Families’ financial strain hitting children

Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
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ALMOST A quarter of the region’s children have been worried about money, suggesting the financial restraints placed on many families during recent years has had a lasting imprint on the younger generation, research has found.

Researchers spoke to 1,200 children aged between eight and 15 and found among those from Yorkshire and the Humber, 23 per cent admitted to worrying about money.

Seven out of ten said they were aware of their parents money worries, the Halifax annual Pocket Money Survey found.

One in five said they lend money, with 26 per cent of these lending to their parents. In all, 12 per cent said they have to borrow money.

The findings build on research last year by Leeds-based debt charity StepChange, who along with the Children’s Society found that the children of parents in debt were suffering from bullying, isolation and regularly going without.

Reflecting on today’s findings, StepChange spokesman Edward Ware said increasing numbers of children were acutely aware of money pressures, as more families are living on a “financial knife edge”.

“Families in debt are twice as likely to argue about money, which puts strain on the family relationships and cause children emotional distress,” he added.

Denise Carpenter, assistant debt manager as east Leeds advice service St Vincent’s, said that while its clients may not have spoken about their children voicing money worries, it was likely that parents were simply not aware that their children had picked up on financial problems.

The Halifax research also looked at financial education, which was introduced in schools last September. It found that almost a year into the new curriculum, it had yet to drive “a notable change” in young people’s understanding of financial matters, with more than half of children preferring to learn about money from their parents.

Giles Martin, head of Halifax Savings, said: “Parents need to be very aware just how much of an impact their own feelings about money can have on their children’s views and habits. Whilst finance is now being taught in schools, children don’t want their mum and dad to take a back seat.

“Talking about money at home can be a great way for children to start building an understanding of the importance of good money management.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said its “robust” new curriculum had made financial literacy compulsory for the first time, and included lessons on money management, credit and debt as part of citizenship studies for 11 to 16 years olds.