While it might be hard to notice and even harder to believe, kids are very perceptive of their parents’ situation. Kids will know when mommy is stressed or when daddy has been having bad days at work. This awareness is all-round, and kids will especially notice when the parents are undergoing stressful financial circumstances such as debt.
Some studies conducted in the recent past have shown that children living in households with significant debt are more likely to act out and display negative behavior. This could be attributed to the stress and anxiety that comes with living in a home riddled with debt. It could also be because the parents are so invested into paying off the debt and figuring a way out of the financial muddle that they forget to pay attention to the kids.
While the studies definitely revealed a pattern, there was no direct cause and effect relationship between debt and behavioral issues in children. What this means is that if you are currently handling debt settlement, it is not a lost cause for your children. There are plenty of steps you can undertake to ensure things are in order.
Involve a financial advisor
Getting out of debt can be an overwhelming journey and you will do well for yourself and your children to involve a professional who has seen it all before. Knowing that you have someone who understand such matters in your corner will help you relax and possibly feel happier. And happy parents have happy children.
Go see a counsellor
Paying off debts is not just a financial affair. There are lots of emotions involved, and with time these can wear you down. If you get to a point where you feel like you need help, by all means seek it. You can ask your GP to recommend low cost counselling options available in your area. There are also credit counselling programs you can easily enroll in for pointers on how to prepare yourself financially, psychologically and even emotionally when taking on your debt head on.
Limit your audience…
Children may not exactly understand what debt is and how it works, but they can pick up on the anxiety you experience when speaking of it. As such, it might be a good idea to steer clear of discussions regarding debt around your kids. If you must talk about it, do so with an adult with whom you can brainstorm ideas with on how to move forward. Your kids may offer a listening ear, but they will not offer much advice on how to tackle your debt!
…but don’t shut them out
Just because you should not talk about debt to your kids doesn’t mean you should pretend it doesn’t exist when you have conversations with them. If they are concerned and bring it up, explain in simple terms what it means. Reassure them that everything is under control and that you can handle it. If you allow them to see that it is a situation that can be overcome, then there will be not cause for alarm or anxiety.