Children and Hard Times

Economic news remains dire these days, and unemployment continues to affect many families. But, since the end of the Second World War in the mid-twentieth century, money and economic conditions are an aspect of life that adults have usually stopped sharing with children.
These are hard things to explain at any age; we all struggle with tough questions about the difficulties of life and society. Current economic conditions have brought this closer to home for all of us. Having to explain them to our children is a challenge that gives us a chance to think about these issues and what we feel for ourselves.
There doesn’t seem to be much out there about the impact of job instability and economic uncertainty on children. We do know that uncertainty and change ordinarily make children worry. When times are very tough, children may sense the trouble, but adults, wishing to shield them and preoccupied with their own worries, may not think to talk about these matters.
We don’t think the solution is to avoid teaching children about reality. Shielding them just makes things worse. Rather we suggest that parents find ways to tell children about the world while reassuring them about their love, care, and protection. This is an opportunity to teach more about a number of things that will help as children take their place in the wider world.
How adults provide for children is a very good example of cause and effect, a basic principle that children have to master in many contexts. Here, for instance, you can explain about why grownups work. “Moms and Dads go to work to earn money, so that we can pay for the electricity that gives us light, and buy food at the market so we can have your favorite nachos, and have a place to live, and clothes and shoes.” It is important for children to know that the things they need don’t just appear – their parents provide them with money they work hard to earn. “Children go to school to learn things they will use for working later.” This gives them an idea of how they can be effective when they grow up, a good ideal to strive for.
It’s important to say that “Sometimes, no matter how much a parent may want to work, jobs are lost, or may be hard to find.” This is an opportunity to explain about saving money, why parents make choices so that they will be able to have savings. This is a chance to foster the growth of emotional muscle around the idea that choosing means getting something, and also giving something up. When do we think it’s worth having something right now and when is it worth giving up the immediate pleasure for the sake of something later? These are the ideas behind learning the practical realities of how money works, how we save up for something desired, how we tolerate waiting.
The preschool years are not too early to begin learning about these things. You can use bills and coins (coins work well because there are lots of them) to show your child how much it costs to have supper at a restaurant and how much it would cost to eat at home. Count out the difference. Maybe even put those coins in a glass jar and suggest that “every time we eat at home instead of going out we can save up that many dimes.”
Working as a family to understand these ideas allows parents to talk more about how they look for solutions to these challenges. “We keep trying to figure out ways to make ends meet.” Parents can describe how they are looking for another job or going back to school to learn new skills, so that there is some hope to offer children.
The idea of savings offers hope, but thoughtful children may realize that savings are finite. Then parents can explain with practical examples how they will manage, for instance, “I can work on my old car to help it go for another year, instead of buying a new one; I can get out my woodworking tools and make toys.”
In our book EMOTIONAL MUSCLE: STRONG PARENTS, STRONG CHILDREN we describe a group of parents who supported each other through a terrible economic recession. They said to their children, “Don’t forget - when people in our town need something, everyone helps. If we ever needed food, there would be friends and neighbors who would make sure we had enough. We will make sure that you always have what you need.”

This entry was posted in character, children's needs, emotional muscle, honesty, mastery, parent-child relationship, society/culture, values and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Children and Hard Times

  1. Spot on with this write-up, I truly suppose this website needs much more consideration. I’ll most likely be once more to learn far more, thanks for that info.

  2. This is actually a terrific piece of content! I’ve truly bookmarked it and mailed this out to many of my friends as I know they are interested, thank you very much!

  3. Kam Pedrotti says:

    This is really a brilliant piece of writing! We have book-marked it and posted it out to many of my friends mainly because I know they are going to curious, thank you very much!

  4. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

  5. Hello! I simply would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great data you’ve right here on this post. I might be coming back to your weblog for extra soon.

  6. Issac Maez says:

    Hello there, You’ve done an excellent job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

  7. This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your fantastic post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks!

  8. That is a great piece of writing! I have bookmarked it and mailed this out to pretty much all of my buddies as I know they should be curious, thank you very much!

  9. I’ve been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

  10. I’m very happy to read this. This is the kind of info that needs to be given and not the accidental misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.

  11. Hi great webpage. My wife and I had been longing for this data all afternoon and it is good that you possess it. Kudos. Furthermore, I book-marked your web site for potential use.

  12. so much wonderful details on here, : D.

  13. Brenda says:

    I actually found your site through a blogroll on a different website, and have enjoyed poring over several of your posts. Though Children and Hard Times | Emotional Muscle has been my favoriteso far! I have added your rss feed and aim on coming back to see what you write about next.

  14. This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post. Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

  15. Sup fantastic web site. My partner and I were longing for this information all afternoon and it is very good that you have got it. Thanks. Additionally, I book-marked your web page for potential use.

  16. hmb says:

    Thanks for another excellent article. Where else could anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I’m on the look for such info.

  17. We’re a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with valuable information to work on. You have done a formidable job and our whole community will be thankful to you.

  18. Baby Reading says:

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading? I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  19. farmville says:

    I love 2 read buildemotionalmuscle.com !
    farmville hack

  20. Its great as your other content : D, appreciate it for putting up.

  21. węglowodany says:

    I really like your writing style, wonderful information, thanks for posting : D.

  22. We have more to fear from the bungling of the incompetent than from the machinations of the wicked.

  23. I see a lot of quality content in buildemotionalmuscle.com !
    how to make money online

  24. Im impressed, I must say. Quite rarely do I come across a weblog thats each informative and entertaining, and let me let you know, youve hit the nail on the head. Your blog is crucial; the concern is some thing that not adequate men and women are talking intelligently about. Im seriously happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this problem.

  25. Tribulusy says:

    I’ve been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this blog. Thanks , I will try and check back more often. How frequently you update your website?

Leave a Reply