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How to broach the topic of financial crisis with children

How many times have your children asked for a treat or toy at the store when you've had to say "No" because you barely had enough money for the groceries in your cart? You are certainly not the first parent in Brunswick to face serious financial trouble. The question is: How do you tell your kids? (Or, should you?)

That was then, this is now

Decades ago, New Jersey parents would never even have considered talking about personal money issues with their children. You may have grown up in the era when children were "seen and not heard" or "silent unless spoken to by an adult" -- those days are long gone. You've probably raised your own children in a much more open-discussion type fashion. It's not uncommon for parents today to discuss work, education, sex, politics and any number of other formerly taboo subjects with their kids.

What kids want most

Many parents think their children only want the latest, greatest, whatever-the-trend-is product on the market. As a matter of fact, there may indeed be some children who are more materialistic than others. However, some parents may be surprised to learn that studies show kids want the following most of all:

  • Stability
  • Security
  • To feel that they are loved and accepted
  • To have their basic needs met
  • To know that someone cares

You've probably already noticed that money is not listed. It goes without saying money is important within a certain context in life. If you have found yourself on extremely unstable financial ground, discussing the matter and potential solutions with your children may be the route you determine is best. If so, you may want to keep the following in mind:

  • Children take their cues from parents. If you appear worried, they will too. Trying to remain calm and speaking in positive, hopeful terms may give them confidence that everything will be okay.
  • By researching various forms of immediate debt relief, such as different types of bankruptcy, you may wind up deciding that you can navigate the situation without ever mentioning it to your children. Depending on which type of debt relief you choose, it may or may not be possible to proceed without telling them more than you want them to know.
  • Including children in basic discussions regarding a family financial crisis may inspire them to learn more about how to gain financial stability and how to address any money problems that do arise in their own adult lives.

No need to go it alone

Once you've decided one way or the other as to whether to let your children know about your financial problems, you can then take steps to rectify the situation. Some people find that downsizing is a means to help stabilize their finances; others determine a need for requesting debt relief.

If creditors are breathing down your back, your phone is ringing off the hook and the pile of unpaid bills is getting higher and higher, you may want to discuss the situation with a skilled attorney who can provide guidance and effective representation should you choose to file for bankruptcy. An experienced attorney understands the sensitive nature of such circumstances. By acting alongside such assistance, you can obtain positive solutions and get back to enjoying life with your children.

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