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Old 01-20-2002, 09:35 AM - Thread Starter
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My dh and I have opposite views on the money/children issue. Let me explain.

I grew up in a wealthy family. My mother has lived on the interest of a trust fund since she was 18 (her grandfather was the founder of a company you all know well - let's leave it at children's apparel). My father was an attorney. However, I was not spoiled in a material sense, and often felt like I had to struggle to get things, while my parents treated themselves to all the clothes, records, etc. they wanted. Perhaps because my father had had to start working at 13, I was not taught any work ethic. I wouldn't have known how to get a job if I wanted. I will admit that my mother bought me a used car and all my clothes, so I am luckier than many. But I went to school everyday with $2 for lunch, so I never had enough for a coke after b-ball practice or whatever. And I didn't have any cash to do things on weekends. My mother, divorced by the time I entered HS, didn't provide me with any options - chores, get a job, etc. I found it very hard to be around this wealth (at home and at school) but not be able to "enjoy" it.

I know some of you will say that you had nothing and had to work, too. But, I would have if I had had the "notion" of doing it.

When I moved to Italy at 19, I was on my own. No money at all. I was starving and smoking cigarette butts to keep the hunger at bay. This lasted about 6 months. Since then, I built myself a career and am doing great. My mom did eventually become more generous at Christmas and Birthday times.

Out of all of this I developed a real sense of doing it on your own without the financial aid of parents. I think teens should have a part-time job to earn money for extras. On the other hand, I think parents should provide their children with a complete wardrobe for all occasions (I never, even as a child, had formal attire to attend weddings or church - I was always so embarassed at weddings - proper sports attire if they play sports, etc.

My dh, on the other hand - and this is very common in France and Italy - seems to expect contributions from his parents as his birthright. He expects them to pay for dinner when we go out. Practically expects them to contribute to our home purchase. (I will have no contribution from my parents).

What do you all think about this? Will you always provide money to your children (I'm not TOTALLY against this) or do you expect your children to work for their money.

(I should add that dh's mom was a young, divorced mom. Money was always tight when he was growing up. Dh's father makes good money but was not around.
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Old 01-20-2002, 10:45 AM
 
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You've brought up some interesting points to bang around in my head tonight as I finally go to sleep.

Quote:
Originally posted by ParisMaman
Out of all of this I developed a real sense of doing it on your own without the financial aid of parents. I think teens should have a part-time job to earn money for extras. On the other hand, I think parents should provide their children with a complete wardrobe for all occasions (I never, even as a child, had formal attire to attend weddings or church - I was always so embarassed at weddings - proper sports attire if they play sports, etc.
I don't really know what to say to this statement. I'm coming from a completely different place than you because I've been poor most of my life. I'm having trouble comprehending your thought process here. I don't think parents should be expected to "provide their children with a complete wardrobe for all occasions." I can "get" what you are saying in the rest of your post, but I just couldn't get what you were saying here. Perhaps this is my issue because I have never experienced wealth and the idea kinda creeps me out, but the fact is that many (dare I say, most) parents couldn't provide a complete wardrobe for all occassions. My mom could sew me a nice, simple dress for school, but an elegant dress for a wedding was best attained from a thrift shop or major discount sale. This means that I've never really worn extremely high quality clothes or had clothes for all occassions. My only pants right now are ripped up. I can't afford new pants. The nicest clothes I own have small stains here and there because I can't afford to fix them. I was reading a book the other day that contained a list of "the items every woman should have in her wardrobe," and there were only about five-eight items listed, all of which are pretty simple. I own one. This is the way I grew up, and for now, this is the position I am in. Do I feel like my parents were responsible for my embarrasment or that I was entitled to nice clothing? Not really. And I don't think that kind of pressure should be on parents today. That just contributes to a consumer culture. I guess I sort of wonder if your sense of entitlement regarding your wardrobe has to do with the fact that your parents *could* have provided you with one, kwim?

Okay, I know I am not making sense here at all. I am really supposed to be sleeping right now, so I think I will just go lay down and think on this and post a follow-up later. Sorry if I'm hard to follow here. I'm sure what I've just said could be easily mis-interpreted. Thanks for a very thought-provoking post!

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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Old 01-20-2002, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Sorry I didn't word that well. I went to weddings in shorts and a t-shirt (and other times a pair of cords) a few times because I didn't have a dress (I was pretty much a tomboy), much less the shoes to wear one with. I don't mean fancy formal clothes, just the basics, which is something I didn't have, even though we were "rich". My parents just didn't seem to care about how *I* looked.

