The issue of unemployment is even more common in the society today as the increase in recession and the changes in the global market continue to impact the employment rate in the country. Imagine having a steady job with solid health benefits, exceptional salary, great vacation package, and a six work. But one morning, there is a letter expressing extreme gratitude for the fifteen years of service while the ending indicates a termination of the current services. The horror of this situation reaches a number of individuals on a daily basis, and there is often an emotional and psychological breakdown as one wonders at the options of finding a new job to supplement life’s basic needs. Today, the idea of being unemployed strike an unquestionable fear in the lives of many individuals as the idea of family is important to most of the individuals in the society. Unemployment has an adverse effect on the other members in the family. Nonetheless, the probability of not having a job lurks on the horizon for a number of individuals. Interestingly, the loss of a job contributes to decline in family relationships, low self-esteem, and family violence. The harsh reality is that unemployment is a horrifying, but it is normal with the current economic recession in the country.
In a 2013 report, The Pew Charitable Trusts Economic Mobility Project revealed that “unemployment has long term effects on the economic stability of a family which, in turn, affects the financial mobility of later generations,” (The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2013, par. 1). In addition, the article points out that unemployment impacts on individuals “with all levels of wealth,” (The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2013, par. 2) and in particular “low income families and minority families were most at risk for job loss and had the fewest resources to lean on to recover,” (The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2013, par. 2). Therefore, one can argue that the issue of unemployment is not unique to a particular person or ethnic group. Individuals face the problems of unemployment every day. Nevertheless, the important factor is how one deals with unemployment as a family. Arguably, “families with more wealth and families that were white were better able to recover and had more resources to pull on to recover from the setback,” (The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2013, par. 2) caused by unemployment.
There are a number of reasons for unemployment, but these reasons do not stop the trauma of unemployment for many individuals. An individual becomes unemployed with budget cuts, downsizing in the company, or delinquent actions on the part of the employee. Either way unemployment is a situation that many individuals do not want to deal with as the family suffers from unemployment. The fact is that unemployment does not help the economy and neither does it help the children who suffer from their parent’s unemployment status. The consequences of unemployment do much harm to the stability and development of the family. A man who has a young baby and an unemployed wife to support cannot deal with unemployment as the baby must be fed, the wife must eat to feed the baby, and the necessary bills must be paid. The unemployed individual who cannot pay the heating, electric, water or mortgage bills eventually becomes homeless. In fact, often extended families will help but they also have their problems to handle.
The average person does not plan for unemployment and when unemployment occurs, there is stress that builds into family breakdown. Additionally, with the daily increase in gas prices, the cost of living rises on a daily basis. An individual may save for the eventuality of unemployment, but the truth is, inflation can easily eat away at the savings in a very short space of time. The harsh reality is that it is difficult to survive without a steady or solid income. As a result, the pressure of not being able to afford the basic necessities of life adds to heightened stress and as such, the unemployed individual faces a series of conflicting emotions. There is sadness, anger, confusion and these emotions often lead to an emotional break-down. Eventually there is a strain on the relationships with family members and friends. The problem intensifies when an unemployed individual attempts to find a new job and the process takes longer than expected.
The anger that comes with unemployment leads to an intense need to lash out at others. Children are often the easy prey for the anger that parents feel when they face unemployment. Arguably, small children do not understand having to do without things that they love. Unconsciously, they demand that their parents provide their constant wants. The unemployed parent often cannot explain the impact of this unemployment and the need to cut back on the “wants.” As a result, the parent lashes out at the child and the constant reminder that he or she cannot provide for the family. Unconsciously, these parents may become verbally or physically abusive. Children suffer the results a problem they cannot control. The truth is that unemployment cause additional stress and abuse in families.
A significant number of individuals living with their families have faced some form of unemployment at one point or the other in their lives. In the last decade, the rate of unemployment has soared. As a result, families learn to adjust to the psychological and economical changes that unemployment brings to the table. However, the biggest challenge of unemployment comes to the children in these homes. Linder and Peters write “children’s well-being may be affected not only by the type of family arrangement but also by changes in arrangements,” (Linder & Peters, 2014, p.2) caused by unemployment. Waldfogel and colleagues (2010) suggest the changes in the stability of the family structure, impacts the cognitive abilities and the health (as cited by Linder and Peters, 2014, p.2) of children who live in family where parents are not employed. Similarly, Wu and colleagues (2010) reports “that changes to family arrangements have negative consequences for children’s educational attainment,” (as cited by Linder and Peters, 2014, p.2). Linder and Peter also make reference to Kalil and Ziol-Guest (2005) study that shows that adolescents living in homes where a single mother does not work face challenges with self-esteem as there is a greater risk of academic failure for the children in these homes, (Linder and Peters, 2014, p.2).
