Deidre, joining via Skype™ from Seattle, has a question for Suze about her three kids—ages 15, 13 and 9. "Sometimes I feel like an ATM machine. I just don't know how to say no to them," she says. "We set up an allowance system, but they tend to run out of money every week and they ask for more—and I end up giving in more than I would like to."
With teens in the house, Deidre says she's afraid it already might be too late to start talking honestly about money.
Suze says Deidre's kids almost certainly already sense that something is wrong in their home, but they might not know the actual cause. By not talking about the financial state of their family and continuing to buy things they can't afford, Deidre is participating in a "silent conversation," Suze says.
"The conversation has already started with her. Kids do what you do; they don't listen to what you say," Suze says. "What Deidre needs to understand is that it's never too late to have the conversation about money."
Suze says when you have this discussion with your kids, you must remain calm and in control. If you're scared or tense, your kids instinctively will pick up on those feelings. "Don't make it like, 'Oh my God, the sky is falling,'" Suze says. "Make it like, 'Isn't this great that we get to talk about it? And we get to work through this together.'"