The innocence of a look ...

A majority of Americans rate their current financial situation as poor or fair, and nearly half of Americans say they have encountered financial problems in the past year, according to the Pew Research Center. A University of Missouri researcher studied how parents’ financial problems and resulting mental distress affect their relationships with their children. He found that parents who experience financial problems and depression are less likely to feel connected to their children, and their children are less likely to engage in prosocial behaviors, such as volunteering or helping others.

“The study serves as a reminder that children’s behaviors are affected by issues beyond their immediate surroundings,” said Gustavo Carlo, Millsap Professor of Diversity in the MU Department of Human Development and Family Studies. “Families’ economic situations are affected by broader factors in our society, and those financial problems can lead to depression that hurts parent-child relationships.”
Previous research has indicated that parent-child connectedness is an important indicator of prosocial behavior in children. Prosocial behaviors lead to moral development, better outcomes in relationships and enhanced performance at work and school.

Unlike previous research that has focused on high-risk and low-income families, Carlo and his colleagues studied middle- to upper-middle-class families. Parents and children answered questions about economic stress, depression and connectedness between parents and children. A year later, the children reported how often they engaged in prosocial behaviors toward strangers, family members and friends.
“Even middle-class families are having financial difficulties, and it’s affecting their ability to be effective parents,” Carlo said. “When parents are depressed, it affects their relationships with their kids.” –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene about a family under financial pressure from the child’s POV.

Journaling Prompt: Write about what you remember about your family’s finances during your childhood OR write about how your family is dealing with the economic pressures today.

Art Prompt: Too Many Bills!

Photo Credit: Claudio Gennari on Flickr

3 Responses to Prompt #278 How the Financial Downturn Affects Parenting

  1. Thank you for this prompt, Liz. Wouldn’t it be a better world if people all worked together to do the things we KNOW are helpful to families with young children?
    Beverly Diehl recently posted..My Brand Is Not The Dollar BillMy Profile

    • Liz says:

      Agreed! I work for a non-profit that works with families and children. The downturn has been brutal for us and the folks we serve. A recovery cannot come too soon!

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