Virtually all of us have been touched by the recession in one way or another. Money troubles are stressful for everyone involved, including our kids. Here are some quick suggestions for positive ways to cope with a difficult economy:
- Remember that materialism is not a happiness habit. Use this time to embrace the non-materialistic things in life that do bring happiness, like family dinners at home. This is also a great time to combat entitlement with gratitude.
- Practice hope. Although despair might come more naturally when we are struggling, remember that optimism is a skill that we can teach children. Difficult times offer more opportunities to model and practice seeing the glass half full.
- Embrace challenge as a way to grow together. As our family has cut back our budget dramatically, the kids and I are having fun seeing where we can save money. This has made us more resourceful, disciplined, and less wasteful—all things that are happiness habits both for our family and for the planet!
If you are really feeling stressed economically, a huge body of research shows that reaching out to others can make us healthier and happier. One study showed that people with financial problems who provided social support to fellow church-goers were buffered from the stress of the economic strain, while people who received the support were not. And helping others will often undo the physiological damage that stress does to our bodies. So although we might feel like we need to hunker down and take care of ourselves most when we are feeling economic strain, helping others is sometimes the best way to help ourselves.
The Recession and Our Kids
© 2009 Christine Carter, Ph.D.
Fredrickson, B. L., R. A. Mancuso, C. Branigan, and M. M. Tugade. "The Undoing Effect of Positive Emotions." Motivation and Emotion 24, no. 4 (2000): 237-58.
Kasser, T. "Frugality, Generosity, and Materialism in Children and Adolescents." In What Do Children Need to Flourish? Conceptualizing and Measuring Indicators of Positive Development, edited by K.A. Moore and L.H. Lippman. New York: Springer Science + Business Media, 2005.
Krause, Neal. "Church-Based Social Support and Mortality." Journal of Gerontology 61B, no. 3 (2006): S140-S46.
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