Parent Lost Job
by Lisa Medoff
Dear Dr. Medoff,
My husband just lost his job, and I have been working only part-time for the last few years. We are going to have to have to really cut back on spending, which is going to be very hard. What do I tell my kids? From, H.G.
It is little consolation to know that you are not alone during these difficult economic times. However, the fact that many families are going through the same type of stress as your family might make it easier for your children to understand the changes that will have to take place; their friends’ families will most likely be making similar cutbacks.
Although it may be extremely hard to do, look for ways to find the positive aspects of this situation, such as it being an opportunity to teach your child many valuable lessons. Have lots of conversations with your children about money and budgeting. If you have older children, you can discuss the more abstract concept of economics, or you can talk about other times in history when the economy was bad and how it recovered. Most importantly, you can teach your children how to cope with stress and uncertainty in a healthy matter.
You may feel like a bad parent when you suddenly cannot provide the material goods to which your family is accustomed. However, setting limits for children, teaching them to appreciate what they do have, and showing them that they can survive difficult situations are some of the best gifts that you can give them. Here are some ideas for negotiating the tough times ahead so that you emerge from this difficult period as a stronger, healthier family: