How Childhood and Parents Influence Our Attitudes Toward Money Ichaku [Perfect Gifts Selection]

How Childhood and Parents Influence Our Attitudes Toward Money

Money is perhaps the most intimate topic in many societies. Surveys show that people find it easier to talk about their sexual relationships and marital problems than about money problems.

But these very personal topics are firmly connected: according to much research, relationships with loved ones are often reflected in financial behavior, and financial behavior, in turn, can strengthen or destroy families.

Just one example: a person's sense of life satisfaction depends on how wisely his or her romantic partner handles money. If a person believes that his or her couple's financial behavior is rational, it increases his or her level of happiness. Conversely, it lowers it if he thinks his partner is a spender.

There is a neurobiological basis to this relationship: the human brain reacts equally to heartbreak and lack of money. Therefore, many psychologists believe that in order to deal with irrational financial behavior, should take a closer look at the relationship with family and friends - in the past and present.

What is attachment theory

To analyze people's behavior patterns, psychologists often turn to attachment theory. This famous concept describes how relationships with parents and other significant adults in childhood affect how people behave as adults. Attachment theory was developed in the 1950s and 1970s by psychiatrist John Bowlby and psychologist Mary Ainsworth.

One of Bowlby's first studies was conducted with 88 teenagers, half of whom were caught stealing. He found that 41 percent of the offenders had spent at least six months of their lives away from their mothers before the age of five. In the control group - which included teens with no history of delinquency - only less than 5 percent had such experiences.

In 1951 Bowlby prepared a report for the WHO on the postwar generation of street children. In it he showed how a lack of a warm bond with a mother or other adult during childhood greatly increased the risks of developing mental problems, from depression to schizophrenia, as an adult. But there was still another question: What kind of parental behavior patterns lead to a strong bond with a child? Mary Ainsworth's experiments helped shed light on this.

She invited about a hundred mothers with children between the ages of 9 and 18 months to conduct the "Strange Situation" test. As part of the test, the mother would go into a room with her baby and then leave for a few minutes, leaving the baby with a stranger.

Black Cat Watching Lord of Light Looking At Sunset Unisex Jersey Short Sleeve T-Shirt

In the next step, the mother would return and the stranger would leave, and at the end, the mother would leave as well - leaving the child alone for a few minutes. The researchers monitored the children's behavior through a screen in the wall. The children's reactions depended on how the mothers interacted with them in real life.

In all, researchers have distinguished three types of child attachment.

1.      Dependable. Children of empathetic mothers were somewhat lost when their mothers left and rejoiced at their return. In their mother's presence, the children showed interest in the stranger, actively explored the room and played - they felt safe. Such children were the majority.

All You Need for Christmas is Me Grumpy Cat Unisex Jersey Short Sleeve T-Shirt

2. avoidant. Children of cold mothers showed no emotion when they left or when they returned. Researchers believe that children simply adapt to their mothers' behavior: if showing emotion doesn't result in needs being met, children stop showing it. But the lack of a sense of security prevents them from exploring and learning.

3. ambivalent. Children of mothers with inconsistent behaviors, who pushed or caressed the child, were also inconsistent. They could have difficulty letting their mothers go, and yet cry or refuse to communicate when they returned. Strangers were very frightening to them.

Black Cat Winter Snowflake Anime Art Premium Matte Vertical Posters

Over time this classification has been added to, but its basic idea - that children adopt patterns of behavior from their mother or other caregiver - has been confirmed by many later studies, including neurobiological ones. Nevertheless, the theory has weaknesses. First, it largely reflects Western behavioral norms, which means that it cannot be considered truly universal. Secondly, it does not fully reflect the influence of the temperament of the child on the relationship with the mother.

But even given these reservations, many psychotherapists consider attachment theory as a starting point when analyzing how the family affects human behavior. Research confirms that patterns of behavior adopted from parents influence how adults build relationships with one another, although it does not determine the pattern 100%.

