The No Talk Rule
A few weeks ago, I sat with my son and daughter to watch and discuss an episode of Red Table Table about Sexual Consent. It took us an hour and a half to get through the 35 minute episode due to the rich dialog surrounding the "gray areas" of consent. With a 22 year old son and 20 year old daughter, I was very interested in their thoughts about this topic. While they are young, they have both had their share of real world experience as they lived independently throughout the United States and internationally.
During our viewing and discussion, it was made clear that conversations about sex are often avoided at home. People grow up hearing little to nothing, from their parents, about sexuality and enter into adulthood with ignorance about the subject and how it can affect them. Because my mother was very open with me about everything that had to do with the human body, including sex, I strived to create a home where my kids felt that they could ask questions about anything.
Due to this experience, my son expressed that he was a bit surprised that people were so uncomfortable talking about sex. I shared that sex is not the only topic where the "No Talk Rule" applies.
What is the No Talk Rule?
The "No Talk Rule" is the unspoken agreement among family members that a particular topic will not be discussed. It is mostly enforced by parents. The No Talk Rule is often carried through adolescence and into adulthood where the rule may be perpetuated from one generation to the next.
The top two leading causes of divorce, in the US, are sex and money. Considering that these two topics are the primary objects of the No Talk Rule, it makes perfect sense. It would seem, the real issue is the lack of communication about sex and money.
What was Your No Talk Rule around money?
In my coaching and investment firm, the No Talk Rule around money is addressed at the beginning of our education process. Why? Because the majority of our current financial behavior is rooted in our past experience, which develops our relationship with money.
Take a moment to think - "Was there a No Talk Rule in my home when I was growing up?" "Am I unknowingly enforcing a No Talk Rule in my current household?" The NTR often goes unnoticed because, well, no one is talking about it. Cultural, social and religious customs sometimes restrict communication surrounding money. Have you ever heard this one "It's rude to talk about money!"? How about "Money is the root of all evil." which is a misquoted biblical scripture. The correct version is "The love of money is the root of all evil." [1 Timothy 6:10]; small change, big difference. Whether these were/are thoughts in our heads, or verbalized, they contribute to an underline communication barrier around money. Unfortunately, this communication barrier is more prevalent among women.
Create The No Taboo Rule!
How you started is not where you have to end up. Each day, you make decisions that direct your path. The question is will you be conscious or remain unconscious to those decisions. In this moment, the No Talk Rule is no longer an unconscious experience. You became aware of it simply by reading this blog. Now, it's a matter of making the switch. You can change your relationship with money from No Talk to No Taboo.
Start with yourself. If you struggle to talk about money, acknowledge it. From there, begin to educate yourself with the language of money. Attend free financial events, listen to financial podcast. A Financial Coach will be able to help you through this process by helping you discover things you may not have identified about your financial behavior.
Once you work on yourself, begin to introduce money conversation with your family. Creating a No Taboo Rule around money for yourself and your household is a great start to dramatically increasing financial security.
In the words of James Baldwin, Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.