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Talking about job loss with friends and family
Losing a job can be stressful and scary for anybody, but especially so for those supporting a family and children. Here are tips for talking to spouses, children, extended family and friends about unemployment, one of the most stressful parts. - photo by Mandy Morgan
Losing a job can be stressful and scary for anybody, but especially for those supporting a family and children. Talking to spouses, children, parents, extended family and friends about unemployment can be one of the most stressful parts.

Experts and those who have experienced job loss and extensive job searches have shared their own advice about how to approach loved ones on this often life-changing event.

  • When telling a spouse or friend, "be calm when sharing the details of what happened, assuring (them) that you have or will have a plan and that the family will be fine," wrote contributors for Forbes recently, all of whom have experienced job loss.
  • Decide how much help, and what kind of help, you prefer receiving from your spouse or friend by having a "composed, truthful conversation explaining how much help you want (or don't want)," the Forbes article said. Whether it is simply a listening ear or actual help in the job search, communicating needs is how you stay on the same page.
  • Inform children in an open, honest way about the situation without sharing every detail. "The key is to let them know that the family will be fine. Children pick up on their parents' emotions and attitudes, so you must stay positive," Forbes reported.
  • Share the plans to navigate unemployment with kids, keeping it understandable for different ages. "Even if they're upset about the upcoming adjustments, what children want most is security. Make sure your child knows you love (them) and will still be able to take care of (them)," wrote
  • While a big change is happening in the home, it's important for routines and normalcy to stay in place for children, said Kate Roberts, a clinical psychologist, according to "Sticking to the usual mealtimes, naps, bedtimes and other daily routines will help your child feel secure," she said.
  • Depending on the depth of a relationship with extended family and friends, sharing about job loss is appropriate, as many people "are likely curious and want to help," advised the contributors from Forbes. Also, be prepared with a kind and appropriate response if you don't wish to discuss the situation in depth with others.
  • Communicating openly with any close family and friends is an important part of the transition period between jobs, as well as allowing family members to express their feelings, advised Mental Health America of Colorado. In an information memo on coping with job loss, MHA shares tips for handling the emotional impact of job loss, including keeping a sense of purpose, staying physically healthy and being realistic about finances in the family.
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