Raising Adult Children

When Your Child Loses Their Job

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Do’s and Don’t When Your
Child Experiences Job Loss

You hear the news and your heart sinks down to your toes. Your child just told you about their job loss. You automatically go into fix it mode. Dealing with adult child job loss is something new for you. Even though you may realize that we are facing unprecedented levels of unemployment, this is YOUR child. Your mind whirls and you start thinking of what needs to be done and where their pitfalls may be. And you start to worry.

But wait a minute! What is your role in this situation? Of course, you are concerned about your child and their future, but how are you supposed to handle things?

Breaking some information down into the Do’s and Don’ts might be helpful. After all, when your child loses their job, the things you don’t do can be just as important as what you do.

Don’t Do This When Your Child Loses
Their Job

  1. Don’t go into total panic mode. This will only aggravate the situation and them.
  2. Don’t ask questions that are meant to “get to the bottom” of whether they “deserved” to lose their job. Whatever the situation, it is none of your business and will just push your child away.
  3. Don’t jump to help or take-over. Pulling out a notepad and saying “Okay, this is what we’re going to do” is a major no-no. It sends your child the message that they are not capable of handling their life on their own.
  4. Don’t offer help unless they want it. You might “know someone who knows someone” that might be looking for someone, but if you go off half-cocked and talk to that person before checking with your child, you are only asking for problems.
  5. Of course, don’t forget about the things you should never say to your adult child at any time, but especially now.

Do This When Your Child Loses Their Job

  1. Stay calm. It can be hard, especially if your child is in a precarious financial situation, but it is important you don’t freak out.
  2. Let them talk about it or not. Let them take the lead in how much they want to share with you.
  3. Let them know you are available to help if they want, they just need to ask.
  4. Ask them what type of job they would like to find. Give them a chance to dream and view this as an unexpected opportunity.

As time goes on, some of these Do’s and Don’t may become harder and harder to continue. When they have been unemployed for months, it may be difficult to just let them be and take care of things themselves. You may be wondering things like how they will ever pay their rent or put food on the table. Take a deep breath and don’t ask them. The most important thing through this is to remember…

They Are Adults

As a responsible adult, it is up to them to worry about how they will pay their bills. It is up to them to figure out how to secure a new job. You don’t “own” this situation, they do. Sure, as a parent, we will always worry about our child, but that worry has to be tempered. We need to keep it to ourselves and not let it push us into actions that undermine our child.

In many ways, you should treat your adult child’s job loss just as you would any adult, be there to listen. It is an old cliché, but it is true – listen more than you talk. It is now your role to be a sounding board and a safe place to talk, brainstorm ideas and vent if they need to. Your child will go through a lot of emotions when they lose their job, give them the space to feel and express those emotions without trying to fix it for them.

Don’t forget to check out our Resources page for some great information!

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