enmeshment, financial enmeshment, family systems, family structure
Children learn through observing and interacting with their parents. Much of what children learn about money comes from these observations and interactions. An area of concern in parent – child relationships is the impact of boundaries and roles. Parents whose boundaries with their children are rigid and inflexible do not prepare their children to effectively deal with stress in their lives. Similarly, parents whose boundaries are too flexible may impede their children’s ability to develop appropriate coping skills. This is true of their development of personal finance, money, consumption, and debt coping skills. Financial enmeshment occurs when parents involve their children in adult financial matters before the children are cognitively and emotionally ready to cope with the information. Financial enmeshment may have a negative effect on the child’s development. Financial enmeshment can be addressed through financial therapy. This paper explores the dynamic of financial enmeshment and discusses tools available to financial professionals to help identify the dynamic and structure interventions.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
Kemnitz, R., Klontz, B., & Archuleta, K. L. (2016). Financial Enmeshment: Untangling the Web. Journal of Financial Therapy, 6 (2) 4. https://doi.org/10.4148/1944-9771.1085
Allen, M., & Oliva, J. (2001). Teaching children about money: Applications of social learning and cognitive learning development theories. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 93(2), 26-29.
American Psychological Association. (2013). Stress in America™: Are teens adopting adults’ stress habits? Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2013/stress-report.pdf.
Bao, Y., Fern, E., Sheng, S. (2007). Parental style and adolescent influence in family consumption decisions: An integrative approach. Journal of Business Research, 60(7), 672-680. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2007.01.027
Barber, B. & Buehler, C. (1996). Family cohesion and enmeshment: Different constructs, different effects. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58(2), 433. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/353507
Bowen, C., Madill, A., & Stratton, P. (2002). Parental accounts of blaming within the family: A dialectical model for understanding blame in systemic therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 28(2), 129-44. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1752-0606.2002.tb00351.x
Butler, S. (2010). 5 things never to say to your kids about money. CBS Money Watch. Retrieved from: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/5-things-never-to-say-to-your-kids-about-money/.
Canales, A., Archuleta, K.L., & Klontz, B.T. (2014). Money disorders. In B.T. Klontz, S.L. Britt, & K.L. Archuleta (Eds.), Financial therapy: Theory, research & practice (pp. 35-67), New York, NY: Springer.
Cox, M. & Paley, B. (1997). Families as systems. Annual Review of Psychology 48, 243-268. http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.48.1.243
Danes, S. & Dunrud, T. (1993). Children and money: Teaching children money habits for life. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Minnesota Extension Services Publications.
Garber, B. D. (2011). Parental alienation and the dynamics of the enmeshed parent–child dyad: Adultification, parentification, and infantilization. Family Court Review, 49(2), 322-335.
Grable, J., McGill, S., & Britt, S. (2010). The financial therapy association: A brief history. Journal of Financial Therapy, 1(1), 1. http://dx.doi.org/10.4148/jft.v1i1.235
Green, R., & Werner, P. (1996). Intrusiveness and closeness‐caregiving: Rethinking the concept of family “enmeshment”. Family Process, 35(2), 115-136. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1545-5300.1996.00115.x
Gudmunson, C. G., & Danes, S. M. (2011). Family financial socialization: Theory and critical review. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 32(4), 644-667. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10834-011-9275-y
Hancock, A., Jorgensen, B. L., & Swanson, M. S. (2012). College students and credit card use: The role of parents, work experience, financial knowledge, and credit card attitudes. Journal of Family and Economic Issues. doi:10.1007/s10834-012-9338-8
Harris, A. E., & Curtin, L. (2002). Parental perceptions, early maladaptive schemas, and depressive symptoms in young adults. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 26(3), 405-416.
Henry, C., Robinson, L., Neal, R. & Huey, E. (2006). Adolescent perceptions of overall family system functioning and parental behaviors. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 15(3), 308-318. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10826-006-9051-z
Horwitz, E.J. & Klontz, B.T. (2013). Understanding and dealing with client resistance to change. Journal of Financial Planning, 26(11), 27-31.
Johnson, C., Sansone, R. & Chewning, M. (1992). Good reasons why young women would develop anorexia nervosa: The adaptive context. Pediatric Annals, 21(11), 731-733,736-737. http://dx.doi.org/10.3928/0090-4481-19821101-07
Jones, R. & Wells, M. (1996). An empirical study of parentification and personality. American Journal of Family Therapy, 24, 145-152. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01926189608251027
Jorgensen, B. L. & Savla, J. (2010). Financial literacy of young adults: The importance of parental socialization. Family Relations, 59, 465-478. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2010.00616.x
Jurkovic, G (1997). Lost childhoods: The plight of the parentified child. New York, NY: Brunner Mazel.
