Articles & Tips From The Lindenberger Group

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I Just Lost My Job: How Am I Going To Tell My Kids?

by Judith Lindenberger

I have managed many corporate layoffs. When I met with one woman tell her about the career transition services she could take advantage of, she murmured several times, “How am I going to tell my kids this?” Even if you anticipate that a change may be coming, and even if you knew that your department could be affected, knowing that it is you can be a shock. And thinking about having to tell your spouse, neighbors, friends and family can cause anxiety and embarrassment. This is normal and something that many people experience.

My mother-in-law died several years ago. Losing a loved one and losing a job have similarities. Both involve losing something that has been a part of your life. Both involve change. When my husband and I told our children that their grandmother had died, we told them the truth, answered their questions and assured them that we would stay a strong family.

If you lose your job, here are some similar pointers for how to tell your children.

  1. First, take care of you. Think about the experience and talents that you have to offer another employer. Take stock of the good things you have in your life.
  2. If you have a “significant other” in your life, tell your partner before you tell your children.
  3. Use simple language and short sentences to tell your children. Tell the truth.
  4. Anticipate your children’s concerns. They will want to know how this is going to change their world. They will want to know if you will be okay and if the family will be okay. They may worry about money.
  5. Answer their questions honestly and simply.
  6. Allow your children to talk to their friends about this. Allow them to confide in others.
  7. Finally, realize that your children will be closely watching how you handle this challenge in your life. When they see you bounce back from a setback, it will give them confidence to do the same in their lives.

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