to a financial advisor to assist with solutions.
  3. When talking to your children about family finances (which is ok to do) structure your conversations to EDUCATE (instead of complain) your child on how money works in an age-appropriate way.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my healthy money tips for a healthy marriage!


Porsha Williams, LAMFT

Pwilliams@ GROWcounseling.com

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