Being laid off from one’s job is stressful enough. But for parents with children still living at home, losing one’s job is even more stressful. Many parents wonder: How do I talk to my child about this?
As we’ve learned from other events that blanketed the
24-hour news cycle, kids do pick up on what is going on in the world.
And we know that children talk to one another, often sharing concerns
with friends; concerns they may not address at home.
a parent loses a job, this may leave a child feeling insecure and
frightened. Some concerns children have are: Will we lose our house or
have to move? If we move, how will I see my friends? Will I still be
able to go to college? Be aware, too, that young children sometimes
feel they are responsible for situations over which they have no
control. Many psychologists and social workers suggest using a
straightforward approach, with age-appropriate language.
Some of the issues* you may want to discuss with your children about being laid off are:
- Tell your child what happened. Do not pretend you are still going to work each day.
- Avoid words like “fired” – that may scare a young child – or “laid off – he or she may not understand that concept.
your children that everything will be okay. Tell them, "This is what
the family is going to be doing about it." Kids need to feel secure
that parents are “in charge.”
- Allow your children to ask questions, and be sure to ask them questions, too.
truthful, but keep speculation about relocation or downsizing to a
minimum. While these possibilities might be in your future, it is
better to talk about them if and when they will happen.
- If the job loss means lifestyle changes, be sure to include the kids in this discussion.
Something to think about...
- Be attuned to your child’s behavior. If he or she seem to be “hovering,” this may be a sign of anxiousness.
- Has your child begun experiencing nightmares? This, too, may be a sign of anxiousness.
- See this situation an as opportunity to teach older children about managing finances.
*Prior to the family discussion, meet with your spouse or partner and discuss the specific details you will share with the children.
"Each child is an adventure into a better life, an opportunity to change the old pattern and make it new." -Hubert H. Humphrey
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