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Helping teens cope with financial uncertainty

Parents may be stressed out when they are laid off. Even high school students worry when their family is in a difficult financial situation. Here are some tips to help your teens cope in hard times.

How economic downturns affect teens’ sense of safety

  • When they don’t feel safe, they may have problems sleeping or having difficulty focusing.
  • They may want to give up.
  • They may feel worried, sad, or angry and may avoid their friends and family.
  • They may become more irritable, argue more with others, use drugs or alcohol, or get into trouble.
  • The challenges in their lives may feel bigger and even harder to deal with.

Helping your teen feel safe

  • Make sure they keep to their routine as much as possible (get enough sleep; eat regularly; drink plenty of water; exercise regularly).
  • Spend time with family and friends. Don’t let them cut themselves off from loved ones.

How economic downturns keep them from feeling calm

  • They may feel frustrated, afraid, angry and hopeless.

Helping teens ease the stress

  • Have them talk about their concerns with a trusted friend, family member, teacher or counselor.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Write in a journal.

How economic downturns affect a teen’s sense of connectedness

  • Teens can feel worthless and even humiliated when they can’t find a job or lose one.
  • They may isolate themselves from others.
  • They could feel that they don’t belong.
  • They may not want to talk about their problems.

What to do if they don’t feel connected

  • Identify friends, family, and other adults they trust and like spending time with.
  • Look at how their social life has changed since they have been concerned with not having enough money.

How economic downturns keeps them from having hope

  • They may feel discouraged, hopeless about the situation, and angry with people in positions of power.
  • They may blame themselves for being out of work.

How do I help them regain hope?

  • Help them regain their belief that things will work out.
  • Have them ask someone they respect how he or she has maintained hope in troubled times.
  • Have them learn the facts about the current economy, so they don’t act on people’s opinions.

(Source: National Child Traumatic Stress Network and compiled by EdNews Parent intern Christina Onpeng)

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