“Calm Down, Son”: The Challenge of Explaining the Crisis to Children Without Causing Fear.

“Calm Down, Son”: The Challenge of Explaining the Crisis to Children Without Causing Fear.

Today the dollar closed at $ 61. Very high! ”Benjamin Efron, 10, told his mother last week. Carolina Vagliente, an entrepreneur, 39, was surprised. “Calm down, son. It’s not something you have to worry about, ”he replied. But throughout the day, it became clear that it was a subject to which his son returned because it was part of the restlessness of the schoolmates.

How to explain the crisis so that they understand, but without transmitting fear? That is the challenge of many parents. And the strategies are varied: from those who prevent their children from watching the news to those who take the job of explaining them, even if the children do not ask.

“At home, we talk about everything, including politics and the crisis, and the explanations are varied because my husband and I think differently. But boys sometimes interpret it in terms of good or bad. As if politicians were superheroes. The other day, Helena, seven years old, surprised me while I was driving: ‘If I were president, I would have no money. So that there are no poor. Because all the fights are for that, ‘he told me, ”says Valiente.

“Why is Macri bad and makes the dollar go up?” Santiago Encalada, 9, asked his grandmother. The parents opened their eyes and the one who answered was Josefina, her 12-year-old sister: “Alberto is the bad guy. Because of him, the dollar went up. ” The concept salad was so big that parents didn’t know where to start explaining.

“They are worried and stressed. You have to talk to the boys who ask and those who don’t. Because they listen to the parents and somatize the anguish that is lived in the house, especially when the parents do not know how to face the accounts or if they are not going to lose the job. Do not keep them out. We must explain and lower their anxiety, ”says psychologist Eva Rotenberg, director of the School for Parents.

Children depend on the adults around them to feel safe and protected, the report The emotional needs of children in times of crisis, from the American National Academy of Pediatrics, is explained. “If adults feel very anxious or angry, they are likely to be more affected by that emotional state than by words,” he concludes.

The specialists explain that, even if they are kept away from television, the boys perceive a deterioration in the living conditions in their environment and the restrictions that their parents place when shopping or spending money. And that the crisis affects all families, regardless of position.

“The boys are ultimately responsible for the economic situation and yet they are suffering its consequences. They face situations of worsening in the quality of their diet and less access to food, difficulties in accessing medicines, greater exposure to situations of violence, abuse,

”describes the document Effects of the economic situation on girls, boys, and adolescents in Argentina, published by UNICEF last March. The data shows that 42% of children live below the poverty line and that one in two suffers the deprivation of at least one of their fundamental rights.

Leticia Márquez sought to be practical when her 10-year-old daughter Sofia, asked her what inflation was. “It means that the money we used to buy the food to arrive until the 30th of the month now is enough for us to buy until the 20th, so we have to manage better, buy from wholesalers and avoid other expenses to reach us,” he said. “What if a month has 31 days?” Sofia asked.

Some experts advise using simple and direct examples: “A very useful tool is to compare the economy of the country with that of a house. Great people work, generate money, there are expenses, such as what we eat, electricity, everything that is concrete. The problem is when less money comes in than is needed. That is when a crisis occurs. But that one can take measures such as generating more money or reducing expenses, ”proposes the psychologist Marisa Rusomando.

Economist and director of the Estudinero.net site think the opposite: “It is not a valid explanation. The social role of a State is not saving, but managing resources. That metaphor confuses them. The boys, more than care what happens in the country, care about the domestic economy. They can be explained that the country is going through a difficult situation, that it has to do with the fact that bad decisions were made, that it was borrowed and that the money that was requested must be returned and that is why families, in general, will have to adjust their expenses, ”he says.

The psychologist Ileana Berman insists: “It is a temporary situation. There is no forever in the crisis, more in our country. The important thing is to circumscribe it in a moment. Not focusing on what we are losing or cannot do, but on what we do have, ”he says.

“We can also take advantage of the situation to explain that we live in a country and in a region where these things happen often. The importance of having a saving, of postponing the desire even when we are not in crisis, will help us to have a saving and to be able to pass through difficult times better, ”says the economist.

The dollar fever, as happened to Benjamin, can be a gateway to talk about what happens and bring peace of mind. “We can explain to the boys that what goes up is not the dollar, but what goes down is the peso. Turn it over. When people have no confidence in their governments, the weight drops and it seems that all other currencies rise. ”

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