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You, Your Kids, and the Downturn 3.4.09

There are two words on everyone's mind and at the top of all the news tickers: financial downturn. Regardless of your financial situation, you may be feeling some stress, and, if you're not careful, your stress can morph into your family's stress.

Instead of b eing controlled by fear and passing that anxiety on to your kids (they can usually sense it), take the initiative and talk to your children about these economic times, and take the opportunity to pass on some financial advice they'll be able to use down the road.

Talk to your kids. Be honest (though you don't need to share personal financial information) about your situation. Ask your kids if they have questions or fears about all the rumors and news they hear. Ask them if they've seen the impact in their friends' families.

Reassure them. Let them know that, regardless of financial upheaval, you love them and care for them and will do everything in your power to provide for them. Even during times of stress, communicate with words, actions, and time that they are what you value most in your life.

Put your advice into practice. Explain to them the purpose and use of a budget. Help them see that money must be earned before it is spent. Encourage your kids to complete chores around the house for extra spending money, or, if they're old enough, help them find a part-time or summer job. Walk them through making smart purchasing decisions, as well as saving toward a future goal. Best of all, communicate that those are lessons they'll have to apply later in life.

For more information, check out this article with additional ideas on lowering financial stress.

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