A survey of 2,000 parents suggested that one in 10 avoid the subject of money altogether if it is raised by their son or daughter.
One in three parents put off chatting to their children about finances until they are over the age of 10, indicated the study by financial services firm OneFamily.
Many of those questioned were worried about giving wrong information or were not a good role model because they were bad with money themselves.
Four out of five of those surveyed said they had bad financial habits themselves such as not budgeting, never checking their bank balance or buying goods on impulse.
Steve Ferrari of OneFamily, said: "It's clear that parents want to equip their children with the financial capability they'll need when they grow up, but a lack of confidence is preventing them from doing so.
"Official guidance recommends that parents start teaching their children about money when they are a toddler and it doesn't have to be taxing or complicated.
"When your children are two or three you can start teaching them about the concept of money in games such as playing shop.
"Most children start to get pocket money when they are around six to seven and this is a great way to help teach them about the benefits of saving up for something they really want."