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Children of Foreclosure

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By : M Shane    99 or more times read
Losing your home is a stressful and disheartening experience, especially if you feel you were duped into a sub prime mortgage by a shady lender. For children however, a foreclosure will take an emotional toll that can have a lasting impact on all areas of their lives.

According to the report, "The Impact of the Mortgage Crisis on Children," more than two million children around the country are being directly affected by a foreclosure, while thousands more are affected indirectly via foreclosures of rental properties.

With so many of our young people experiencing foreclosures firsthand, it's important to consider what impact this sudden upheaval and financial trouble has on our nation's children.

The main consequence of a foreclosure is the loss of the family home. Not only is the loss of the home itself difficult for children, but they're also forced to leave the familiar sanctuary of the neighborhood, say goodbye to friends, and in some cases, leave behind their schools. This loss of peer relationships and important teachers can leave a child heartbroken, anxious, and scared.

Often a foreclosure proceeding and its immediate aftermath happens so quickly that there's no time to really prepare the child for the swift changes about to occur. The entire family is swept up in the current of monetary concerns, grief, and overwhelming stress.

With parents preoccupied with finding an affordable place to live, the children's emotional state is often brushed aside. Dealing with the logistics of a foreclosure is more than enough for parents to worry about, and the children usually know it.

When parents are dealing with stress and depression, kids can feel it. They see you sad, irritable, and under pressure. Children aren't equipped to understand what's causing your stress, so they internalize it as being their fault. Even if they understand that you're losing the house because you've run out of money, they will likely still see the situation as being their fault. They feel like a burden on you; that if you didn't have to feed and clothe them, you'd be able to keep the house.

In you think your children are dealing with feelings like these, it's imperative that you explain that the foreclosure is not their fault, and that everything will work out all right. Since a child's stability is being threatened, you need to reiterate the fact that no matter where you end up, you'll always be there for them. Try to maintain routine as much as possible, and if you can, keep them enrolled in their current school so that they have something familiar to turn to every day. For a child, their teachers, parents, and friends will be much needed touchstones in this difficult time.

Even if you have children who are old enough to know that they're not responsible for the situation, a feeling of powerlessness and frustration can develop. They see that you're upset and struggling, but as they're only children, they can do little to remedy the situation. Teenagers can take care of their younger siblings, or get a part-time job to help out the household, but younger kids' hands are tied.

This kind of self-imposed emotional responsibility is a heavy burden for a child. Kids need to know that they're living in a safe, stable environment. A consistent environment, and strong connections are vital to proper development, and a foreclosure can take those away.

Many children of foreclosure are forced to live in temporary quarters like motel rooms, emergency shelters, or even vehicles. Homelessness in children has risen by leaps and bounds this past year, as foreclosures and high rents have pushed families out of their homes. Regardless of the cause of the foreclosure crisis, it's clear that the ones losing out are the children. If you're a parent facing foreclosure, remember to pay attention to your child's emotions. You can ease the transition simply by being there for them, and by maintaining as much normality as possible.

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