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I Want To Help My Financially Struggling Family

Dear Sugar
My father recently got laid off from his job. I am a senior in high school and live at home with my little brother who is in the seventh grade. My mom works part time as a nurse but we are struggling financially while my dad looks for a new job.

Both of my parents are really on edge lately and it makes things around the house very tense and uncomfortable. I would like to help them in some way but don't know what to do. Do you have any advice or suggestions? Helping Hand Hannah

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Helping Hand Hannah
Your parents would be so proud of you if they knew you were asking this question. Your willingness to help your family is very refreshing and I am sure they would be very touched.

Financial struggles often make people nervous and anxious, but I am sure your father is doing everything he can to look for new employment. Being understanding and sensitive of the situation is the first step. Try to cut back on your wants until your parents get their feet back on the ground.

Have you told your parents you would like to help? Try opening up the lines of communication by talking with them about the well being of your household. Perhaps babysitting your little brother and keeping the house clean would take some of the responsibility off of your parents. Also, helping with chores, grocery shopping or preparing dinner are additional ways to pitch in.

Since you are still in school, your priority should be your classes and your homework. Try to stay focused on getting your work completed so that your parents won't have to worry about your grades suffering as well. Once you talk to them about how you can help out around the house, be sure and create a schedule for yourself so that you leave enough time for schoolwork.

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cynsim cynsim 10 years
I would look hard at issues that might cause tension, like chores, outdoor maintenance (for homes), getting homework done, rides, etc. If you really want to work, stick with the weekends, and don't take too much on. It's more important to help around the house and be supportive. ninja by day, student by night cynsim.com
honeysugar28 honeysugar28 10 years
Wow you're a very admirable young lady. Hopefully your Dad's unemployment situation will be resolved soon. In the mean time I would also suggest working part time on weekends or after school as long as it doesn't affect your school work. In the future you can help your family so much more if you're prepared. Also it might be harder for your parents if you babysit your brother and go off to work and he's alone or with no one to watch him. So if you get those issues straightened out maybe you can get a part-time job I'm sure your parents will really appreciate it.
celsou celsou 10 years
Careful with the job. If you can manage your time well, and continue to do well in school, then take a part time job so you can have some spare change to cover your own wants, taking some of the burden off of your parents. I wouldn't tell them you are doing it because you are worried about the family financially - this may just make your father feel more insecure and pressured to get a job, feeling like he is not supporting the family as he should. If they ask, explain that you felt prepared to take on more responsibilities, etc. But as DearSugar said, your priority should be your school work and college applications. And dont take on so much work that you have no time to relax - this will just stress you out more and add more tension to the home. Times like this are rough, and people above have given some great advice. Its respectable that you are so concerned.
Mme-Hart Mme-Hart 10 years
You could get a job (I got my first one at 14 and it helped my parents out a lot because we were very financially unstable for years). If your parents are fighting or tense, maybe you could help rekindle their relationship. When families go through tough times, it's hard to remember the love, so you could set them up on a "date" at home. It's not expensive, my brothers and I did it for my mum and dad when they were at each other's throats and it changed our family a lot afterwards. They not only felt loved, but it reminded them of the bigger picture and motivated them to find better jobs, etc. This is what we did. We made them promise to both be home for dinner on this one Friday evening. We set up the dining room with LOADS of super cheap candles but it was gorgeous! I used my bedroom curtains (which were dark grey) for a table cloth just to give the dining room a different look. We bought one red rose and scattered the petals around the table. My middle brother wrote up a menú with appetizers, mains and desserts. (there was only one option for each, but it didn't matter) My brother acted as a waiter and poured them some horribly cheap wine, but they enjoyed it. We all cooked this super cheap meal (like salads then a quiche) and served it to them. There was a cheap tarte for dessert. Then we went to our aunt's house for the night and left our parents to sit and talk and feel loved. I'm not saying it makes money appear, but it helps when everyone feels needed and connected. It's a motivational thing and my parents STILL get misty in the eyes when they think of us doing this. THey knew we were desperate for things to change and they acted on our initiatives. Good luck!
brielleblonde brielleblonde 10 years
if you're a senior in high school, you should get a job. now that college applications are almost over, the rest of the year gets easier with homework, unless you're enrolled in too many AP's or IB's. I had a job since i was 16, and was able to support my self and raise money to buy myself a car. By doing this i didn't have to depend on my parents for money. Plus having a job was lots of fun. I made new friends and formed connections with people that can help me with networking later in life. (tip: if you DO end up getting a job try to always put 50% of your paycheck in the bank. it may seem like a lot, but in the end you'll be suprised how quickly you can save for things!)
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