Arguing about money in families is really common. Money is getting tighter and tighter these days and every penny counts. Teaching young people about managing their own money and giving them the responsibility is an important part of family life.

  • Pocket money
  • Spending and managing money
  • Debt
  • Paying digs and bills
  • Educational Maintenance Allowance
  • Money going missing from the house
  • Buying new stuff
  • Paying for holidays
  • I get frustrated
  • I feel angry
  • I feel like there’s no way out
  • I’m constantly worried about it
  • I feel like they don’t listen
  • I feel like they don’t respect me
  • They just don’t understand how hard it is
  • We are always short on cash

What can I do to make things better?

  • What do you need?

    Explain to the other person what you need rather than what the problem is. Example:


    “You steal money from my purse and bank account. You’re a thief”.


    “I need to be able to trust you. I need everything we have to buy food, pay bills, rent, clothes for you, and if we have any extra, a treat for the family. Everyone misses out if money keeps going missing.”

    If you or someone you know is struggling financially seek advice from agencies such as Child Poverty Action Group or Citizens Advice Scotland.

  • See it from their side

    Try and see the situation from the other person’s shoes. Example:

    Person 1

    “Any money you have you spend on rubbish. I want you to be able to save a bit.”

    Person 2

    “I only get X amount per week, there’s lots of stuff I need to buy for school, I hardly have anything left and want to be able to go out with my friends too. I feel left out if they are all doing stuff and I can’t afford it.”

  • Be honest

    Talk about money. Get young people involved in buying stuff for the house. Teach them about budgeting. Tell them about the mistakes you have made and how you learned from it.

  • Consider alternatives

    Consider lots of options to solve the problem. Young people will make mistakes with money, what can you do to help them?


    “I want him to learn to manage his money. He spends it all in one go as soon as he gets it.”


    • Where is the money stored?
    • Can a bank account be set up and you offer to look after the card for them?
    • Money doesn’t go as far as it used to. Are there jobs around the house they could do to earn a bit extra?
    • Talk about the things they might like to save up for, encourage them to have a goal.
    • Sometimes they might have to go without and learn from it.

What can I do to make things better?

After working through the steps above and considering your own situation, you may find it helpful to know more about conflict resolution and mediation.

Kerry is much happier now that she and Sam handle their disagreements better.

If you get together and talk about it, I've often seen people come up with much better solutions themselves.

Paul Burns, Mediator

We still have our arguments, but we deal with them a lot better now.

Kerry, Sam's Mum

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