Let's Talk About The Broke Burdens of Children

Media: GIPHY

I’ve watched children from impoverished families forced to financially contribute what they didn’t have all in the name of “love” and finance. Then, they became a part of the cycle of struggle with no cushion, no talks and no discipline on how to build a strong  and comfortable relationship with money. I’ve watched people live for “family”, using their empty pockets to protect the empty pockets of others instead of saving  and building a cushion for their future. In all of my observations I’ve learned there are many burdens that exist upon children in financially struggling families.

I heard all the classics:

“You working now, you got money.”  (The line that may be used when assessing the pockets of children.) 

What folks seem to forget is that working doesn’t necessarily mean one has a plethora of funds. It may mean they have a wage and  a financial goal they’re working towards.

“You can’t do for family?” (The line that may be used when a child refuses to exert the last of their funds on something within the household that could have been accounted for earlier.) 

No, because that’s not in my budget. However, what is in my budget is ensuring I have a couple of racks under me to secure a foundation for us.

“It’s time for you to pay bills”. (The line that may be used on you when you graduate from college and  try to stay home and gather your coins.) 

It’s time for me to pay bills but, what support do I have for the progression and development of creating my own financial path?

Recently, I was conversing with my sister and we were discussing what are some of the biggest lessons we learned in poverty as children. For her:  “it’s that we can’t fault people for the way they were raised to think about money but, we can criticize their efforts in not adopting new habits especially when their behavior is detrimental to their family and future generations”.


For me,  I said  it’s the burden that we as children don’t openly challenge the money issues that exist within the home. We are not brave enough to “check” the financial state of our families or our elders.

We can’t talk about “it”, it being money  because that brings up a serious case of internal issues, perception of how we “value of our lives” and  how we society looks our state of brokeness.

After our discussion, I then decided to ask around, I wanted to know what people thought about the biggest burdens on children in poverty.

They responded:

“Conflicting emotions about whether or not you should spend your money on food”. Edwin, New York

“Feeling a step behind, some use it as fuel out of your circumstances other harbor their feelings with money and it becomes a hindrance, and insecurity.” - Michelle, Texas 

“Feeling of inadequacy that stems from not having the same things as your peers and classmates. In terms of materials and opportunity. Feeling inadequate in other sectors well as in terms of personal and professional development”. - Michelle, Texas 

“Not having enough money to pay your bills”. - Candice, New York

“Eating struggle meals”.Susan, Massachusetts 

The broke burdens of children in struggling families is that they often are caught between the fine line of making it out vs. adapting unhealthy habits that continue the cycle of living in brokeland.

So, how do we remove these burdens? I was interested in hearing from the perspective of my elders.

They said:

“We have an open conversation with our children about the state of finances and poverty”. 

“We give children a voice to discuss their emotions and reflections on their current financial circumstances”. 

“We support our children through building their cushions and don’t need to feel entitled to their earnings.We don’t become jealous of our children because they are doing better than us. That’s what our children are supposed to do, put their families in a better position than last. That’s the key in “doing for family” even when we can’t give what people request of us in the moment”. 

This word from this last elder was the biggest word I received.

What are your thoughts?

*Special thanks to everyone who answered my texts and call for this post! You all were extremely helpful in assisting me through this topic and helping me find clarity. More importantly, thank you for sharing your voices regarding a topic we collectively feel an urge to more exploration more within our family and personal conversations. 


  1. I think this concept is so important to address within the black community. I used to look down on friends who live with their parents. To me, I saw it as them not having independence or still being in the place of a child. However, as I got older, I realized the benefits of community and financial security that their family provided. I wasn't kicked out of my home but I left at age 17 for college and I was still sending money home to help my family which made a major dent in my foundation financially. I can definitely relate to this post.

    1. Sierra thank you so much for sharing! I’m very familiar with this story 🙌🏾. I think there needs to be a solid and thoughtful conversation as well regarding building financially security the right way in the Black community. Blessings ♥️