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					DownToEarthDad                                                         Patrick Mitchell



Downturn Dads                                good number of struggling children and
                                             families on a regular basis. Now, how-
                                                                                           something they want. Older children
                                                                                           will understand the fact that everybody
                                             ever, with the changing economic land-        has to tighten their belts.” Elementary

T
         he depressed economy has not
         only let the air out of family      scape, some program directors and staffs      and middle school children “under-
         bank accounts, dads’ and            are having to redefine who their at-risk      stand what’s going on. They might start
moms’ paychecks, and people’s finan-         population of parents and children is,        to wonder, ‘What’s going to happen to
cial outlook on the near future; in fact,    due to rapidly changing income demo-          me?’ ‘Are we going to have to move?’
it has just plain depressed many par-        graphics. More than ever, families need       ‘Are my parents going to sell the house?’
ents. That, in turn, means more chil-        help from caring professionals who can        Older teenagers might be asked to pitch
dren than usual are vulnerable to            provide good information, including           in a little bit…perhaps they can pick up
feeling blue, since stress in families       information on how to shield one’s            a part-time job. It depends on how dire
tends to roll downhill—from parents          children from adult financial stressors.      the circumstances are. You don’t want
to their kids—if left unchecked.                 “Parents want to do their best, but       to upset the kids needlessly; it’s not
     Lawrence Balter PhD, professor in       they need reliable information and            their responsibility to support the fam-
the department of applied psychology         support to do so,” says Balter, who           ily,” says Balter. “Let the children know
at New York University, spoke to me          suggests that parents remind their            what steps you’re taking to remedy
recently about the potential effects of      children they are valued by spending          what the problems are, and keep them
the recession on children and families:      ample time with them during times of          apprised of activities as you try to piece
“Financial stress can result in some         stress, resisting the urge to withdraw.       together solutions to the problem.”
anxiety, and in some people, more than       “If kids see their fathers being grouchy           And above all, notes Balter, parents
anxiety; it can lead to depression and       and wanting to be left alone, one of the      need to remember this: “Those are
despondency.” Then he told me some-          potential trouble spots would be that         your [financial] problems and you
thing less obvious which, as a dad who       [your children] are feelin
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: The depressed economy has not only let the air out of family bank accounts, dads' and moms' paychecks, and people's financial outlook on the near future; in fact, it has just plain depressed many parents. Lawrence Balter PhD, professor in the department of applied psychology at New York University, spoke to me recently about the potential effects of the recession on children and families: "Financial stress can result in some anxiety, and in some people, more than anxiety; it can lead to depression and despondency."
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