Global Economic Downturn: Raising Children in Hard Times
Before we all crossed over into the year 2016, we all did notice the trend of the world economy. Before we finished comprehending it, the job losses hit at the doors of families. In most families, the focus had been on the bread winners or the main source of income that has lost his or her job, or businesses that have taken a down turn.
The questions, I bring to us at this time are; how are the children in these families affected by job losses coping with the situation? How has it impacted their daily lives in terms of provision of basic comfort, extra-curricular activities, emotions and their behaviors?
When there is decrease in income in families, most times children’s extra-curricular activities like football, piano lessons, karate, dance, swimming, birthday celebrations; name it are most times the first set of costs to be cut.
In most homes, children are told that their parents cannot afford to pay for these activities at this time. There are also some families where no one, I say not a single person explains to the children what is going on and the reason for stopping them from attending their activities.
Children get hurt when adults around them treat them in a way that makes them feel they do not matter. Therefore in this season, what can we do to ensure that our children do not feel resentful towards us as parents? There a few thoughts:
- Let the children know that the economy is going through a crisis and their parents may not have the great jobs that they have always had.
- Let them know that God will provide another job and as a parent whatever God provides, you will do, in order to continue to look after them.
- Let them know that it may need cutting down some expenses; starting with you the parents and let them see how you have cut down your own expenses e.g. shopping for new clothes, shoes and bags.
- Ask for their input on how as a family you can cut down your expenses and stay on a lesser budget.
- Ask them what you can all do daily to save costs e.g. turning off lights in their rooms when they are not there, jointly making lunch for school instead of buying school lunch, going to one activity a week instead of attending four which they used to do when the economy was in a boom.
- Do some outdoor activities with them. Go for walks together, build a snow man together if it snows in your environment, and dance together. The children will always remember that their parents played with them more when they lost their jobs.
- There is a tendency to isolate from the children when parents are struggling financially. But, to the children, this is a time to reaffirm your love for them. You don’t want them to take on your sadness and gloomy face, thinking they are the cause of your job loss or your struggles. In their minds, “dads are as strong as a lion” and as “happy as a jolly Santa” at all times.
- Being honest with yourselves as partners will help you as a family to succeed in this time of storm, instead of bottling up your stress and eventually yell or have an outburst at each other. When you have an outburst, your children are watching and they will not understand. In their minds, it will be; “why are dad and mom always fighting”.
- If you are raising your children alone in this economic climate, reach out and ask for support from friends, extended family, churches, community centres etc. it takes a community to raise a child.
- Above all pray and ask your children to lead prayers sometimes. You will be amazed to how that they will pray, asking God to bless their parent / parents.
So, how is your current financial situation impacting your children’s behaviors? Let’s share in your experiences!