What I really meant by this is that I don't think kids should have to buy their own clothes, I feel like that's going too far with the money/responsibility issue. Just that if they want extras: a car, gas, movies, candy, they should pay for those through chores or part-time work. But like I said, I'm not totally firm on this. If my dd is an athlete or really wants to focus on studying and just doesn't have the time to work, then I wouldn't insist.
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Old 01-20-2002, 12:11 PM
 
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ParisMom,

I can relate to what you are saying! My parents were also very cheap with me and I can remember being ashamed of my clothes growing up. My dad bought his suits at the most expensive store in town and had his shirts made for him, but my clothes came from KMart. It really made me feel unloved. I think that if my family had all been shopping at the same level of store, it would not have made me feel unloved -- may be unhappy that we didn't have more money, but that is a different feeling all together.

My Dh grew up in Belfast during the troubles -- which was growing up in a bad economy were most people were poor. He is the youngest of 7 and his dad worked 2 jobs to put food on the table. They didn't have extras, never went out to eat, saw a movie, etc. He had one school uniform, one church outfit, two sets of play clothes. He remembers his mom washing out all the kids' clothes in the kitchen and then haning them to dry on the radiators! Food was very basic and there wasn't money for things like coke until he was a teenager. He never really had any feelings about it, though, because they were all in the same boat (so were the neighbors). He always felt very loved and likes to talk about how his dad could make an empty box into a car with a pen and knife, and playing kick ball in the street.

We've talked a lot about how we will handle finances with our kids as they get older. We will buy their clothes and most likely give them spending money until they are old enough to have decent jobs. We don't want them to work fast food or at a convience store or anything like that (right after our first child was born a teenage girl was shot at a sandwhich store close to our home during a robery.)

My Dh really loves to spoil our kids. He likes buying them pretty dresses and toys and candy -- sometimes it seems like he is making up for what he didn't have as a child.
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Old 01-20-2002, 12:37 PM
 
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I bought my 17 yo dd clothes at each season until she started working. Now I buy clothes for special occassions, all shoes, and some clothing for xmas and birthdays. I also buy anthing she needs for extracurricular activities, like black pants for jazz band, etc. I think she should supplement her wardrobe with her own $. She uses her own $ for gas & insurance on a car we provided her. I don't want her working more than 20 hrs. per week so we have disagreements over her spending her own $ on clothing (she can't ever save enough $!). She spends a lot of $ on junk (lotions, stuff for her hair, ect). She will also save to pay for 10% of an upcoming choir trip to Chicago and 10% for an upcoming band trip to California, as well as come up with her own spending $. But she has all summer to save for those 2 things!

I started buying my own clothing when I started working, too. My parents did the same thing...I got clothing at xmas and birthdays. They bought me special occassion clothing & shoes.

I feel like it helps build responsibility.

My dd is involved in marching band, symphonic band, jazz band, chamber choir, National Honor Society, on the executive board for choir, a section leader in marching band and is taking 3 AP (advanced placement) classes. She is busy! That is why during the school year I don't want her working more than 20 hours. But I do feel like she needs to understand the value of a dollar. I think she needs to work for things she wants. I certainly would not let her go to school in rags. But she has plenty if even she doesn't think she does!
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Old 01-20-2002, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Linda in Arizona - That's cool to know someone else experienced this. I would not say I was ever ashamed of my clothing (except for the embarassment at weddings). I always questioned my parents' egoes - I always thought they indulged themselves too much, especially my father.

Dfoy - I think what you are doing is great! I don't want to be too strict about anything. I hope I never say: NO! We said you were going to pay for all your (blank) so tough luck! But I'd like to establish a minimum sense of responsibility in this area. I'd like to start at a young age, with small things, and work up in an age appropriate fashion.

There have been 1 or 2 things on TV recently (here in France) about how demanding pre-teens have become in terms of clothing. I think it's disgusting! Mothers admitting to spending 300 bucks a month to keeps their daughters happy. So when I say that I think I should buy the clothes, I mean once a season go buy a couple pair of pants, a dress, etc. Hopefully I'll raise my dd to resist peer pressure, but at 16 if she felt like she was going to absolutely die if she didn't have a pair of such and such jeans, I would like for her to buy them with her own money.
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Old 01-20-2002, 07:14 PM
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My Dh and I both grew up like Linda in Arizonas Dh, we were both provided with what was needed uniforms for school a couple of play outfits and Sunday best, that was used for church weddings and funerals.
We too want our kids to have what we didn't, but also put price limits on things. Our teen son has a chioce in shoes but we will take him shopping to the store tell him the upper price limit, if he wants to go over then he forks over the money. So far we have avoided the pressure to spend a fortune on clothes because of peer pressure, we talk to him a lot about advertising, pressure to conform, reasons not to spend a fortune on a pair of jeans that won't last longer than a regular pair etc. He seems pretty comfortable in what he has, and doesn't seem to look any different from his friends at school.
I really don't think it's necessary to spend so much to keep daughters happy, if they think the money is keeping them happy I believe that there are other problems. The pre teens don't really need $300 a month on clothes an accessories, not even an adult does. I think that would cover my clothes budget for the whole year for my kids.
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Old 01-20-2002, 07:54 PM
 
