Debt and other financial difficulties can take a significant toll on your personal well-being. However, if you have a family, that toll only becomes heavier. You worry about providing for your family members, and you worry about their happiness. They will notice your stress, and they will notice that you do fewer activities and give fewer presents. The financial hardship will get to everybody. And while your spouse may understand, your children may not. It’s important that you talk to your children about your circumstances, although the talks will be different depending on the age of your children.
If you have young children, you don’t need to go into detail about your situation but it’s important that you address it.
As hard as it may seem, it’s important that you sit down with your children and explain (using words they will understand) exactly what has happened. Did you suffer a setback at work? Tell your children about it. You should also disclose if you lost your job, if sudden expenses came up, etc. Remember to explain what this means for the family: fewer activities, presents, and treats.
From that point on, every time your children ask for something, remind them about the situation. Even if you feel embarrassed, you still need to remind your children. Make sure your responses are consistent as your children can become easily confused if you give in to their requests. If you do decide to purchase a treat for your children, even after you’ve had this discussion with them, be sure to explain that this is a special occasion and that they shouldn’t expect more treats.
Don’t expect your children to fully understand the situation right away. It may take a few weeks or months for them to comprehend, especially if financial disaster strikes around Christmas or a birthday. Exercise patience and empathy as you help your children through this difficult time.
If your children are old enough to have a part-time job, encourage them to get a job so that they can pay for some of the extras that you can no longer afford.
If you’re struggling with debt and can’t dig yourself out, contact our office today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’re here to help.