November 14, 2009
Refocus For Holidays To Ease Financial Tension
Psychology professor says children truly value time with parents, not gifts
Martha Wadsworth, associate professor of psychology at the University of Denver (DU), says during the holidays families should focus on what has been proven to matter most in psychological research "“ quality family time.
Wadsworth's research focuses on coping processes in children and families exposed to overwhelming stress, including financial stress. She suggests that families take this opportunity to build in new family traditions that are more about spending time with each other and less about money. Wadsworth says some families have started giving traditions, where they plant trees, donate to a local shelter or volunteer in a soup kitchen.
"Giving of your time and your energy can be very satisfying," she says.
Wadsworth says some parents should sit down with their children to explain that the holidays will be different this year. She says parents can make that decision based on their child's age. "Children who still believe in Santa Clause don't really know price tags very well, so you can give them lots of boxes with little things inside," she says. "If they're old enough to not believe in Santa, then parents can have a conversation with them about how things are going to be different this year, but they're going to be good."
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