Cat Fishing Aliens Hunting Funny UFO Arrival Cartoon Unisex Jersey Short Sleeve T-Shirt

How this works has been described by psychiatrist and neuroscientist Amir Levin and social psychologist Rachel Heller in their book, Approaching Each Other. Based on the work of Mary Ainsworth and contemporary researchers, they identify four types of attachment that can be used to describe the pattern of adult behavior in relationships:

1.      Dependable. People with this attachment style are confident in themselves and in their partner. It is natural for them to both give and receive love. They are able to correctly interpret their partner's desires and deliver their own, and they are ready to put their shoulder to his/her side in case of need. Satisfaction with the relationship often contributes to success in other spheres: resources are not spent on maintaining emotional balance.


2. avoidant. People with this type of attachment idealize independence and have impenetrable personal boundaries, but because of this they deprive themselves of sincere and deep relationships. They try to cope with their emotions on their own, not to show their vulnerability. At the same time, they are often burdened by obligations to others.

3. anxious. People with this attachment style tend to be insecure - they are afraid of losing their partner and often believe that they are not interested enough in them. They strive for a close relationship, consistency and stability.

Funny Black Cat Silhouette Scratch Sharp Claws Unisex Jersey Short Sleeve T-Shirt

4. anxious-avoidant. The rarest type of attachment combines elements of avoidant and anxious: fear of losing freedom because of the relationship and discomfort from lack of attention from a partner.

These types certainly do not define a person's personality or all behavior. Most people combine different types of attachment, some side may be more pronounced in some situations, some in others. At the same time, types of attachment may change over time. For example, in a relationship with a trustworthy partner, a person with an anxious attachment type has every chance of becoming trustworthy as well.



How it all has to do with money

Now attachment theory is not only used to study relationships between people. It has been adopted by psychologists studying financial behavior. They point out that our relationships with money very often resemble the types of attachment described more than half a century ago. All too often.

Dog Mom Paws Custom Personalized Name Necklace

You may have noticed it in your own experience or in the example of friends and family. Say, if a person was raised by a single mother who had to save money for herself to provide for her children, it is quite possible that as an adult he also struggles to spend money for himself. He may hide receipts from purchases so that his family cannot see them, or not tell his friends how much a new item of clothing cost. Behavior is induced by a sense of guilt implicitly learned from childhood.

Another example is given by psychologist Mario Mikulinser, who studies attachment theory: if a person is dominated by an anxious type of attachment, he may consider money as a way to buy love and, for example, often pay for a common bill or buy expensive gifts. Anxiety related to insecurity in a relationship may also lead to substantial spending on luxury clothing or expensive cars - the person may feel that this makes it easier to love.

Anime Cute Black Cat Minimal Art Canvas Shopping Cotton Tote Bag

People with an avoidant attachment type tend to be rational in their spending and have savings. But they may have a hard time spending money on others, even if it's a family member. Also, they very rarely trust financial advisors.

People with attachment anxiety avoidance can combine both patterns in their attitudes toward money: worrying about spending on others, while sometimes being incredibly generous.

The first step to balancing your financial patterns is to recognize that you perceive money as overly emotional. There is a simple exercise for this: imagine that you talk to money the way you would talk to a person. What would you say to them? What would they answer you? Does the "voice" or "mannerisms" of this imaginary money remind you of any of the people around you?

Many people find that in this imaginary conversation, money "behaves" just like a significant figure in the person's life-a parent, friend, colleague, or mentor. The point of this exercise is to understand what role other people have played in our financial behavior - and through that understanding to make adjustments if needed.

Hold My Drink I Gotta Pet This Cat Text Slogan Quotes Canvas Shopping Cotton Tote Bag

Financial convictions

There is another way to determine your relationship patterns with money. Financial psychologist Brad Klontz created a special test for this purpose. There are 33 statements - you have to indicate how much you agree with them. The result is a list of beliefs that a person absorbs from their family and also receives during their first encounters with money as a child.

