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PLEASE--some advice about my girls
August 29, 2006
12:41 pm
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gofigure
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I think I have been talking to my kids too much about what's gone on with my husband and our separation and about our finances (which are pretty grim). I am really worried about the effects this had had especially on my older daughter who is 11 (her sister is 10). Is there any way I can remedy this spewing of too much information? I have been trying to catch myself before I say anything, and I've been doing better in terms of their dad, but I worry alot that my worrying about finances and all that goes with it is damaging my kids. Any insight would be HUGELY appreciated. It scares me how much I may damage them.

Thanks,

~go

August 29, 2006
12:56 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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go,

it may sound trite, but actions speak louder than words.

words may be scary, but if you show you love them and show that they can trust you, and feel secure, that goes a LONG WAY.

Don't worry about what you already said - you can't change that.

So, proceed forward, more careful of what you say. They don't need to know the extent of your finances, but they are old enough to understand that there are limits. This is a fine time to teach them about budgeting and saving and finding bargains. They don't need to know that you don't have $100 for school supplies this year. Instead, give them ten dollars, their list and take them to the dollar store and let them see the value of the dollar and get all their stuff on a budget - perhaps pooling their money and buying larger packs of stuff and splitting it, using coupons, shopping sales, etc.

Kids who learn about limits and boundaries and that money doesn't grow on trees do better in the real world than kids who have no limits and think that everything in life is free.

I take my daughter to the mall, and give her a spending limit....we walk thru all the stores and make a list of what she sees and likes and the price....then, at the end of the mall, she looks at her list and decides if that $60.00 skirt is as important as 5 shirts for $20.00 at another store....she learns to pick more for her money, or at least pick what's important....even if it means only ONE thing. I also take her to the goodwill store. In our area, they carry some really good name brands, and after a day at the mall, she appreciates their prices a whole lot more.

If they want to see a movie, show them the bottom line cost, then show them that if they rent a movie, they can get two for the price of one movie admission, and popcorn and soda on top of it.....show them cost comparisons. You don't have to be broke to do this, it's good practice for ANY kid, ANY time.

Spend time with them, love them, nurture them, support them....they will thrive if you do this and if you slip up and grumble about the negative, it will work out, cuz of all you show them.

Quality time with mom will go a long way....that's what they remember.

I hope this helps.

Oh, and lastly - don't beat yourself up for the mistakes....it's a learning process.

August 29, 2006
1:47 pm
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feelingfree
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Hi Go,

Rising definitely has some great advice there.. just wanted to add one thing.

I too shared too much with my (then 14 y/o). I noticed he was more anxious as time went on, asking me questions about the status of things, etc.. and it took THAT to wake me up.

I sat and had a heart to heart with him. I apologized that I had shared too much and made him worry. I told him straight up that I would try very hard not to do that anymore. That my issues with his father were OUR issues, not his. I assured him that althought things were 'tight' that we would make it no matter what and that he should not worry about anything changing with regard to our home, etc.
It definitely helped.

August 29, 2006
1:49 pm
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mamacinnamon
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Rising: So very well said. I will second every word Rising said. It is true that actions speak louder than words. It also means alot to kids to have the truth. Don't have to go into details, but the truth.

GoFigure: Regroup and move forward w/ the girls. Don't forget to notice the diffference in them when they have an interactive mom. Don't miss out on all the blessings of teaching your kids, learning w/ your kids, laughing w/ your kids.

Now, hold your head high. You have two beautiful girls you need to show confidence and independence and love to. 🙂

August 29, 2006
2:52 pm
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gofigure
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Thank you all so so much.

rising--You have no idea how much your words help me. I will take them and use them well. Maybe I focus too much on money (or the lack thereof) and I've trying hard not to worry in front of them. Unfortunately, though my daughters love their dad tremendously, they are also somewhat bitter in terms of him because they know he hasn't helped us out financially for several months. I'm not sure I can remedy those feelings. But I will definitely quit focusing on that aspect too. And yes, I intend to sit down with them to budget and hopefully they won't allow themselves to get in a similar situation. I especially like what you do with your daughter at the mall.

free--thank you for telling me about the talk with your son. I will help them separate themselves from the problems of their dad and I.

And mama--you always have such wonderful supportive words. Thank you.

~go

August 29, 2006
3:11 pm
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risingfromtheashes
st regis falls, ny
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go, let them own their feelings towards their dad....just don't add to it.

my daughter has ill feelings at times towards MY dad, her grandpa, and I let her have them, but careful not to let her own MY feelings....or take on my stress.

they will outgrow the stress once you are more stable and supportive and attentive to them....eventually this will all be a memory to them.

if they are really angry and resentful, show them how to journal and put their thoughts out there, teach them how to LET GO of those feelings....how they will make you ill if you hang on to them....this is a good lesson to teach them and you will help yourself learn it too.

My daughter has learned to see a commercial and ask "mom, is that one of those things that looks good on TV but really doesn't work all that great?" - after begging for the barbie that walks and finding out she isn't all that graceful as the tv commercial....lesson learned.

Now my daughter will say "let's keep looking and come back if I don't find anything better", and then look for better bargains. She's gotten to be a smart shopper....and realize differences between quality, substance and value....she realizes that sometimes the expensive thing is better because it's "built better", and sometimes that it's better to buy two shirts for the same price as one skirt....or that she doesn't really wear skirts often, so jeans would be more appropriate.

Anyway, you can teach them to be grateful for their situation, that's another good lesson to teach....that just cuz money is tight, doesn't mean they have nothing....and sometimes, mom's attention is worth more than all the money in the world.

My daughter has a friend that gets what she wants, has horses, musical instruments, lessons, etc....shops and spends what she wants. But daughter looks at her life and how her parents treat her, and how much she is emotionally neglected and how rough that is and my daughter realizes how lucky she is.

Your daughters will go far in life if you give them these gifts...money isn't everything, yet I know how hard it is NOT to stress about it....I'm there, I know the struggle.

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