When raising kids that had a tough start there are certain unwritten rules. Don’t joke about leaving and not coming back for one. There are many others and I could write a whole post on that alone (even though I am learning new rules every day). These rules might be different for each child, based on their background and sensitivities.
Money is a sensitive topic for anyone, even those that haven’t experienced the above scenarios. Joel and I have had many tear filled, snot-filled conversations about money (My tears and snot to be clear, not Joel’s).
However, generally with adopted children with neglect and trauma background money is a big issue. Many children have heard birth parents discuss money, lacked food as the birth parents couldn’t afford it, and were locked out of homes due to birth parents not paying rent. This is not to speak poorly of birth parents, they have their own huge struggles to deal with. Sadly, this is just a reality for many children that are brought into care.
Knowing this, I was genuinely concerned about my children’s fear of our financial state. There have been many issues that have come up. One paints a great picture of how our kids think about money. I was black friday shopping with S (crazy I know, but that is a topic for another day) when I said we would have to be done shopping as we ran out of money. I assumed that she knew that I meant we run out of the money I had set aside to go shopping with. You know what happens when you assume…
S looked at me with fear and disappointment in her eyes and said “So we can’t buy any food?” My heart broke. I attempted to explain budgeting and how I had set aside a certain amount of money for food, mortgage, and black friday shopping and now our black friday shopping money was used but not the other money. She seemed a bit more relaxed. These are things our kids are really thinking and worried about, even if they can’t put words to it like S can.
Flash forward to this week. This week where money is tight. Not like we are out, but tighter than is comfortable. You know the kind of situation where you are eating the food in the back of the freezer until whatever day you are getting more money. Between me staying at home and Joel’s job change we knew there would be about a week where things would be tight. We were right. Today marks the end of that week and I am bursting at the seems with pride because the KIDS HAD NO IDEA!
Kids with abuse and neglect backgrounds tend to be VERY perceptive and pick up on almost anything (or nothing) and turn it into worse case scenario. So the fact that my kids have not even whispered one word about money is amazing! You see, they have no need to worry or even think of that.
I am proud of Joel and I for keeping adult conversations to after bedtimes or in our room. Here’s hoping that will continue!