When looking at financial hardship we generally think debt. Debt can come in many different categories such as mortgage, student loans, or credit card loans (aka, “unsecured debt”). Did you know that some debts can affect your child positively, while others can have deleterious effects on your child’s sense of well-being and even manifest in behavioral problems?
Lawrence M. Berger of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, conducted a study to understand the effects of different types of parental debt on their children. Berger found that “Higher levels of home mortgage and education debt were tied to fewer behavioral problems, while increases in unsecured debt were tied to more behavioral problems.” The study surveyed mothers of children ages 5-14 about their debt, as well as their children’s behavioral tendencies. The mothers surveyed included about 9,000 children.
This study was able to find that unsecured debt—such as credit card debt, medical debt, payday loans, or any other cash advances that generally involve very high interest rates—may ultimately trigger stress and anxiety in parents. The study also found that, with certain solutions, such as an iva advice, the debtors were able to repay loans quicker, thereby improving their mental condition. Researchers gathered that a parent influenced by financial stressors could potentially compromise their children’s emotional state and create a negative effect on their parenting. When parents are visibly affected by the anxiety of unsecured debt, their children’s emotional well-being is threatened.
Solution #1: As a parent be sure to remain calm when you discuss financial matters in the vicinity of your children. Be mindful about the things you say around them, because they take their emotional cues from you. Parents can make a conscious effort to present a calm, unified front when it comes to stressful matters; for children, if Mom and Dad feel everything is OK, then it must be so. Make sure you have discussions about difficult financial (and other) matters privately, out of earshot of your children. They perceive a great deal more than you might presume.
Solution #2: Avoid unsecured debt as much as possible, or, if you already have unsecured debt, make a plan for diminishing/eliminating this debt as soon as possible. Having a plan will help you feel more at ease, which will trickle down to your children
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