As you can see, in the title I use the “F” word. Now, I want to point out that by using the “F” word, I’m not saying that you – as a parent deep in debt – are a failure. Yet talking to your kids might raise some concerns that you have about how they might perceive you – and the choices you have made. And that’s the tough road I’m going to talk about today.
Years ago, I represented a parent that had difficulty accepting the fact that financially, things were collapsing for their family. One parent had health issues, the other lost their job. All of this took place right after they purchased what they thought was going to be their dream home… that didn’t turn out quite so dreamy.
We tried just about everything to keep going – but the money just was not there. Things were not going to work out. And yes, in hindsight, there were probably some regrettable decisions that they had been made long before they came to see me.
In one of my last meetings with one of the parents, they were sobbing. It was very emotional. They had realized a that point that they would have to tell the kids that they were going to move. That they might have to change schools. And on a very painful level, this parent felt that they had failed. I think above all of the other stuff, that was the most difficult thing that this parent had to grapple with.
In all honestly, I don’t think these parents did fail…something I assured them off many times. You cannot control getting sick, and that’s what happened. You cannot control getting downsized out of a company. You cannot control the increased commuting expenses that take you to a new job that pays less. You cannot always foresee that things don’t go the way you hoped or planned. Life sometimes throws curve balls.
Both of these parents did something that is almost impossible: they tried to maintain the same standard of living they had despite a health crisis, despite a job loss, and despite an increase in day-to-day expenses. That aspect of it is what they did own. They made some regrettable decisions… that may, or may not, have changed what the outcome was for them. But did it mean that they failed?
I think it only confirmed that they are human. All kids – at some point – realize that their parents are just that.
And that is nothing to be ashamed of.
- Talking to your Kids
- Kids Aren’t Stupid (Really)
- Storm Preparation: Talk to Your Kids
- When Parents are in Debt
- Proactive v. Reactive: Start Talking
Tags: Talking to your kids