Monday, October 27, 2008

Kids Don't Need Parents' Economic Fear

Despite the fact that times are tough, we are far from the next great depression. News outlets and political pundits like to use that kind of language because it sells newspapers and air time. There is no question that it is a time to be careful but even more so, it is important to be smart, especially when discussing fiscal matters with your kids.

Not to long ago I was at a friend's house and his wife yelled at one of their kids not to play with his food because they don't know how much longer they will be able to afford it. Personally, I thought it was meant as a joke, but she was stoic. She meant it. Well, what she really meant was to convey that information to her kids.

I couldn't help but thing that provoking that kind of fear in your kids is no way to behave around them. Nobody wants their children to start developing neuroses about their financial future while they are just learning how to read. Even when times are tough, it's important to let your kids be kids.

I can't imagine that no matter how smart people think their children are, that any of those kids could begin to process that kind of fear and information. It is completely unhealthy and unnecessary. Sure a recession is likely but the country has seen it before and come out on top. That's what developing countries do, they survive through planning and ingenuity. This kind of stuff has no place on the daily agenda of your little kids.

Running around fearing the worst never does anybody any good. It is especially crazy to even begin to think about putting it on your kids. I remember when the whole Y2K fear thing was going around and all those businesses started popping up to prepare the industrialized world for doom and gloom. I remember thinking that it was a huge scam and that we were all going to be alright. There's no way a computer that sends people to the moon can't tell the difference between the numbers 1999 and 2000. Remember what happened? Nothing. Imagine what would have been happening to kids whose parents were telling them that there was going to be a disaster. Those kids would be a mess. Unfortunately, I'm sure some of them were.

You can be up front with your kids about times being a little tougher but don't burden them with all your worries. You are fully capable of making it through and if you are really concerned, there are places you can turn for help. Just don't put the fear on your kids. That stuff can cause them to develop all kinds of problems that can stick around long after the recession is over and into their adult lives.

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