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Monday, February 17, 2020

Lost your job? Keep calm and talk about it to your child

After all, we are their first teachers and it is our duty to teach them emotional intelligence. Let's look at how you can talk about your job loss with your child.

Updated: October 29, 2018 5:15:40 pm
Do not hide your vulnerabilities. (Source: Dreamstime)

Focus on the wonderful opportunities this loss of employment gives to you as a family.

By Vaibhav Datar

For a minute, think of an IT professional with more than 20 years of experience, who just lost his job. His children, 12 and 8 years old, are happy to see their father at home. But at the same time, they are a little confused. Why does their Dad suddenly stay home with them, while fathers of their other friends go to work?

Several professionals, recalling their experience during mid-life coaching conversions, share that it can be painful to explain to your child what they’re going through. “We were planning to buy a new house and all our dreams have shattered. The perks and privileges are all gone as well. More than that, our kids want an explanation. They are in a curious phase of their life and their questions are warranted. I am really confused about how to let them know that we are going through a difficult phase of life.”

There are so many people with challenges around us. So, if you are in that phase in life where you are visiting a psychologist and learning to cope with your mini depression, here’s a guide on how to talk to your children about it. Remember, kids are very sensitive and it’s up to us to explain tough situations in the right way, so that it has a positive impact later in life as well.

After all, we are their first teachers and it is our duty to teach them emotional intelligence. Let’s look at how you can talk about your job loss with your child.

Give your child the gift of perspective

In a world of perspective wars, where everyone is ready to uphold his perspective as the right one, it is important to allow a child to explore different perspectives. Remember, the story of blind men trying to explain an elephant with each one at different locations. Such stories help build and appreciate different perspectives. So when the child sees that you have had a job loss, the child would love to understand the situation through both sides; yours as well as employers.

Remain calm under stress

It’s natural for a child to trigger us at various levels. So, when they ask you about you staying home for a large part of the day, remain calm. Such questions need not be answered immediately. Let them know that you would talk to them at an appropriate time in the future.

Your job is to guide and lead

Children are more sensitive than you are. When you approach a child with anxiety and worry, the child has no one to go to. At the same time, a child feels a sense of belonging and wants to hold that space for you so that you feel comfortable. However, a role reversal needs to happen. You need to guide and lead your children and hold space for them. So, approach this entire discussion with utmost calm and peace, not only through your words but your entire body language. The child will pick it up immediately and feel relaxed.

Build and rehearse the entire conversation mentally

Prepare for the conversation on the basis of facts and giving perspectives of either sides (employer and employee). As far as possible, limit your joblessness feeling to the minimum and focus on the wonderful opportunities this job loss gives to you as a family. Look at the positives and involve your children to list a few from their side. Make your child feel important part in the decision making process. Avoid distractions like TV or social media.

Be transparent, authentic and open

Do not hide your vulnerabilities. In fact, your vulnerabilities are your biggest strength. You are a superhero for your child and hence, be open, authentic and transparent. The child learns a very important lesson; Great people are great because they look for good in every situation. They look for opportunities to grow.

Let job loss be an opportunity for you to be close with your family. Embrace the time-off with both hands and live happily. There is something bigger lined up for you in life and this job loss is a stepping stone to unlimited success.

(The writer is a mid-life coach and author of Simplify your Life.)

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