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Front Page » April 2, 2009 » Carbon County News » Understanding a parents layoff
Published 2,381 days ago

Understanding a parents layoff

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If your mother or father has been laid off, it can make the economic crisis that so many people have been talking about really hit home.

A layoff can be a nerve-wracking experience for any family. There are many questions circling, and as a member of the family you may wonder just what you can do to help out.

Families who stick together are better able to weather any storm, be it a financial situation or another challenge facing the household. By sitting down together, you can come up with joint ideas how to best cope with the layoff.

•Expect that the layoff will require a big shift in spending. Depending upon an number of factors, including the amount of savings or "rainy day" funds, a layoff will result in curbed spending. Every penny has to be accounted for, and mom and dad will be looking for ways to reduce expenses. Some of the luxuries to which you've grown accustomed will have to be sidelined indefinitely. These may include cable television, mobile phone plans, or vacations. You may have to make sacrifices on clothing allowances or extracurricular activities if they put a considerable dent in the budget.

•Mom and dad may seem on edge. With the weight of responsibility on their shoulders, your parents may be stressed considerably and wondering what choices will be the best for their family. While they certainly may not mean to, your parents may seem angry or snippety when you approach them on occasion. Realize that this probably has nothing to do with you, but rather the weight of finding a job and making sure the bills continue to be paid. If you lead by example with an upbeat attitude, you may help to inspire your parents to think positively as well.

•Consider talking to younger siblings. Every member of the family may feel the impact of a job loss. However, it could be difficult for mom and dad to convey their feelings to a younger child. Step up to the plate and let your kindergarten- or preschool-aged brother or sister know a little of what is going on. Make sure your conversation is age-appropriate. All they may need to know is that mom or dad is not working, but they will continue to be safe and loved.

•Figure out other ways you may be able to help. Are you old enough for a part-time job where you can contribute your paycheck to the family? Can you talk to kids at school to see if their parents know of any job opportunities for your folks? Can you think of money-saving techniques, such as carpooling, shorter showers, clipping coupons, etc. with which you can help your family?

•It's okay to feel angry. As the child you expect to be taken care of, and a layoff that upsets the lifestyle that you've known can elicit anger. You may wonder why your parent was chosen over another. You may even blame your parent for the family's misfortune. All of these feelings are justified. However, letting anger take control too long will do nothing to help your family. Talking about how you feel with your parents -- and learning that they may feel the same way -- can help everyone reach an emotional resolution.

•Understand that you are not alone. There are thousands upon thousands of families going through just what you are experiencing right now. Other kids are looking for answers and feeling the very same emotions. You may be able to go online and blog about your experiences, or visit a chat room where other kids are discussing their financial concerns. Who knows, you may learn some tips that can help your family cope much better.

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April 2, 2009
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