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Unsecured debt will undoubtedly create a high level of stress in anyone. While most parents do their best to make sure their financial troubles don’t affect their children, it’s inevitable that some of the stress they experience will have an effect on the rest of the family.
Here is a quick guide to how you can keep the household calm and happy despite the debt so that you can get back to focusing on repayments as soon as possible.
Debt and stress
About 46 % of Americans in a survey by the Associated Press-GfK said they experienced a ‘great deal’ or ‘quite a bit’ of stress related to their unsecured debt.
While this sounds obvious enough, the numbers look even worse when hearing that families whose household income was less than $50 000 experienced even higher levels of stress, despite the lack of increase in debt on average.
It means that having debts is quite stressful to all of us – but having debt on a lower income is so much worse.
Arguments about finances are found in every family, and it’s natural to assume that those who have more problems with creditors also will argue more about their situation. It takes a toll on their children’s mental health, that’s for sure – and even if they grow up to be money-savvy adults, it’s a good idea to keep their stress levels low for now.
Check out Science of People, by the way, for more topics we may or may not argue about.
When you have problems with your marriage or finances, it’s a lot tricker to keep it from our children than we might have thought. It’s better to just be honest with them, really, and avoid mindless rants about lack of money as it may cause them to feel frustrated and unable to help.
Talk about constructive ways to get yourself out of debt, reach out to one of the many free services that are available to help you with settling it, and create a proper budget. The last part is especially important, and sites such as Master My Finance will be able to get you started right away.
Explain household bills
Owing more money than you’re able to repay means that you need to revise your budget, cut costs, and increase your income. While you may not be able to take on an extra job, you can make your children feel useful by explaining to them how they can help the family to save more money.
Give them a utility tour around the house and point out the different costs on the bills you receive. They can help you out by turning off the lights in their bedrooms, for example, or reducing the amount of warm air that escapes through the windows this winter.
Stress is a normal reaction to debt, but it shouldn’t affect your children’s mental health. Take responsibility, show them that you’re trying hard to make a change, and the experience can actually prove to be really helpful to them later in life.