Project HELP: PTSD Helping Families with Financial Stress

Financial difficulties

Though the song says it’s the most wonderful time of the year, for many families the Christmas season is the most stressful time of the year. This can be a particularly difficult time for parents who are under financial stress, as they struggle to provide for their family. The pressures of providing Christmas gifts for their children is great.

Financial stress for families can be caused by the loss of a job, an ongoing illness or hospitalization, divorce, or the death of a family member. Some families are in financial stress because of spending practices, credit card debt, or lack of budgeting. Be prepared to minister to families who are under financial stress.

  • Be sensitive to the needs of families who may be in situations of financial stress. Keep information confidential.

  • Be aware that financial stress is not just about money. Emotional and social issues may also be involved, such as pride, self-confidence, or loss of purpose.

  • Listen to the parent so you can determine opportunities in which you can be of help.

  • If asking families to collect items for your class to send to a missionary or missions center, a family under financial stress may not be able to participate. Think of other ways they might be able to contribute. For example, provide wrapping paper and ask the parent to help preschoolers wrap the collection box. The preschooler could decorate the box with stickers.

  • Consider Helping Others activities in which preschoolers make something in the class to give to others instead of purchasing items to bring in.

  • Refrain from emphasizing how many items or how much offering individual preschoolers bring (“Teri brought the most cans of food!”).

  • Be aware of community resources that are of help to families. Refer families to resources when appropriate.

  • If a family is in need of financial counseling to help with budgeting skills, refer to local agencies that provide help with those needs. Encourage your church to offer classes for parents in financial education and stewardship. Consider leading a study of the book More than Money: Being a Steward of All God’s Given You by Calvin Partain.

  • Help with needs related to financial stress. Does the parent need someone to keep their preschooler while the parent goes to a job interview?

  • Keep the family in your prayers. Pray for God’s provision for the family, and pray that God would show you ways in which you could be Christ’s hands and feet as you minister to their needs.

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