Ronda Kaysen: Kids are feeling the pain of the recession and it's their teachers who are noticing.
"It's just a change in lifestyle with a lot of kids. That's a big deal, even for adults, but especially when you're young and just developing," Julie Hartline, a school counselor in Smyrna, Georgia, told an AP reporter.
"Currently my mother's brother lives in the house with us, so it's all chaos and catastrophe," said 15-year-old Chom. "My dad is getting grouchier by the moment."
Kids are being uprooted and moved to new cities and schools without much warning. For children with learning or behavioral disabilities, it can cause serious problems in the classroom.
"Mobility is one of the main things that hinders student achievement," said Anna Leon, a school counselor. One little girl arrived at her school a week before standardized testing began.
"She was lost," said Leon. "We have her in a group, we're doing one-on-one counseling with her, and we're talking to the teacher so the teacher can support the parent."
There are things parents can do to help make stressful times easier for kids. First, be careful about what you tell them and what things they overhear. With younger kids, avoid discussing financial struggles or looming unemployment in front of them; it just creates anxiety. If your children are older, explain to them that some things are beyond their control (and yours, too), and it's not their responsibility to fix the problems.
"They'll only know you're unhappy and worried and will feel helpless to help you," said Washington Elementary School Principal Bob Amburn in an April newsletter to parents.
If your family has been hit hard by the recession, what are some things you've done to make it easier on your kids?
|Ronda Kaysen is a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, BusinessWeek.com, Architectural Record, Huffington Post, New York Observer and AM New York. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.|