As a father, I know from experience that every parent wants to provide for their children and give them the best life possible. As a bankruptcy lawyer, with more than 30 years’ experience helping families who are filing bankruptcy in Tennessee, I also know that sometimes short-term sacrifices and difficult decisions are what’s best for a child in the long run. Throughout my career, I have seen bankruptcy keep thousands of families together and actually make stability at home possible.

No parent filing for bankruptcy looks forward to sharing the news with a young child. Many of the mothers and fathers I’ve helped have experienced fear or anxiety. They’re worried about losing their homes and other big life changes that could potentially disrupt their children’s lives. But what many of them don’t realize is that bankruptcy exists in part to prevent those painful conversations from taking place at all. And with the right words, you can help your kids see that too and minimize their stress.

Here is my advice for structuring the conversation, based on my extensive experience with filing bankruptcy in Tennessee.

1) Try to minimize your own stress.

Children, even young ones, are a lot more perceptive than we often realize. They can tell when something is amiss, and by keeping a calm demeanor and a strong head on your shoulders, you can avoid letting them imagine the worst-case scenario. Try to keep your normal schedule, not just for your own sake, but also because routines make children feel safe.

2) Be honest, but don’t overwhelm them with details.

Your children will probably be aware that changes are happening, so addressing the issue directly is best. Of course, the exact approach will depend on your child’s age. A 5-year-old doesn’t need to — and frankly won’t be able to — grasp all the details. But all ages should hear, first and foremost, that bankruptcy is a good thing for the family, and that it’s not a reason to feel shame.

3) Use it as a valuable lesson.

There is a lot a child can learn from bankruptcy, from resilience to financial planning. You can use bankruptcy as an opportunity to talk candidly about saving, money, budgeting, and debt. Again, your child’s age will inform your approach, but all ages can learn something. For instance, the next time your child wants a toy, you might talk about what they could get down the line if they choose to save that money instead.

Talk to an experienced lawyer about filing bankruptcy in Tennessee.

At Darrell Castle & Associates, we know — even though bankruptcy is what’s best for a child in the long term — that filing affects the whole family’s day-to-day. For the past 30 years, we have helped thousands of families break free from debt in the least unsettling way possible. We can do the same for yours.

Let us get you the financial stability you deserve, so you can give your children the brightest futures possible. Contact us online or call us at (901) 327-2100.