It’s usually a sunny day in our household. Oh, who am I kidding…not with a 13- year-old and 11 year-old. It used to be…The last year, or so, it has been cloudy, at best, and other days a thunderstorm!
Yesterday, I rained down some terrible news on our son. Oh, the pain of growing up and becoming independent. My son is appalled:
“Why do I have to pay for myself? Why don’t you do it? This is something you and dad pay for.”
You calmly explain to the child, who is currently rolling his eyes back in their sockets… (Is that really necessary?) … that he needs to understand how much a movie costs. And eating lunch out with his buddies. How one can’t learn the value of money, if they don’t work for their allowance by doing chores, saving it, and budgeting to decide what they want to spend their money on.
“But then it’s going to be ALL GONE!”
You then confirm that is exactly why he needs to learn how to budget, and now he’ll want to do chores to earn money for the things he desires. He’ll find, he may not need candy while watching a movie or maybe ,rather, invite friends over to go swimming – a free activity. (more eye rolling ensues and weird sounds escaping his mouth – was he struck by lightning?)
We’ve always told (warned?) the kids “the day was coming” where they will have to eventually start paying for their own extra activities. with their allowance. This is the summer for both of them. Primarily, I don’t have any money. My job has been slow, with no work in the summer, and my husband has the “other” cash tied up in the new house we’re getting. And, to move all of us to a completely different state is more of an expense than initially realized.
So, I’m packing boxes and I come across my kids’ stash of money. Saved from birthdays, Christmas’, and the occasional chore we rewarded allowance for…over years. My son has acquired a large wad…whereas his sister spends more freely. They have more money than I! Holy smokes! They have been hoarding, while we continued to state “some day” (in the future) they were going to have to start paying for their activities, but we always continued to pay for them. In fact, they never really needed a regular allowance, which meant they weren’t really motivated for a chore list.
Epic parent fail there. Now we have to introduce regular daily chores to them at 11 and 13? At least they are doing their own laundry for the last year. I did that part right.
BUT THE BUCK STOPS HERE. Literally. I have no more $$ to give. So if they want to do anything this summer, they have no choice but to fork out their own cash. And my son acts as if this is the FIRST he’s ever heard of this nonsense. (what’s this crazy talk about kids paying for stuff themselves?) Otherwise, they are in for a very boring summer.
I posted this sentiment on Facebook, and some other parents responded their children were feeling the same pain. One parent told me they had just opened savings account yesterday for her 3 kids, and a debit card for the 13-year-old. (oh, yeah, I’ll have to do that too when we move) As they were driving away, one of the younger kids yelled out,
“WAIT! Where’s my money?”
Whoa, wait a minute! The jigs up, mom! Time out – where’s my money! They’ll be saying that the rest of their lives. And I can only think about that song, with the lyric Bitch better have my money. (old school – AMG) completely inappropriate, but it’s still in my head. (just the chorus) the rest of the song is nasty.