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Talking To Your Kids About Bankruptcy

If you’re going through bankruptcy, you’re probably worried about the effect it will have on your family. You may wonder if you should sit down with your kids and talk about it and, if so, what you should say.

Parents often don’t talk to their children about finances. They believe kids don’t need to know all the details of the family’s finances because they may not understand it and it may worry them. However, talking to your children about bankruptcy is different, because children are very perceptive and probably already know that something is going on.  Children are very sensitive to the emotional and financial difficulties their parents face. They probably sense that you are worried and may have overheard you talking about trustees or a meeting of creditors. By keeping quiet, you may actually be increasing their anxiety.

When you openly and honestly talk to your children about bankruptcy, you help alleviate their fears. Here are some tips:

  • They don’t need to know everything: Keep the message simple and don’t tell the children more than they need to know.
  • Tailor your message according to the ages of your children: Your message to your teen should be different than your message to a younger child. While a younger child requires far less information, a teenager is capable of understanding the implications.
  • Be honest: If you were the victim of a job loss or incurred medical debt, tell your children. On the other hand, if you simply let credit cards get out of hand, that is also a valuable lesson for your children to learn from. Showing them that you are taking control of the situation and not running away is a learning opportunity for your children.
  • Be reassuring: Let them know the family has a plan and is working toward the solution together. Tell your children that it will be okay and that you can overcome adversity together.

While financial stress does affect children, following these tips will help reassure your children that, in the end, everything will be okay. If you still have concerns, a knowledgeable Pennsylvania bankruptcy attorney can address them.

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