As a parent, filing for bankruptcy can be a confusing decision. While it may be the best way for you to deal with debt and regain financial stability, it can be hard to talk about the topic with your kids. How do you discuss bankruptcy with your children without overburdening or scaring them?
The way you approach the issue and the depth you go into largely depend on a child's age. Here are some ideas on how to tell different ages of children about bankruptcy.
If you have children younger than six, you can rely on your best judgment on whether they even need to know about bankruptcy. It may cause unnecessary stress and confusion for them. But if your decision prompts major changes, such as moving homes, you may need to bring it up. If you do need to offer some sort of explanation, you should try to keep it simple. Remind them that no matter what happens, your family will be okay.
For children in school, you can talk about more details. However, be mindful of not sharing too much, as doing so may cause anxiety. Your children may even blame themselves for your financial struggles. You may explain you are filing for bankruptcy to get rid of bills and save money for your family.
Once your children reach adolescence, they have a basic understanding of finances and economics. If your kids are in this age group, you can talk about your financial situation more. However, just as with elementary-age kids, be careful not to let your teenagers feel at-fault. In some situations, it may be healthy for teen children to explore after-school or summer jobs if they want to help out.
Ultimately, it is up to you how much you wish to share your finances with your kids. Discussing the situation with your children can help your family get through this process together.