Parenting in Canada: Are Children Money Pits?
Parenting is a challenging task in today’s busy and fast changing world and being a parent is very demanding. Many of us need support from friends, family members, and our communities. With busy work schedules, it is increasingly difficult to establish a stable and loving relationship so that children develop healthy self-esteem and confidence. Money is also a serious problem for many families, and they feel socially isolated.
Raising a child is a costly endeavor, and parenting involves complex decisions and arrangements for statutory and school holidays, summer vacations and school breaks, dental and medical care, medical insurance arrangements, and more. Many households are financially strained and lack money for cultural events, extra-curricular activities, school events and trips, and special needs such as speech therapy, physiotherapy, and counseling. More and more households are near the financial breaking point, especially families with two or more children. Facing financial stress, parents are more likely to be arbitrary and irresponsive in their interactions with children. Such fathering and mothering behaviors increase the risk for low motivation and reduced expectations, deviant behaviors, and emotional problems. Financial pressure is often the reason for conflict, especially over financial issues and people start looking for debt consolidation options as a way out of debt. Children and teenagers want entertainment, games, clothes, and vacations that parents are often unable to afford. With money pressures mounting, adolescents become anxious and repressed and are less in control of their everyday life. Financial stress is associated with less guidance, and support and inconsistent parenting.
Low-Income Families in Canada
Statistics show that close to 14 percent of the population in Canada lives in low-income households. More than 16 percent of children under the age of 17 live in low-income families. Families with above median income live in 4 provinces, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. Families in Alberta were reported to have the highest median income. At the same time, close to 5 million people have a low-income status and many are unable to afford basic necessities. Single-parents are often trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty and are heavily indebted and look for bad credit personal loans. Financial experts estimate that it costs over $240,000 to raise a child to the age of 18. This equals close to $13,000 a year. Children are a huge financial responsibility and many parents are forced to make big financial sacrifices. But there is hardly a parent who will trade having a child for anything in the world.
Families with Babies
Welcoming a new member of the family is one of the happiest moments in our lives. However, there are some numbers to consider. During maternity leave, women lose a significant portion of their income. For each year women take off to look after their children, they lose about 3 percent of their income. This also affects mothers’ medium and long-term employment. While it helps to have employment insurance, you only get up to $485 a week. At the same time, there are things you cannot go without (mandatory expenses) such as baby gates, high chair, stroller, crib, and so on. In addition to one-time expenses, there are ongoing expenses such as clothes, baby foods, diapers, and toys. There are overlooked expenses to consider:
• Pet care
• Party gifts
• School books
• Team parties
• Team fees
• Art supplies
• Musical instruments
• Teacher gifts
• Field trips
Parents also pay admission and registration fees, software, computer supplies, college test preparation fees, room and board, etc. You also pay for passes, bus fare, car parking, and fuel. Raising a child can be a money pit, from shelter and child care to cosmetics, entertainment, education, and sports. Costs vary depending on many factors, for instance, whether your kid attends daycare or private or public school. Parents of children with disabilities and special needs face special challenges and are often financially strained. Such children often need exceptional level of attention and care, especially for kids with severe disabilities. Over 500,000 Canadian children live with disabilities and mobility limitations. Parents of children with special dietary requirements, chronic illnesses, and allergies also face financial challenges. In many cases, the whole family is affected, especially in case of loss of employment or income.