Telling your kids you’ve lost your job. Ouch.

Just when I thought the news from the job-hunting world couldn’t get any bleaker, I ran across this story on the Web site of the Detroit News. It’s all about how parents can best break it to their kids that mom or dad is no longer employed.

This is no easy task. Thinking back to my own childhood, I’m pretty sure I know what my reaction as, say, a 9-year-old would have been if my dad told me he’d just lost his job: Panic. And if my dad told me this during the holiday season? Complete panic.

I mean, who’d buy me that new Intellivision video game system (Yeah, I’m in my 40s. That was the cool video game system back when I was a youth) if my dad was out of work? I may have still entertained a thought or two at the age of 9 that Santa Claus existed, but I certainly wasn’t counting on him for the good presents. That was mom and dad territory.

Kids like to feel secure. It’s hard to feel that way if they know mom and dad are worried about paying the bills. Unemployment is tough on everyone, of course. But it can be especially troubling to the youngest members of the household.

The story I found, for instance, highlights the challenge of a newly divorced mom who recently lost her job in the publishing industry. She broke the news to her sons, and later had to tell the boys that they had to quit their guitar lessons.

The kids will survive this, of course. It’s not the worst thing to ever happen to a kid. Still, as I read this, I counted my blessings. I’m working harder than ever to make my monthly income goals. But I’m still making them. My two sons, who were sound asleep upstairs as I wrote this post, aren’t worried about having a lean Christmas. My wife and I have promised not to spend much on each other this year, but we will make sure our sons have a happy holiday.

The nation’s soaring unemployment numbers, though, are making sure that not everyone can say the same.