Kinnier, R., Brigman, S., & Noble, F. (1990). Career indecision and family enmeshment. Journal of Counseling & Development, 68(3), 309.
Klontz, B. (2011). Behavior modification: clients may need your help discovering the childhood beliefs affecting their financial decisions today. Financial Planning, 41(4), 81.
Klontz, B.T., Bivens, A., Klontz, P.T., Wada, J., & Kahler, R. (2008). The treatment of disordered money behaviors: Results of an open clinical trial. Psychological Services, 5(3), 295-308. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1541-15188.8.131.525
Klontz, B. & Britt, S., (2012). How clients’ money scripts predict their financial behavior. Journal of Financial Planning, 25(11), 33-43.
Klontz, B., Britt, S., Archuleta, K. & Klontz, T., (2012). Disordered money behaviors: Development of the Klontz money behavior inventory, Journal of Financial Therapy, 3(1), 17-41. http://dx.doi.org/10.4148/jft.v3i1.1485
Klontz, B., Kahler, R. & Klontz, T. (2008). Facilitating financial health: Tools for financial planners, coaches, and therapists. Cincinnati, OH: The National Underwriter Company.
Klontz, B. & Klontz, T. (2009). Mind over money: Overcoming the money disorders that threaten our financial health. New York, NY: Broadway Business.
Lawrence, K., Allen, J. & Chanen, A. (2011). A study of maladaptive schemas and borderline personality disorder in young people. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 35(1), 30-39. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10608-009-9292-4
Love, P. (2011). The emotional incest syndrome: What to do when a parent's love rules your life. New York NY: Random House LLC.
Minuchin, S. (1974). Families and family therapy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Moschis, G.P. (1985). The role of family communication in consumer socialization of children and adolescents. Journal of Consumer Research, 11(4). 898-913. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/209025
Munich, R. & Munich, M., (2009). Overparenting and the narcissistic pursuit of attachment. Psychiatric Annals, 39(4), 227-235. http://dx.doi.org/10.3928/00485713-20090401-04
Nabeshima, G., & Klontz, B. (2014). Cognitive behavioral financial therapy. In B.T. Klontz, S.L. Britt, & K.L. Archuleta (Eds.), Financial therapy: Theory, research & practice (pp. 143-159). New York, NY: Springer. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-08269-1_9
Nichols, M., & Schwartz, R. (2001). The essentials of family therapy. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Norvilitis, J., & MacLean, M. (2010). The role of parents in college students' financial behaviors and attitudes. Journal of Economic Psychology, 31(1), 55. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.joep.2009.10.003
Olson, D. (2000). Circumplex model of marital and family systems. Journal of Family Therapy, 22(2), 144-167. http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9780203428436_chapter_19
Perosa, L., Perosa, S. & Tam, H. (1996). The contribution of family structure and differentiation to identity development in females. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 25(6), 817-837. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01537456
Prior, D. (2011). Enmeshment: treatment options. PR Newswire.
Segrin, C., Woszidlo, A., Givertz, M., & Montgomery, N. (2013). Parent and child traits associated with overparenting. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 32(6), 569-595. http://dx.doi.org/10.1521/jscp.2013.32.6.569
Shim, S., Serido, J., Bosch, L., & Tang, C. (2013). Financial identity‐processing styles among young adults: A longitudinal study of socialization factors and consequences for financial capabilities. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 47(1), 128-152.
Spokas, M., Heimberg, R. (2009). Overprotective parenting, social anxiety, and external locus of control: Cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 33(6), 543-551. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10608-008-9227-5
Turnbull, A., & Turnbull, Ill, H. (1990). Families, professionals, and exceptionality: A special partnership (2nd ed.). New York, NY: MacMillan.
Waller, E., & Rose, A., (2010). Adjustment trade-offs of co-rumination in mother–adolescent relationships. Journal of Adolescence, 33(3), 487-497. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2009.06.002
Wisenblit, J., Priluck, R., & Pirog, S. (2013). The influence of parental styles on children's consumption. The Journal of Consumer Marketing, 30(4), 320-327. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JCM-02-2013-0465