Monday, April 12, 2010

Rule #6: The "Buck" Stops Here

I had to take some time off from this series because I was beginning to lose interest, but Rule #6 went along with my morning scuffle with the teen so I must spew a little this afternoon.

According to the book, "Children who are never taught to save their pennies for a rainy day run the risk of growing up to be fiduciary failures content to live on the dole, or even worse, in your basement rumpus room for the rest of their adult lives."  At my house this morning, the teenager was running very late (as usual) for her 6:00 a.m. observation of a surgery at the local hospital.  Instead of checking the details for this part of her clinical experience, putting gas in her car, and washing her scrubs last night, she waiting until this morning to recall these necessities.  Somehow, I was partially to blame.

As she was leaving this morning, she yelled from the kitchen that she needed gas money.  I hate shelling out gas money because she doesn't value it.  It is expected from her.  The rule when we handed down the 4-Runner was that we would pay the insurance, but she would pay for fuel and maintenance.  Well, she's unemployed again.  I know that she needs gas to go to and from school and her clinicals, but she spends a great deal of time cruising and giving friends without cars lifts to their various destinations.  She needs gas money at least three times a week, and I am sick of it.  I gave her all that I had, $6.00.  She looked me dead in the eye and said, "Really?" Then she turned on her heal and stomped angrily to the car.

Our good friends, who have a daughter of the same age, recently experienced a similar situation.  Their daughter decided to decline a summer internship in DC (all expenses paid plus a $3,000 stipend) because she preferred instead to go to two or three hokie little camps around the U.S. (all of which cost quite a bit of money).  Her father flatly refused to fund the camps and advised her to get a job and pay for them herself.

Tough love.  Its difficult for everyone.  I know one thing for sure:  I don't want to be an enabler or a helicopter mom anymore.  I've spent 18 years providing Skyler with everything that she needed and many things that she desired because as parents, its expected.  How much you spend on your kids is part of "keeping up with the Jones".

Skyler's days of "living on the dole" will come to an end in two months.  She will graduate and start college.  Of course, we will pay for her necessities.  However, she WILL work to fund her own designer clothing, gas, etc.  And I really don't give a flip what Meghan's and Jennifer's parents will be paying for in the fall. The buck stops here.

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