Having the 'economy talk' with your kids - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Having the 'economy talk' with your kids

By Alex Zequeira email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Worried about your child finding out that 'times are tough'? Well, you're not alone.

An increasing number of parents are finding themselves constantly worrying about how to tell their children "no" when it comes to spending money.

Here are some tips from the experts about what parents need to know when trying to help their children understand the economic crisis.

They say it is important to help children understand the economic crisis, and it's also important to know the do's and don'ts when it comes to having that 'economy talk'.

"It's not a surprise that when mom or dad are worried about if they're going to have a job next week or tomorrow, that that worry is being transmitted to their children," said Dr. Elaine Rotenberg of the Jewish Family Children's Service Center in West Palm Beach.

It appears to be happening all too often. Rotenberg says the signs to look out for are: sudden changes in behavior and difficulty eating or sleeping. All of them side effects of a stressful home life.

"They hear their parents fighting yelling and screaming. You know, even if you think you're behind closed doors, the kids know what is happening," said Sara Trosty Walsch, a social worker with JFCS.

And knowing, in some cases, is causing some children to internalize their concerns. "They're feeling very insecure. They're feeling very worried, and they're feeling guilty. Even if they need cloths or items that are appropriate for children to have, they're feeling guilty about that."

So what should parents do? Experts say, it depends on a child's age. If the child is young, a simple, 'No, we can't afford that right now,' typically does it.

But for older children, it's okay to be more open about financial struggles. Something Marc Hoffman, a single parent with a 13-year-old teenaged girl, learned not too long ago. "It's not the greatest feeling in the world for me to have to do that, and it hurts me a lot to tell her that we can't afford things. But, it's just the basic facts of things that I have to tell her."

But, child experts say, the best way to approach the subject is to look on the bright side of things. "I think it's a good time to learn about tough life lessons, about what it's like for a family to come together and deal with crisis and problem solve," Walsch concluded.

If you're still no sure how to approach the economy topic with your children, the Jewish Family Children's Service Center is offering the public free support group services to help folks deal with strong emotions during this economic crisis.

For more information about these services, you can visit their Web site.

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