Explaining these Chaotic Times to a Thirteen year old
There isn’t a day that goes by right now where there isn’t some story on the news about the economic woes that the world is going through. It isn’t limited to one area of one country; countries all over the world are experiencing tough economic times. With all the exposure that our children are getting to the fact that the world is undergoing economic setbacks is it any wonder that some of them are scared of what is going to happen to their families and their futures?
You may not be aware that your child is going around in fear that you may be going to lose your home or that you won’t have enough money to put food on the table so it’s important to open up the lines of communication. Ask them if they know what is going on, what they’ve heard and what they think about it. If you can explain what has happened then do so, and if you don’t think that you are very adept at giving the explanation yourself then engage your kids in helping you look around on the internet to find out what has happened. Whatever you do, do not lie to your children about what is happening in your family as far as your financial state is concerned. Kids pick up on your moods; they know when something is going on. Don’t leave them to their imagination because they can imagine far worse than what is going on in reality.
It’s important that you give your children a sense that you have a plan should anything happen to your job or your home. Involve them in cost cutting and coupon clipping. Sit down with your kids and show them your budget. Kids understand mathematics so it’s pretty easy to see in black and white why you may no longer be able to afford to pay for dance lessons, piano lessons AND swimming lessons. In fact, you can look at leaner times positively and encourage your kids to do the same. If you don’t have the money to go out to dinner all the time you can get the whole family involved in dinner preparation and look at it as a fun time to share what went on during your day. You can slow down and take walks together where you can chat about what you think is important to you if you can’t afford the gas to be able to jump in the car to drive to yet another after school lesson or event. As a matter of fact you may be very surprised to find that if you do need to cut down on outside events that your life feels a bit more peaceful because you aren’t rushing hither and yon constantly. You might even get to know your kids better because you have time on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to play a board game since you’ve had time during the week to clean your house instead of rushing to yet another lesson.
Remember, if you are watching the news or talking about what’s happening to your partner then your kids are being exposed to the information too. They may not understand clearly what is happening and may be imagining the worst so it is very important that you don’t avoid the topic of finances. Enter into dialogue with your children and allow them to express what they are feeling. Don’t talk over their heads and don’t talk down to them. Help put their fears to rest by ensuring that the lines of communication are open, not closed, about this very important topic.