Unemployment is a family affair. While the person who lost their job may bear the brunt of the emotional burden, family members are affected as well. Despite everyone’s best intentions, unemployment can undermine your family structure, leading to problems both big and small. During such a difficult time, it’s important to consider all opportunities for maintaining emotional health and strengthening family bonds.
How does unemployment affect families?
The bottom line is that unemployment makes families unstable. There’s the obvious instability that comes from the loss of income, but there are other disruptions, both subtle and overt, that can also creep in. Researchers say married couples are twice as likely to get divorced if one partner becomes unemployed. Children of single mothers are at a higher risk of living apart from their mothers if they lose their job. For couples, when one partner suddenly becomes the sole breadwinner, there can be a change in the relationship dynamic that can be hard to process and may create challenges in other areas of daily life. Children can also have difficulty adjusting to new parental roles.
How can I soften the adjustment?
Being honest and open about the issues your family is facing is the first step in helping to alleviate the burdens brought on by unemployment. But sometimes simple conversation isn’t enough. Families who find it difficult to get past certain issues may consider family counseling designed to facilitate conversation and understanding. Utilizing unemployment benefits and other services can also help take pressure off other areas of your life and reduce the amount of stress on the entire family. Being clear and direct in outlining new family roles and responsibilities is another way to keep everyone on the same page and reduce potential problems.
The greatest support network
There’s no question that unemployment is extremely stressful, but families that stick together fair the best. Creating a climate of understanding and acceptance is crucial to tackling the problems at hand. Always remember that people typically don’t want to be laid off, and winning arguments isn’t as productive as finding solutions. As with any problem that comes between family members, unemployment is an issue overcome with open communication and loving support.
Below you will find additional information and resources on family support:
Researchers look at how unemployment affects families
How governments are stepping up to support families
How to support someone dealing with unemployment