Financial debt is a major cause for concern around the United States, at the individual and family levels, as well as on collective scale. Families fractured by divorce or other type of similar stresses may be particular susceptible to growing debt, as financial obligations may be harder to meet on a single income, combined with a countless other contributing factors. However, a recently-published study suggests that parents with certain types of debt may place their children at increased risk for behavioral problems in the future.
Quality of Life Connections
The study was conducted by researchers at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and looked at data from more than 9,000 children and their mothers over a period of nearly 40 years. The research also categorized debt into four distinct types: home, education, automobile, and unsecured debt, which included credit cards, certain loans, and medical debt. Looking for possible connections, the team also examined the socio-emotional health and behavioral concerns of the participating children.
According to the study’s findings, while larger amounts of total debt was associated with poorer behavior, home- and education-related debt were correlated with higher degrees of emotional health. Unsecured debt, conversely, was “associated with lower levels of, and declines in child socioemotional well-being.”
It would seem, at least among studied participants, that all debt is not necessarily harmful. It may cause some levels of uncertainty and economic stress, but obligations that allow parent to better their lives through home-ownership or education pay off over time. The limited financial resources often associated with medical debts and higher credit card balances appear to have a much stronger negative impact on children.
Keep Finances Away from the Children
There was no dollar amount or percentage found to be a tipping point for negative behavior among children of parents with debt, so the study’s findings reflected a more general observation of the overall trend. In a similar vein, experts recommend keeping financial discussions behind closed doors and not to fight about money in front of your children. Whether you are currently married or continue to have financial concerns as you attempt to work together with your child’s other parent after divorce. Most children are not equipped to understand these type of fights, and may have a tendency to internalize the conflict.
If financial issues have you wondering if you truly providing for the best interests of your children, or are pushing you and your spouse closer to divorce, you need the assistance of an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 to schedule your free introductory consultation. Let us help you put your life back on track.