When you have children, filing for bankruptcy is a family experience. But how do you talk to your kids about bankruptcy and not scare or overburden them? Below are a few tips:
If your kids are younger than six, use your best judgment on whether they need to know that you are filing for bankruptcy. Big changes, such as having to move, may alert them that something is going on. If they need to be told, broach the subject of bankruptcy with as much simplicity as possible. For example, if your bankruptcy means that you’ll need to move, simply tell your small children that the family is moving so that more money can be spent on other things that are needed to take care of the family.
For kids that have started school but haven’t yet reached the age of 12, you can offer a few more details about your bankruptcy. Be careful to not deliver information in a way that will make them worry about money or blame themselves for your financial difficulties. For example, you might explain to your elementary school aged kids that you’re filing bankruptcy so that you can get rid of some bills and save more money for the family. You might even include some end goal that’s specifically related to your kids. For instance, you might say that one year after bankruptcy you will all go to an amusement park to celebrate being debt free.
Pre-Teens and Teens
Once kids reach their pre-teen and teen years, they’re very sophisticated. They understand how money works and how the economy can affect them. With this age group you can offer more details about your financial situation and even allow your kids to take on an after school job if they want to help with family finances. Don’t worry about letting kids in this age group carry some responsibility, helping the family financially can actually make them feel more empowered.
Talking to your kids about bankruptcy can help your family confidently go through the bankruptcy process and lay the foundation for a stronger financial future.