Whenever we talk to our young adult children about money, it’s a good idea for us to be careful about what we say and how we say it.

For starters, don’t come off as bossy or tell them what to do—because they may do the opposite just to spite us. At the same time, adults learn a lot of lessons from our long, long histories of bad financial decisions, so it’s only natural that we want to share our wisdom with our children. Especially if you’re seeing them make basic financial mistakes, like:

  • Lending money to friends
  • Overspending
  • Mixing business with pleasure
  • Making bad credit decisions

I’ve talked about how to communicate with your elderly parents, and I think some of the same rules apply. For instance, instead of telling them they are making a mistake, talk about a friend that you have who was once in a similar situation.

Another great strategy is to use “I” statements:

  • I notice that you’re very generous, and that’s something I really love about you.
  • I remember your father went into business with a friend, and it didn’t end well.
  • I’m so excited that you got your first credit card, you can increase your credit score if you pay it in full every month.

It is our responsibility to teach our kids how to be financially responsible adults, because it’s hard for them to live on their own these days—unless you want them coming home after college!