Financial stress is one of the top concerns for today's parents.
The following are 10 facts about the financial condition of American families.....
#1 Only 58 percent of Americans have a job right now.
#2 Only 56 percent of Americans are currently covered by employer-provided health insurance.
#3 The median yearly wage in the United States is $26,261.
#4 The average American household is carrying $75,600 in debt.
#5 Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
#6 At this point, American families are approximately 7.7 trillion dollars poorer than they were back in early 2007.
#7 The poorest 50% of all Americans now own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.
#8 According to one study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010.
#9 Today, there are more than 44 million Americans on food stamps, and nearly half of them are children.
#10 According to Newsweek, close to 20 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 54 do not have a job at the moment.
Parents Like to THINK They Can Buffer This Stress From Their Kids
But They Are Only Fooling Themselves
Critical Steps Parents Can Take
The top Idea to recognize-kids pick up a LOT more information than you realize. They pick up on subtle signs, even though they don't completely understand the concept of finances.
So if you need to have a difficult and emotional conversation with your spouse regarding finances, do it when the kids are not around. And waiting until the kids go to bed probably won't work. (If you ever were a kid who heard your parents have a heated discussion while you were in bed, you know what I mean.)
Avoid those off handed remarks that give the clues to kids that things are in trouble. Don't make remarks like, "We'll roof the house next year, IF we still HAVE this house!" Children's basic concrete understanding of life may lead them to think they will be homeless tomorrow.
Have a Simple, Yet Honest Talk With Your Kids
Include your kids in some of the discussions related to your financial situation. Be honest while giving them the facts in simple terms. Talk about how there is less money available than there used to be. Talk about some changes you will be making in terms of what you buy and what you do.
By using the right words and demonstrating an action plan, you can demonstrate the confidence you and your children need to face financial stress. . . So be positive!
Remember that parents are the core of their children's universe. And they will reflect the emotions and actions they see demonstrated in you.
- Reassure children that they will have a place to live and enough to eat, and you will be with them. Use this time to point out that the love of your family is what is constantly surrounding them. You might think this is obvious, but kids need to hear these things clearly stated.
- Include your children in brainstorming ideas to save money. For example, would they enjoy homemade pizza night instead of going out to a restaurant? How about having breakfast for dinner? Have them think of inexpensive entertainment ideas, like family movie night with a DVD and popcorn, game night, or having friends over for a potluck dinner. Talk about gifts you might make rather than buy. Approach this as a fun challenge, almost a competition to find ways to save, yet have fun.
- Look for signs of stress in your child.
Talk to your child's doctor if your efforts to reassure him or her aren't helping.
- increased moodiness
- less interest in activities he usually enjoys
- changes in eating/sleeping patterns
- academic or behavioral problems
- aches and pains, especially headaches and stomachaches, that don't seem to have a medical explanation. (It's important to get any complaint checked out, though, before you attribute it to stress.)
Don't get me wrong - financial stress is not anything to take lightly. It truly is a big burden to parents when faced with a financial downturn. But it is critical to recognize the abundance of riches found in being a family. Your family can actually become closer in finding a way to handle financial difficulties. That is the way to help your children learn how to take positive action in their own lives!
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