By THE AMERICANCOUNSELINGASSOCIATION
Every family must facebad news at one time or an-other. From economic issuesto marriage problems, thereare numerous negative is-sues that can affect a familyand trouble our children.Often a parent’s naturalreaction is to “protect” thechildren, especially youngerones, from such bad news.nfortunately, the expertssay keeping kids uninformedoften does more harm thangood.One problem is that kidsare usually more in tunewith family life than parentsrealize. They may not knowdetails but are often awarewhen something unpleasantis happening to the family.Mom or Dad may seemmore upset, tired, or act un-usually. They may overhearbits of arguments or real-ize a discussion stops whenthey enter the room. A childwill sense a problem andwithout solid informationwill begin to ﬁll in his or herown details.The results can be dis-turbing for children. Theymay imagine the situationto be far worse than it reallyis. Or they may decide thatthey’re the reason for theproblem, feeling guilty be-cause they’re to blame. Theresult can be a stressed ordepressed child, not know-ing exactly what’s wrong orhow to ﬁx it, but believinghe or she is at fault.No, we don’t want to bur-den our children with all ourproblems, or all the sordiddetails of work, money orrelationship issues. But it isimportant to keep the kidsinformed to an appropriatedegree when events are im-pacting their lives. A good starting point isletting children know, in anage-appropriate manner,that there is a problem, butmaking clear it’s not theirfault. Just simply saying,“You may have noticed I’veseemed a little angry lately,or more tired than usual, butit isn’t your fault,” can helpreassure and open neededconversation. Your children should knowthe adult world does haveproblems, but also that it’sOK to ask questions whenthey sense something iswrong. Tell them that evenMom and Dad can need anextra hug at times. Suchconversations will help yourchildren feel included andless stressed.Children who are appro-priately informed are lesslikely to draw the wrongconclusions or blame them-selves for the problem. Keep-ing them informed helpsthem develop a realistic view of the family and theworld, a necessary ingredi-ent for growing into healthyadults.
“The Counseling Corner” is provided as a public serviceby the American Counsel-ing Association, the nation’slargest organization of coun-seling professionals. Learnmore about the counseling profession at the ACA website, www.counseling.org.
ALL AROUND WISE, Decatur, Texas, Thursday, March 6, 2008 3
Do kids need to hear bad news?
Complete the Sudoku grid so that each row, each column, and each 3 by 3 box containsthe numbers 1 through 9. Numbers cannot be duplicated in a row or a column.
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Seven Ways to Get aJump Start on Your Taxes
Earlier is better when it comes to working on your taxes. Taxpayers are encouraged toget a head start on tax preparation, espe-cially since early ﬁlers avoid the last minuterush and get their refunds sooner.Here are seven easy ways to get a good jump on your taxes long before the Aprildeadline is here:1. Gather your records in advance. Makesure you have all the records you need,including W-2s and 1099s. Don’t forget tosave a copy for your ﬁles.2. Get the right forms. They’re availablearound the clock on the IRS Web site, IRS.gov.3. Take your time. Don’t forget to leaveroom for a coffee break when ﬁlling out your tax return as rushing can mean making amistake.4. Double-check your math and verify allSocial Security numbers. These are among the most common errors found on tax returns. Taking care will reduce your chanceof hearing from the IRS and speed up your refund.5. E-ﬁling is easy. E-ﬁling catches matherrors and provides conﬁrmation your returnhas been received and gives you a faster refund.6. Get the fastest refund. When you e-ﬁleﬁle early, you receive your refund faster.When you choose direct deposit, you receiveyour refund sooner than waiting for a check.7. Don’t panic. If you have a problemor a question, remember the IRS is thereto help. Try the IRS Web site at IRS.gov or call the IRS customer service number at 800-829-1040.Are you concerned that your effortsto get ready early may be affected by theAlternative Minimum Tax legislation passedby Congress in December? Most individualswill not be impacted, so it is still a goodidea to get an early start on your prepara-tions. Even if you are ﬁling one of ﬁve formsaffected by the recent legislation, the IRSexpects to be ready for your return by Febru-ary 11. You can review a list of the impactedforms and ﬁnd out the latest news about when the IRS will be ready for your returnat IRS.gov.
Internal Revenue Service, Fresno, CA 93888.Download Form 3949-A from IRS.govor order by mailat 800-829-3676.
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