So much has happened in the few weeks that I’ve been missing in action. Nothing major, just life and the different realities that creep up on you leaving you wondering where time went! Anyway I’m back with so many things I’d like to discuss but so that I’m not accused of dumping, I’ll just address one of the issues that has been playing around in my mind and that is financial realities and how we can get our children to adjust.
No matter how wealthy one is, you can’t claim not to be aware of the current hard economic realities even if the only way it affects you is that now more than ever you’re inundated by many more people who need one form of financial assistance or the other be it a job or direct monetary help. Times are calling for people to tighten their expenses and focus on creating real value for which people are willing to exchange their cash for. Unfortunately with kids, depending on their ages, it takes a lot longer for them to understand that the “party is winding down” and certain “excesses” have to be curbed. So how do we break it to them as “kindly” and realistically as we can? How do we tell a child who’s been used to traveling abroad for the summer holidays every year, that its not likely to happen? Or in some cases, that they may have to change schools as the family can no longer afford the fees in their current school? Tough – right? It sure is!
Honestly, while I may not have all the answers, here are a few tips to help tide over “hard times”.
- Have faith in God – even the US dollar reminds us that it is “in God we trust”. Tough times often provide the best opportunities to teach our children lessons on faith.
- Learn to say “No”. If it’s not a life or death situation, never allow the “fear” of your children’s reaction pressure you into doing what is not in the best interest of the family e.g. going into debt.
- Don’t be negative and please do not take out the stress or frustration you feel on them.
- Be honest about your financial situation but let the conversation be age appropriate. Avoid overloading children with details that might confuse and scare them.
- Answer their questions as honestly as possible.
- Recognize and seize the teachable moments. Times like this present perfect opportunities for your children to learn a valuable lesson about money – budgeting, saving, bills, and money management.
- Creatively look for low cost, fun activities that you can do as a family.
How you handle things sets the tone for your children so remain positive, remember and let your children know – “tough times don’t last but tough people do.” No matter how bleak the situation may seem there is always hope.