Money Worries Stress Mums

Money Worries Stress Mums
80% of mums on a low family income said they felt guilty about how they brought up their children.

In a new survey, 42% said this was because they could not afford to pay for their children to take part in the same activities as their friends and 18% said it was because they did not have the money to allow their kids to keep up with the latest fashions and gadgets.

And in the last 12 months, nearly two thirds of mums have struggled to cover the cost of their day-to-day living expenses and 80% of those with a low family income have had to make cut-backs. More than half of mums have had to cut back on buying their children new clothes and 16% have even had to cut back on buying fresh fruit and vegetables for their children. 39% of mums have relied on overdrafts and 36% have borrowed from friends and family to get by.

Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos said: 'One of the most important things to do to help the family cope with financial concerns is to talk about it as a family, and work together to get through it. By involving the whole family, obviously in a way that is age appropriate for each child, this will give a sense of control and empowerment over the situation. It will also engender a more positive attitude in that you are working as a team towards a common goal.'

Almost half of all the mums surveyed said that money worries are affecting their relationships with their children. And worryingly even more say financial concerns are putting a strain on their relationship with their loved ones. Mums said they do not get to spend enough quality time with their partner because one of them is always working - with 33% unable to go out on their own together because they cannot afford to pay for a babysitter.

43% of mums said their relationship with their children was affected by money worries and this rose to 59% for mums with a family income
Stressed out couple
of £28,000 or less. And 49% of mums with a low family income said they were sometimes grumpy and snappy with their children because of money worries with 13% even saying they felt their children resent them because they are unable to afford to buy them what they want.

Turn2Us, who commissioned the survey with HomeStart , helps people understand the often complex world of benefits and grants through its free to use website. Director Alison Taylor said: 'Mums face enormous pressures in their day-to-day lives but we would like to remind mums in financial need that there is help out there and they should visit the Turn2us website to make sure they are claiming all the benefits and grants they are entitled to.'

Turn2us, has also teamed up with Home-Start, who offer emotional and practical support to families with at least one child under the age of five. The Home-Start volunteers are to be trained to offer personalised support to the families they already visit to help them find grants and benefits available to them.

Kay Bews, Chief Executive of Home-Start UK, said: 'Home-Start volunteers will not be shocked by these results as many of the mums they visit have financial worries which consequently impact on their day-to-day lives, affecting their relationships with those closest to them........ We would urge mums in financial need not to suffer alone but seek the help that is available to them.'

Dr Linda Papadopoulos says: ' problems can affect relationships in several ways. For some families, existing problems are made worse because of the additional pressure put on them by having to cope, for others dealing with a new situation like a drop in disposable income, or a reduction in working hours can lead to tension. And for some families, having less money means that they are no longer able to use money to deal with problems - for example if they tended to deal with difficulties by buying gifts or going away for breaks, they have to develop new ways of coping if money is not available.

child counting money
In the case of children who are growing up in an increasingly commercialised world, lack of household income may raise anxieties for them in terms of feeling that they wont be able to keep up with latest fashions or gadgets- or they may be worried about the effects on their parents relationship (if the worry is causing an increase in arguing) or even their future. Young children may actually be scared of what it means for their family to be facing financial difficulties so it's important that parents are there to make their children feel secure about what is happening.......

Remember to be fair in the way you cut back on costs. For example if you are scaling back on after school clubs let the child choose which ones to leave. It's also important to remember that young children take their cues about how to feel from their parents so be aware of how you are talking about the situation in front of the kids. Its also important to stick to routines- children value and they promote security these especially during hard times- finally keep perspective- the more that you are able to make to see light at the end of the tunnel the easier it will be for the children to see it to.'

March 2010

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