Here are the four financial scenarios Klontz highlights.

Money Avoidance. Characteristic beliefs:

1. rich people are greedy.

2. people only get rich if they take advantage of other people.

3.  Money corrupts people.

4. A good person should not care about money.

People with these attitudes may avoid financial decisions, regularly miss financial opportunities, and have difficulty managing their budgets. They are especially common among people who choose socially relevant professions, from psychologists to social workers. Such attitudes are not conducive to financial well-being. And if money does come in, it can cause a person to feel guilty.

Chasing status. Characteristic beliefs are:

1.      A person's value is equal to the amount of money in their account balance.

2.     I don't buy anything that has already been used.

3. if a thing cannot be called the best of the best, there is no point in buying it.

Demonstrative consumption is a constant companion of people with these beliefs. Many of them grew up in poor families. Some people with this pattern of behavior live with the feeling that their financial problems will solve themselves. Characteristic manifestations of such beliefs: spending too much and hiding it, gambling addiction, and financial dependence on others.

Worship of money. Characteristic beliefs are:

1.      Money is power.

2.     The more money one has, the happier one is.

3.     Money buys freedom.

4.     Everything would be better in my life if I had more money.

For people with these beliefs, money is never enough, and even a large account balance is still unsettling. They put work before family, but they are not always rational in their financial behavior. For example, they may buy something very expensive and unnecessary to drown out anxiety.

Dog Mom Paws Custom Personalized Name Necklace

Financial Vigilance. Characteristic beliefs are:

1.      Money is better saved rather than spent.

2.     It is important to save for a rainy day.

3 If I did not have savings, I would be very nervous.

According to Klontz's research, people with these beliefs are more likely than others to boast financial stability. Although they too occasionally experience anxiety, it only inspires them to save. They extremely rarely take out loans and quite often understate the amount of their savings in conversations with others. The exception is a romantic partner. To him or her they are ready to tell the truth.

French Style Baguette Black Cat Bonjour Unisex Jersey Short Sleeve T-Shirt

How to Work on Your Behavior Patterns

The most important step, according to Brad Klontz, is to identify what irrational beliefs you have. This very awareness will help you come to a healthy perception of money - as an important, yet not essential, part of life. Although it's unlikely that just taking the test will be enough to make the change.

Here's what else you can do.

Personalized Custom Name Necklace

Talk to your parents about money. By analyzing your family history, you'll find out where your patterns of behavior and beliefs stem from, and that, in turn, will help ensure that many of them have no logical basis in fact.

Klontz himself says that when he was a psychology student, he began asking his parents about their attitudes toward money. What he was most interested in was why his family members never owned any real estate, even though they all worked very hard. In his conversation with his mother, he picked up a tendency to avoid money: she said that money was evil and big risks. He later learned that his grandfather had lost all his savings during the Great Depression and, because of this, did not trust any bank for the rest of his life.

If you do not have the opportunity to talk to your parents, analyze the financial patterns of your family on your own. You can ask yourself these questions: what three things about money did your mom teach you? What about your dad? What beliefs about money are common among the people you interact with? Do these beliefs help or hinder you? Which beliefs about money are most helpful to you?

Write down three beliefs about money that negatively affect your life. Perhaps you believe that you should buy only the best and there is no point in compromising between price and quality? Or so convinced of the omnipotence of money that you spend all your time at work, forgetting about the family? Try to detail what these beliefs can lead you to. Reformulate them so that they contribute to your success. Periodically reread your notes.

Black Cat Watching Lord of Light Looking At Sunset Art Premium Matte Vertical Posters

Communicate more often with those who live in financial balance. All the attachment theory and research on it talks about how interactions with others can change our behaviors and attitudes. You don't have to talk specifically about financial issues, just talking about life is fine, because it shapes attitudes about money as well.

Back to blog