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Children and the current financial environment

 
 
chai2
 
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 10:27 am
Listening to a woman being interview on the radio the the other day. It was actually a followup story.

She'd been interview a few weeks before, and she was thinking she was going to lose her home, unless she got this new job.

Well, good news, she got the job. She said the her son asked her "Does this mean we get to keep the house?"

I don't know the age of the son, but he was obviously concerned enough to understand and worry.

Kids worry about stuff, whether they express it or not. We all know a child may blame themselves for parents spliting up, although they most likely had nothing to do with it. I'll bet they also worry that they had something to do with a parent losing a job, again, not their fault. But, do kids worry about how things they want, but not really need impacts the family's amount of debt?

I find I don't worry nearly as much when I feel I'm doing something about a situation, having some control over an outcome.

What I'm getting at is empowering children, even young ones with a feeling they are helping the family unit "keep the house"

I see teens working part time jobs, and I get the impression they are doing it to save up for something for themselves, or for spending money.

People who are in financial straits right now could probably make a go of it if they had just a couple/few hundered extra coming in a month. If kids who are working are keeping it all for themselves, isn't that not teaching the concept of group effort for the family? If they are not working a part time job, why can't they if it would mean their family making it? If they engage in extra-curricular activities, can this be stopped and the kid do something instead that will help out?

Little one's doing their share...by giving up getting something.

I'm not talking about child labor, like sweat shops.

But is it only supposed to be non-work activities that are taught to be enjoyable? Work can be fun and satisfying for anyone.

Years ago, I had several conversations with a really remarkable woman. But she wouldn't have thought so. I'll let you decided.

Her husband was in the military during WWII. Her and her young son were holding up the home front.
During the summer when the boy was no more than 7 or 8, he would go out at night with mom and dig up nightcrawlers. Then, he would ride his bike around during the day morning, making the deliveries and picking up orders for the next day.

This woman had such pride in her eyes when she said "If it wasn't for my son, we wouldn't have made it" I remember commenting "you were quite a team, you have a good son"

Her reply was "yes, he is a good man" I was impressed that she referred to her now grown son as a man....getting the impression she didn't mean just today, but back then. I met her son shortly thereafter, and the bond between the 2 of them was amazing. I have no doubt part of it was because they were both responsible for making things work out. Yesterday, today and tomorrow.

He definately did not look like his work during childhood had been detrimental to him in any way.

Does anyone have stories to share, or your opinion?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 1,290 • Replies: 11
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CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 10:48 am
Just yesterday my daughter told me of her best friends (Jenn) situation.
Jenn is 13 years old, has two younger siblings (sister is 11, brother 6),
her parents are divorced and have had joint custody. Recently, the mother was
laid off from her job and now has asked the father to take over custody as she
cannot make ends meet. She also started smoking and drinking and has a new
boyfriend who seems to be oblivious to the kids.

In a way, the socioeconomic environment is better for the kids living
with their father, however, he's very involved in his profession and
Jenn was pushed into the role of mothering her two younger siblings. Jenn
would have liked to stay with the mother, despite Mom's problems, as she
at least can be kid there, and I also think that the kids got more emotional
nourishment from the Mom as they do from their Dad. I am sure, he loves
them, but he's far more concerned about their financial welfare.

My heart goes out to the kids, and I do hope the mother will get back on
her feet so she can opt for joint custody again.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 11:54 am
@chai2,
Not quite as powerful as yours, however, this is very recent and personal - like right now.

Last week my husband heard his grandmom (whom we all love to death) was very ill. Actually we knew she was ill for the past several months - she has cancer which is not treatable. Any way we thought and hoped she would have enough time so we could all visit her this summer. Then last week, we find out she was so ill the doctors didn't think she would last much longer. I told my husband he needed to go see her - not that he needed much prompting, so we arranged a flight for the next day. Being so expensive with such short notice, we could only afford to send him.

So I am left for a week and a half with a demanding job (I am on my lunch break now) during a very busy time and two kids with full schedules. We talked with our daughters about it all of course. My older daughter (10) has been a dream. She has really stepped up and been very cooperative - I don't have to force her to do her homework, go to bed, get up in the morning, etc. And she has offerred to make lunches and clean up.

Fortunately for grandmom she has felt a bit better and hubby is now helping them move to an assisted living arangement and helping with all their finances and stuff like that. So we are still hoping to be there in the summer to see her.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 01:54 pm
@Linkat,
sorry to hear about your husbands grandma.

what I was more curious about though, are your feelings about saying to children, past a certain age, in so many words ....things are tight, it would really help the family right now if you could contribute a portion of your earnings from a part time job. Or I don't want your schoolwork to suffer, but if you were interested in getting a job a few hours a week, it would make things easier around here.

In other times in history, people 15 or 16 were married, working, etc. If the adults are having a hard time supporting the family, and the help they could get from their kids could make the difference between getting by or losing the house, I think they should be encouraged to pitch in.
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 02:19 pm
Encouraged to chip in...Well, yeah. I think that happens today, just as in the past, in more cases than you are thinking it does. I know a lot of kids that are pitching in, contributing or cutting back as needed and that is mainly among upper middle class kids, not just those that are in dire straights.

chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 02:24 pm
@squinney,
I'm glad to hear that squinny.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 02:25 pm
My wife worked at a low-SES school before heading to graduate school. Lots of kids there dropped out in order to work and help support the family.

I heard an interesting article on NPR a couple of years ago about a psychologist investigating how it affects kids to be involved in adult-level transactions. It was focused on immigration issues, and kids that were expected to help non-English speaking parents negotiate (for example) automobile purchases.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 02:26 pm
And I know families that are cutting back on extra-curricular activities.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 02:27 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:

My wife worked at a low-SES school before heading to graduate school. Lots of kids there dropped out in order to work and help support the family.

I heard an interesting article on NPR a couple of years ago about a psychologist investigating how it affects kids to be involved in adult-level transactions. It was focused on immigration issues, and kids that were expected to help non-English speaking parents negotiate (for example) automobile purchases.


so, how did it effect them?
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 02:50 pm
@chai2,
My one thought on that is - I probably would and even in a not so tough time it might be a good thing. But I would be sneaky about it (in a positive way of course). I've thought about this once they were working age - contribute say some small amount to the household and then you save it for them without them knowing and it give it to them when they graduate high school for college or something similar.

Sort of a way to teach responsibility, but I would not feel right about taking their money. I guess I was comparing her stepping up in what I explained as a way of taking responsibility.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 02:50 pm
@squinney,
Also, once I graduated from college and still lived at home, I contributed to the household.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 03:00 pm
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:
so, how did it effect them?

This was a discussion of the study and why it was needed, but they had not finished the study or gotten any results yet.
0 Replies
 
 

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