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March Monthly Tip
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March Monthly Tip

In this time of extreme economic stress, it is difficult to leave the problems of the economy off the kitchen table. Children surely notice the increased stress of their parents during the financial crisis and may be experiencing their own stress as a result.

While open communication between parents and their children is the foundation of a healthy relationship, parents should not overburden their children. Instead, address problems at age-appropriate levels. For example, what a parent might tell a younger child about the family’s financial situation is different from what they might tell an adolescent; young children may interpret the situation as more dire than it actually is. Older children and teens will be more exposed to the news—listening to their thoughts on the economy and its implications for the family can be reassuring.

Pay attention to symptoms of stress in your children: sleep and appetite changes, nightmares, or avoidance of situations or people. Parents who use healthy stress-relieving behaviors set a good example for children. Taking a family walk after dinner or playing a board game in the evening are not only positive alternatives to distract oneself from the news, but also inexpensive activities that foster bonding time. They help show children that time together and caring for emotional health are priorities in the family. For more ideas on coping with financial and other kinds of stress, visit the APA help center at www.apahelpcenter.org.  

 

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