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The Economic Crisis and Your Kids

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How do you explain to your kids that you just can't afford what they want?

boy with money

Tread carefully. Although we want to educate our children about what's happening right now, we certainly don't want to scare them. To find out how to talk to our kids about what's happening in our world, momlogic assembled a panel of financial industry moms. They came up with some pretty interesting and insightful ways to talk to your kids about why we all need to tighten the belt right now -- and why that trip to Toys R' Us will just have to wait. Remember, just like that sex talk you've been putting off -- this is something you want your kids to learn about from you, not the television.

1. Watch "Kit Kittridge: An American Girl" with your kids. The film takes place in the Depression -- and can help kids better understand the difficult time we are in right now.

2. Stress the importance of savings. If your kids are begging you for a new toy, start saving for it together. They'll get a kick out of seeing those coins add up to dollars.

3. Donate to charity. Go through old toys and closets together. Explain to your kids why it's so important to give to those who are in need.

4. Monitor television watching. The evening news is filled with some pretty scary gloom and doom stories. We want our kids to be informed, not scared to death.

 5. Be honest. If you need to put in more hours, as many of us do, explain that it's important for you to get that extra work done but you will still make it home as soon as you can.

next: Get Sex and the City (Style, That Is)
7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Albert Maruggi  September 26, 2008, 1:15 PM

I have five childern, ages 18 - 10, one in college the rest in Catholic schools.

We add stuff for them, like groceries, tuition, etc.

Then I sometimes give them the choice, we can either eat home or spend $25 on Mc, but that $20 can go to pay for cable TV or something like that.

I think it makes them consider what is important, at least for a while.

Nice post and tweet

Xicanista September 26, 2008, 1:57 PM

I have a very simple way of handling this question. I say, “No. We can’t afford.”

Why is poverty or scarcity something we should protect our children from? Billions of people grow up with so little so no one is doing their kid harm if they tell them they can’t have another toy or an extra outting to Chuck E. Cheese.

The privilege of being middle class is the ability to sometimes (not always) say “yes”.

Catisha September 26, 2008, 6:58 PM

I teach a youth group of about 20 children every friday night, I was really looking for a way to talk with them about the crisis, how it affects them, the current presidential election, the economic crisis, fuel crisis in our region I feel that it is important to give children a chance to know learn and to speak about the problems and to discuss way to correct them but i would like to know how to do this from a childs point of view can anybody give some suggestions?

Curtis September 26, 2008, 9:52 PM

And on the way home from watching the American Girl movie, you can stop by a store and buy some of the astronomically priced merchandise for your salivating youngster!

cara September 26, 2008, 10:34 PM

This is why we are in this perdicament….no one wants to be honest. Suger coat it, suger coat it, bulls**t! Stop buying crap, tell your kids they don’t need it. Just the other day I was taking my dog and my two youngest to hike in our county park. To get there you have to drive through the ghetto. My son pointed out some young girls, about 9 yrs old in age, who had taken an old plastic shopping bag and it looked like thy filled it with other bags, AND THEY MADE THEIR ON TEATHER-BALL!!!!! I turned to my son and said,” you see what happens when you don’t have, you get creative.” (I have just chucked the xbox, the ipod - so I, up until then had heard a lot of, there’s nothing to do, I’m bored!!)

Be honest. There is little we really need, and you moms should know that. Aside from our kids and having them, no matter how irritating they are, safely resting their heads, under our roof…..what else is there? Maybe some moms need to get their priorities straight before they can set their kids straight. It can be done, but it may just be painful. Oh, and don’t ever be afraid to tell your kids NO. (and you don’t even need a reason, just No - and if they get all crazy, just channel Whitney Housten and tell them “Kiss my *ss!”) We have lost what our quest is. It’s not to have our kids be the best dressed,or the most popular in high school, but rather decent, functioning, proper and kind, adult, human beings…..and we forgot that somewhere along the line.

Charle September 28, 2008, 12:05 AM

If you have been parenting correctly from the start, there is no need to suagrcoat things from your children. I tell my children that I will always purchase what they NEED, wants are just that….wants. If you really want it, then we have to come up with a way to earn it.

Maria Elena August 15, 2009, 1:21 AM

From a teen’s point of view, parents should be open with their children and teen about the recession and how it is affecting them and their lifestyle. A lot of teens aren’t aware of how it is affecting them and would be much more understanding about cutting back if they were kept in the loop. I write for a parenting blog called Radical Parenting where teens write about issues from our perspective. Another intern wrote about how the recession is affecting teens, here’s the link:

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