Use Reality TV to Fuel Family Conversation About Debt OptionsJul 21, 2015
Talking to your child about personal finances or debt options at an early age can help to remove the taboo from the topic of personal debt in the future. It is smart to have serious conversations with your child or your teenager about personal finances and debt, either to encourage your child to talk to you in the case of a financial emergency or to develop good spending and saving habits early on. Children are very impressionable, and when they grow up with influences from reality TV they might develop skewed wants and needs that match the lavish lifestyles of reality TV personalities. However, as a parent you can use reality TV shows to facilitate a conversation with your child about personal finances. Encouraging an open conversation with your child about debt and debt options can establish a level of trust if your child struggles with debt later in their life.
Being a critical consumer
While having a family TV night, you can encourage your child to ask questions about reality TV and the lifestyles depicted in reality TV programs in order to begin a natural conversation about debt and debt options. Some tips for encouraging a critical conversation about reality TV include:
- Ask your child questions to see how they view reality TV. Do they acknowledge that even reality TV isn’t necessarily real? Do they idolize the lifestyles on reality TV?
- Comment on the effects of the lifestyles depicted on reality TV, including the reality of credit card debt and student loan debt.
- Encourage your child to discern between good and bad spending habits and lifestyle choices.
Sitting down and watching a reality TV show with your child can be a bonding activity and an opportunity to open the lines of communication about wise money management.
Talking to your teen about debt options
There are a number of strategies you can use to initiate a conversation with your teen about debt and debt options. Watching a lifestyle reality show together can be particularly useful. The extravagant spending and sensationalized characters and events can provide a stark contrast to your family’s real world financial situation. Therefore, watching a reality TV show where the characters go on shopping sprees and buy designer clothes can easily fuel a conversation about credit card debt. Talking about the materialism depicted in most reality TV shows can lead to a discussion about good spending habits and how to seek debt relief if you’re in need of debt options. Do these celebrities ever worry about paying their bills? What would happen if your family spent without worry about consequences? These discussions can help your child develop good spending habits and might ease a conversation about debt options in the future.
If your family happens to be struggling with personal debt, you might consider seeking professional advice. Have your teen accompany you to visit a debt relief professional. A Trustee in Bankruptcy can help you determine what is the best debt option for you. Surprisingly, these conversations can be made easier if you have already laid the groundwork for talking to your family about finances.
How has your family used reality TV to help talk about personal finances? We want to know! #LetsTalkDebt