DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been giving my kids an allowance since they were little -- not a lot of money, but consistent money. Now that I have lost my job and unemployment has not kicked in yet, I’m worried about how to keep up this simple practice. Obviously it’s more pressing to make sure there is enough food to eat, but I don’t want to walk away from the stability that I created in the family. Should I lower the amount but still give them something that shows my good intentions? My kids are 10 and 12. They know about the coronavirus, but do I tell them about what it means that I have lost my job? I don’t want to scare them, but I do need to manage their expectations. -- What To Say
DEAR WHAT TO SAY: Everybody has to deal with reality. That includes your children. They don’t need all of the details, but they are old enough to learn that you have lost your job and that resources are tight. You can let them know that you do not have income right now, so they don’t have income either. When unemployment begins, you may choose to give them a much-reduced allowance. Explain why it is at a lower amount, and talk to them about how they can be part of the family unit during this time. Encourage them to avoid spending money on unnecessary items. Assign them to household tasks and other duties so that they see how their focused action helps to support the family. If you behave as if you all are in this together, they will gain a clearer view of reality and understand the circumstances better.