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How Can I Pitch In at Home?

Dear Sugar
I'm a college student who lives across the country from my family during the school year. Now that it's summer, I'm living at home again. It's been a tough year for my parents - they both lost their jobs and haven't been able to find employment.

My father isn't in the greatest health, which makes it even harder for him to find work. To top it off, I've got a younger brother who's becoming a teenager.

I've noticed that my mom has been extremely frazzled lately. She's got a really short fuse, she gets easily depressed and she can't control my brother. In short, she's just having a really rough time. I try to help her out as much as I can, but it's kind of hard as I'm working and taking summer classes.

I've tried to get her to go shopping or do something for herself, but she refuses as they're on a tight budget. I'm not sure what else I can do for her. Do you have any ideas about how I can help her out? Happy To Help Hillary

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Dear Happy To Help Hillary
You've got the right idea and the right attitude. I think the best thing you can do for them is to help out with your brother. You can't discipline him, but you can play with him, drive him places and keep him occupied and out of the way at home. This might help free up time for your parents to interview.

I am sure that a large part of what she worries about is caring for her kids. You could also make her feel safe and acknowledged that no matter what happens to the family financially you will be fine and that you'll all get through it. Make sure she knows that love goes a longer way than money.

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