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The Recession Hurts Kids

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Ronda Kaysen: Kids are feeling the pain of the recession and it's their teachers who are noticing.

kid sad at school

Children whose families have lost their jobs or have had to move because of financial stress are suffering at school and dealing with more stress than ever, reports the Associated Press.

"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.

When Sophea Chom's dad was laid off from his computer job in Boise, Idaho, home life got very crowded.

"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?

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
MarcomMom June 1, 2009, 2:35 PM

I try to make our attempts to save money on household items and food kind of an empowering thing. We can shop smarter, use coupons, buy frozen chicken breasts and thaw them when we need to. I was also open when my husband lost his job (he’s freelancing quite a bit now, so it’s not as bad as it could have been) and told her that #1) Mommy and Daddy will always take care of you and #2) Daddy had been wanting a new job for awhile so this was actualy good news and #3) everything would absolutely turn out fine, but it might be awhile before everything settled down. She’s nine, and the kind of kid who needs to know what’s happening.

MarcomMom June 1, 2009, 2:41 PM

By the way, I do know how to spell “actually.” :)

Immobilier Bretagne March 6, 2011, 2:12 PM

WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..extra wait .. …

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