Undermining our children’s ability to sense our tensions and the mood of the house is what some families do. Parenting is tough job in itself and there is no rule book to what is right and what is wrong and how to handle a particular situation.
While some parents believe that money is a matter for elders to cater to and kids need not be involved as they are in no position to help so might as well not pass on the details to them.
But even small and young kids can sense our worries and anxieties and the growing atmosphere of tension in the house. In case of older kids, they not only worry about the parent’s financial issues but also about their own as to how will they be provided for, for their education and life.
Talk: In such a case, it’s important to gauge, as a parent, the right time to speak to kids. We want our kids to understand finances and money so hiding crucial information may not help. If the kids are young, tell them that the house is currently working on a tight budget and emphasis is on spending for food and housing needs only. Small kids do understand that family is in some sort of a crisis and show a sense of responsibility.
Share what they understand: Age also matters on how much and what details need to be shared with kids. If they are small, just tell them that the house is running on a tight budget but if they are teens, make them understand the situation in a little more detail and if they are young adults you could share the issue openly with them.
Time it out: Before talking to kids, make sure that they themselves don’t have any personal issues going on. Like struggling in school or exams coming up. This may disturb them more in such case. Wait for the right time to speak to them.
Weigh the urgency: If you are making small adjustments to pay your debt, you need not share the details to your child but in a scenario where you have lost your job and may have to move house, you will have to inform them about the new changes that are going to happen and prepare them for it.
No mixed messages: When a couple decides to talk to their child, first mutually decide on what is to be shared. They should be on the same page. Don’t create a situation where the father said something while mother shared some other details. This could create doubt and also distrust in a child’s mind.
Reassure: When you talk to your child, be wise with the choice of your words. Don’t say things which could ignite anxiety, fear or apprehension in your child. Reassure them that there is a glitch in your life right now and you are working to get things sorted and everything will be back to normal soon.
Answer their questions: Kids could and may have doubts after you have spoken to them. While small kids may not have any thing grave, teens and young adults may have things that may worry them. Answer their doubts and ask them to be patient with things.
Be a fun family: Once you have broken the news to your kids, don’t be tensed and have a grim atmosphere at home all the time. This could adversely affect the child’s mind and put him/her into a shell. Rather, continue having fun as a family. Spend time with one another, play games, talk to one another and do activities together as a family. Go to places which would not cost you much and yet you as a family could have fun like parks. Rather than getting a Mc Donald’s on your way, get your child to make sandwiches with you and pack them for your park time.
Symptoms of stress: This could happen more in the case of teens and young adults who would get stressed about their future or education and if you are moving house, they would be sad or depressed about losing friends. Watch out for any signs of stress or emotional turmoil in your child and talk to them from time to time.
Let them help: There is always a debate as to if we should allow our kids to help us financially in our times of need. While small kids may not understand much, least they may if they do, give you their piggy bank to use. Tell them that you respect the help that they offered. But if it’s an young adult who wishes to help by taking up a part time job, don’t stop them. This shows that they understand the situation in the house and are matured enough to offer help and contribute in their own little way.
When we inform our kids about our debt or financial situation, avoid talking in a stress filled or emotional way or by crying and shouting. Make them sit with you face to face and use a simple soft tone when conveying the message and put the required details in a subtle manner which does tell them a bit about the situation at hand but also doesn’t panic them at the same time. Other thing to keep in mind after you have informed your kids is not to involve them in thing like;
. Using your child as a reason to cry foul.
. Making your kids answer phones when collectors call.
. Asking your kids to borrow money.
. Venting your stress on your child.
. Force your child to work and earn money to help you out.
It’s always better to talk to your kids about your family situation as they are a part of it, and everyone in family needs to be on the same page. Also, it gives them a sense of responsibility when they are informed and will act with more responsibility and care. In case of young adults, they become wittier and wiser in money matters as they grow.
In my next blog I will talk about “Financial goal to achieve in your 20’s”. As we are moving towards the end of the A2Z series, I hope my blogs help my readers in any which ways and they find it useful.
Till next time
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This blog is a pity of Blogchatter’s A2Z challenge #blogchatterA2Z