My Mom is in Debt and She Cries Every Night. I Can’t Stand to See Her Sad. – Calvin


“Dear Steve,

Hi, my mom is in debt and she cries every night. I can’t stand to see her sad. The economy is horrible and we may not be able to afford our next house payment.

How could I, a 13 year old help my mom. I will work, I will fight, I’m willing to do anything. Please just help.


Dear Calvin,

Thank you for your question. It is such an important topic to talk about.

Money troubles hurt everyone in a home but as parents, we are often so wrapped up in the situation that we fail to see how it impacts our kids. Kids are smart, like you, intuitive and sensitive to what we say and how we parents act. Calvin, sometimes as parents we try to shelter our children from the pains that we face in life. While we do it because we love our children, we also do it because we are ashamed, embarrassed or feel like we have failed. That’s a normal reaction. But the reality is that we could do a better job of talking to our kids about the situation in such a way that is informative and hopeful and not scary and frightening.

The best thing you can do right now for your mom is to put your arms around her, hold her tight and tell her that no matter kind of money problems you face, you love her and together you will get through this as a team, even if you have to move.

Tell your mother not to worry if she can’t make the next house payment. It is less of a big deal than her fear is telling her that it is. Please tell her to contact me for help.

It is possible that you might have to move and lose the house but if that happens Calvin, the best thing you can do is to be helpful in moving and do what you can to make it an adventure and fun. I realize that moving might make you sad but it is not the place you live that makes for a wonderful life, it is the friendships and love that make it special. Think about it like this, dropping a sandwich on the floor isn’t the worst thing, not having food to eat is. Losing your home isn’t the worst thing that could happen in your life, there are a lot of other things that could be much worse.

There was a time in my life when my father lost his high paying job as an executive. We had just moved into a new big home and all of a sudden he no longer had a job. While he latter told me he was afraid of not being able to provide for his family he was able to get a part-time job at the Sears in the local shopping mall. His job was to demonstrate something called the “Kitchen Magician”. I was just about your age when that happened.

I went to the mall to see him at work one night and I just thought it was so cool to see my dad demonstrating how it worked. “It slices, it dices”, he said. I never saw my father as a failure, even though he might have felt like one at the time.

Calvin, we need to let your mom know she isn’t a failure and has not let you down. Help her to know that by the two of you working together you can live through this and find better days ahead.

The crying is unfortunately normal. Her financial worries are dragging her down and making her not see the big picture and see what she can and must do. She certainly sounds depressed and in need of loving help, so let’s work together to help her get better and figure out how the two of you, as a caring and loving family, can move forward to find better days.

Here is a big hug for you and one for your mom as well.


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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