Conversely, one of the greatest challenges of unemployment manifests itself in homes where there is a single parent. The single mother, in particular faces more challenges trying to provide for their children when they become unemployed. The result is the changes to the family structure as these single mothers find partners that can help to ease the financial burdens that come with having no source of income. While the loss of income increases the level of stress in both parents and children, changes in the physical make-up of the family destabilizes the relationship in the homes. Nevertheless, the need to improve the complicated economic conditions surpasses the need to maintain the family structure. Single parents find that they need to pool resources with other family members, friends or partners. On the other hand, White and Rogers (2000) “conclude that for married couples, the event of a job loss significantly increases the risk of divorce,” (as cited by Linder and Peters, 2014, p.2). Arguably, the stress and the inability to provide for one’s family leads to irreparable damages in some marriages and divorce is the final option for many married couples.
The family problems associated with unemployment goes back to 1979. Conversely, the impact of unemployment impacted on families in the same way they impact on families today. Broman’s et.al study reveals that “from 1979 to 1984, more than 11.5 million workers lost their jobs because of plant closings in the nation's industries, (Broman et.al, 1996, para. 1). The study supports the present researches that “the effects on workers and their families are similar and severe,” (Broman 1996, et.al, para. 1) and “has a devastating impact on families and children, especially when the search for another job becomes prolonged and fruitless,” (Kalil, par. 1). Kalil’s 2005 study reveals similar results to Broman et.al. “Among experienced workers in financial services, unadjusted annual unemployment climbed from a low of 2.4% in 2000 to 3.5% in 2003 and 3.6% in 2004,” (Kalil, 2005, par. 5). In addition, in the business and professional service industries, “the annual unemployment rate rose from a low of 4.8% in 2000 to 8.2% in 2003 among experienced workers; although again by 2004, the industry unemployment rate had declined somewhat to 6.8%,” ((Kalil, 2005, par. 5).
The harsh reality is that parental unemployment impacts the overall well-being of families and children. Unemployment impacts the economic security as families have to reduce their amounts they spend on food. In fact many families have to relinquish their hold on their family homes as they rely on public assistance to maintain the economic welfare of their homes. Additionally, the loss of jobs affects the physical and mental health of adults. Children become emotionally disturbed by the constant quarrels in the homes as stress releases itself on the adults in the homes. As a result, the parents show a lack of “emotional warmth and increases in erratic or disengaged behaviors,” (Kalil, 2005, para. 10). Children in turn lose their ability to express warmth towards others.
Importantly, parental unemployment impacts the way children view their employment status in the future. Kalil postulates that “parents’ work experiences can shape [children’s] view of their future economic opportunities,” (Kalil, 2005, para. 11). The truth is that a child knows that his parents who is a highly educated engineer, loses his job, may end up seeing school and education as being worthless. Who can really blame such a child? The fact that the adult works hard at school, meets all the requirements for economic success, but loses his job because of the global downsizing of jobs, sends the message that one should not work so hard in school because education does not guarantee job security. Parents serve as role models for the attitude and behavior of their children and how children perceive unemployment.
On the one hand, children who witness unemployment in their family may become discouraged and their academic performance declines. This decline leads to a future or uneducated and unemployed adults who cannot meet the economic demands of the society. These children begin to rely on public assistance as the means of surviving and the cycle of welfare continues to evolve as the government cushion the blow of the harsh economic conditions. On the other hand, children who witness unemployment and the sacrifices their parents make to keep the family together, finds motivation in this negative action. These children become “motivated to stay in school in order to eventually secure stable jobs than the ones parents are able to obtain,” (Kalil, 2005, para. 11).
In concluding, unemployment plays an integral role in the development of the family. He need to provide food, clothing, and shelter intensifies when employment surfaces in the homes. Many families lose their livelihood and the impact is greater on the children involved. The fact s that unemployment affects individuals at all levels of the society and results in family breakdowns, stress, abuse, and limits to one’s educational goals and dreams. The unemployed parent cannot provide for their children and often unleash their frustrations on their children. The children in the home where parents are not employed lack the necessary tools to further their education. On the one hand these children may relinquish their dreams of having a good home and financial stability, but on the other hand, the children in these homes may see their parents’ unemployment as motivation to securing a better education and a better life. The real problem rests in how parents treat the issue unemployment and how they help their children to cope with the issue of unemployment in the homes.
Broman,Clifford, et.al. (1996) “The Impact of Unemployment on Families, Volume 02, Issue
2, Winter 1996, pp. 83-91 Michigan Family Review. Web. Accessed December 1, 2014
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Kalil, Ariel, (2005, August) “Unemployment and Job Displacement: The Impact On Families
and Children” The Workplace. Web. Accessed December 1, 2014
Linder, Stephan & Peters, H. Elizabeth, “ How Does Unemployment Affect Family
Arrangements For Children?” Low-Income Working Families Paper 29, August 2014 Urban Institute, Web. Accessed December 1, 2014