How redundancy can affect family

It’s normal for you to experience a range of emotions while going through a redundancy or period of unemployment. Even just the idea of not having a job is enough to keep most of us awake at night. 

While this is a difficult time for you, it’s important to remember that your family might also be struggling and in need of some extra support.

You may need to reduce household spending. This could mean temporarily giving up some normal family activities, which adds extra stress to the whole family.

If you need some extra support, there’s help available.

How could this affect you?

Job loss and financial hardship can be incredibly stressful. You might experience feelings of shock – even if you’ve known this was coming for a while.

You might also feel guilty, worthless and helpless. These are normal, common reactions. You need to do your best to stay positive, even if the voice in your head is telling you things will never get better.

A lot of people also experience:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • A change in appetite
  • Feeling overwhelmed, or having trouble concentrating
  • Mood swings, and over-reacting to small things
  • Physical symptoms – headaches, stomach aches, heartburn, hives, etc.

While all of these are normal reactions, you shouldn’t ignore. If they go on for more than a few weeks, you should seek professional help.

Seek professional help immediately if you experience any of these:

  • An inability to carry out day-to-day tasks
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or committing suicide.

Things to remember

  • This is not your fault. An industry is ending – this is not a reflection on you.
  • You’re not alone – plenty of people are going through this right now.
  • Staying on top of your mental and physical health is important – don’t ignore it.
  • Talk to your family and friends about how you’re feeling. There’s no shame in asking them for help.
  • Help is available. If things are getting to you, it’s important to seek professional support.

Find out what help is available.

How could this affect your partner?

When you’re suffering, your partner suffers too. Be aware of this, but don’t shut them out to “protect them” from how you’re feeling – this will only make things worse.

Talk to your partner about what the next few months might look like. Come up with a plan for how you’re going to handle things like:

  • your mental health
  • your finances
  • your kids.

Your partner might start feeling extra pressure to earn money while you’re looking for work, particularly if money is tight. Check in with them regularly to make sure they’re not putting pressure on themselves to fix everything.

How could this affect your kids?

Kids of all ages (even babies who are only a few weeks old) recognise and react to their parents’ distress.

Be open with your kids, but reassure them that everything is going to be ok.

Speak to them early on about what happened to your job and why. Let them know:

  • this is temporary, and things will probably get back to normal soon
  • this is happening to other people too, and it’s normal to feel unsure or upset
  • you have a plan to get through this, and tell them what it is
  • what, if anything, is going to change for them eg they might need to cut back on after-school activities for a while to help save money
  • how they can help.

Things to remember

  • Kids worry about their parents. When things are difficult at home, kids will often hide their problems from you because they don’t want to add another thing to your plate. Keep an eye on them and make sure they’re coping.
  • Difficulties at home can lead to kids acting out. Have a plan for how you’re going handle bad behaviour.
  • Talking usually makes things better. Set an example for your kids by being open and honest with them, and encourage them to do the same.
  • Ask yourself regularly if you think your family is ok. Do they need extra emotional support? What steps can you take to ensure that life remains as normal as possible for your children? What can you do for fun as a family?