Explaining to Children

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-16-2009
Explaining to Children
2
Sun, 06-10-2012 - 11:18am

Hi everyone.  I have been off and on here for years.  I know I mentioned, probably about a year ago, about a coworker who had over $100,000 in CC debt not to mention all the other debt she had on top of that.  We are both teachers and it is hard to work with someone that is so clearly self-destructive.  Not only does she have trouble with money, but her emotional state, and health is also going south.  She has changed over the years as her destrcutive behavior has become worse.  She is very unpleasant to be around.  When the day comes that I don't have to work with her anymore I have decided to break off contact with her completely.  It stresses me out to be around her and her issues. 

Anyways she went in to bankrupsey a short time ago.  Unfortunaltly, this did not change her habits.  I suspect she will be right back in the CC debt in a few years.  So during the last week of school she bought her students gifts and decorated the classroom.  She spends an ungodly amount of money on her students and classroom and she is completely out of control.  My class is right next door so my students see this.  (they also see the elaborate things throughout the year).  My kids commented on it and asked me why they didn't get that or have this etc...  I didn't know what to say.  So I told them that their teacher bought all that stuff and I can't buy things like that.  I don't know how to explain to 6 year olds that the teacher next door is in debt and shouldn't have bought it.  I really can't say so much because the kids would repeat it and it would get back to the other teacher.  If I am still working with her next year this will continue to happen.  My students see her students getting the on the bus with elaborate gifts at holiday time and stuff.  

What should I say to these students?  I can't talk to this teacher because I have already tried.  She comes in crying one day that she can't fix her car or pay for medical bills and then the next day she brings all these things is that she bought for her classroom or for the kids.  When the bakrupsey happened she said even with that debt gone she couldn't pay her bills.  My coworkers and I tried to help her with advice but she only becomes defensive and angry.  She won't accept any advice or councel.  In addition, we have figured out that avoiding money conversations is the best for all us.

So I need advice on what to say to the children.  Thanks! 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-15-2012
Sun, 06-10-2012 - 4:52pm

I talk to my own kids (we are homeschoolers) alot about budgets and budgeting so perhaps approaching it in this way.  Explain to the kids that the school has a budget that purchases the supplies (books, glue, paper, etc - stuff they can relate to) and that the gifts they see are bought our of the teacher's personal money, not the school's money.  And that everyone has different budgets and things that they must pay for like homes, grocericies, clothes, (stuff for your own family - if you have kids - could relate to having to buy them clothes, toys, bikes etc) and that you do not have the budget or extra money to buy each of them gifts such as they see the other teacher do.  She has a different budget then you have.    I think you would need to tweek this a bit to be age appropriate and something they could relate to.  Perhaps visually too would help by setting up a pretend store and give them play money to shop. 

ON another note - what about approaching the principle of the school?  As an outsider - to me it seems inappropriate that a teacher give extravagant gifts to students??  or maybe it is just me??   If you explain how it looks to other students NOT in her class perhaps they can step in and stop the over gifting??

 

Sandra

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2007
Sun, 06-10-2012 - 8:09pm
Wow, that is tough one. The kids are only 6 years old, so you would need to tread very carefully if you were going to venture into financial explanations.

I think I agree with jiggy -- I would first try speaking to the principal and explaining the wider effects of her generosity. Perhaps someone could talk to about her over-gifting, she would see the broader scope of the situation.

It's tough when a colleague is experiencing financial problems. We have a colleague who declared bankruptcy a few months ago. Prior to his bankruptcy, he was always trying to borrow money and even went through a period where he said he wasn't eating, so we were all bringing him food. It stressful on an office (and unprofessional). Sorry to hear you're going through this.

Kate


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