It happens to everyone at one time or another. Whether you walk, or get pushed out, the loss of a job can be frustrating and scary for one – it can be devastating for the head of a household. While it may seem that keeping the truth from your children is a good short-term solution (especially if you are hopeful that a new job is right around the corner), kids should be given credit for being the tiny – and brilliant — people that they are. Here are some less painful ways to share the news and bring a positive outlook to the situation.
photo credit: John McNab
Tell them Promptly
Delaying the announcement that you’ve been laid off will just cause the children to learn about it in other ways. Take a day or two, if you need it, to get your head straight, then plan a time to let them know that there will be some temporary changes concerning your work. The only thing worse than finding out that your Mom or Dad lost their job is to find out from a friend at school or another blabber-mouthed adult.
Keep It Simple
The more general you can be with your delivery, the better. You can say that you are no longer employed with XYZ company, or that you decided to look for another opportunity in your field. You don’t have to share details of why you left, including the bad terms that you may have left under. Kids don’t need your drama, as they are not equipped to handle it.
Kids life to feel like they can manage the situation as much as you do, and even though they aren’t personally responsible for the day-to-day finances, they may feel like their care and feeding may be burdensome. This is the time to remind them that they are a blessing, that you will always have enough to keep them safe, and that there are ways they can help, if they want.
Let them pitch in with chores that may have been outsourced: lawn mowing, gutter cleaning, and babysitting. Keep a tight reign on the extras, but reassure them that things like dinners out and extra allowance may return someday. Prepare them to live a full life without the extras, however, in the event that the budget stays tight for some time.
Use it as a Teachable Moment
Perhaps the best things that can come out of your job loss are some unexpected teachable moments. Keep your kids keen on the importance of family time, team work, hope, commitment, and solid financial principles. Use your experience to better prepare them for their futures, one where job loss may happen. Hopefully, if they are taught well, it won’t cripple their own families, either.
Have you lost a job? How did you share it with your children, and how did they respond?