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I started working when I was 14. I made $7.00 a week and my mother thought that was plenty so she stopped buying me clothes. My freshman year of High School I looked like a dork. Mostly wore the same pair of jeans all the time. When I was 16, I got a better paying job so I started buying my sister one nice outfit because my Mother bought her such crap. I also bought my baby brother treats and toys. This meant working more hours, thus giving up any after school activities I was interested in. We then experienced a recession and my Mom started buying instant potatoes and other such stuff, she also stopped buying snacks. So I started bringing home a bag of groceries every week to help out. I loved helping my brother and sister but I was also resentful that my parents put me in that position.
When my two oldest asked if they could get jobs I told them I would rather they enjoy school and friends. They really wanted to try. I relented. One realized he could only manage working summers and keep up with all his outside interests, the other worked after school. They were required to pay the difference on things. I would give them a budgetc of say $30 for jeans, if they chose a pair that was more they would pay the difference. We paid all school fees and trips etc.
I now have a 16 yr. old DD who just started working. Again I encouraged her not to. (she was getting a generous allowance and all clothes paid for) Now that she works she pays for the "extras" I pay for the basics. Unfortunately for her, her older brothers are notoriously bad with money. Thinking I've learned my lesson on that one, she is required to make a budget, have a checking account and learn all the things about money I apparently didn't get across to her brothers.
If your eyes haven't glazed over yet I do have a point. My number one preference is that kids stay kids as long as they can. My God, they will be working for the rest of their lives. But teens have their own ideas about what is right for their lives and we must respect that. DD is my third child, I figure by the time Child number 6 is a teenager I will have finally figured out the right balance. Then I will write a book and become a millionaire and none of them will worry about money again!! LOL!!

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Old 01-20-2002, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Peggy - sounds like you're doing your best to satisfy your kids' desires.

I agree with the (paraphrase here) "kids should be kids as long as possible - they're going to work all their lives" but how else can you instill a sense of financial responsibility? It looks like the job didn't work with your dss, though. Maybe it's not necessarily the answer. I do like this whole thing about setting the budget and asking the kid to take up the slack if he/she wants more. I'll remember that.
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Old 01-21-2002, 06:56 PM
 
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My family wasn't wealthy. I only had minimal clothing and wore the same pants to school every day. The other children laughed at me. I hated that, but I couldn't do anything about it at the time (Jr. High). My freshmen year I got a job and worked on and off from then on. IMO my mother would have bought me more had she had the $ but she didn't, and I felt guilty asking. I remember once (I was on the track team) that I needed a pair of running shoes (I only had one or two pair of shoes, neither sneakers). I asked my father to help pay ($30.00 of which he totally had), and I was crying because I felt so guilty.

Given that as a back ground... I feel my children should work if they want extras. I would like to provide clothing (not $$$$, but your basics, jeans, shirts and sweatshirts, shoes, undies), but if they want really nice clothes, they can pay the extra. If they want to drive they can pay insurance, etc.

I have learned so much from working for my things and life. I worked through college and am glad to do so. Don't get me wrong, I would have loved to have it paid for and not to work through it but I know that I have grown because of it.

To this day (my mother is now doing so much better... no longer poor), when my mother offers to pay for things I always (try) denying her this. It makes me feel so awful. She offered to give us $ for our wedding but it was so important to pay for it myself. Sometimes I feel like she feels bad for my childhood and wants to financially help now. Also I feel like there are always strings attached... I detest that.

One of my good friends expects her parents to help her get out of dept, pay for homes, buy cars, pay for all expenses when she visits them (including air fare). This bugs me. Her parents have money, but that isn't the point. I think mostly it is about the "attitude" that goes behind it. You know, "I deserve it, they are rich and they should pay for it all."

I know that is not what PM is saying. But just had to add that that is one reason why it is hard for me to accept financial help from parents.
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Old 01-21-2002, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Tripke I have the same attitude now towards my parents: I ALWAYS refuse to let my mom pay for dinner (sometimes I lose the battle though) and I could not get up the pride to ask for help with the house, though I eventually did because my dh wanted me to at least try and I couldn't keep him at bay any longer. She has offered to pay for plane tickets, but I have always refused. I know she feels guilty, too.
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Old 01-21-2002, 09:58 PM
 
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Can't post a lengthy response, but I wanted to mention seeing this guy on Oprah once and thinking the ideas in his book were great. The book is "Capitate Your Kids : Teaching Your Teens Financial Independence." His take on it was that you should have teens learn to work with a budget, whether you give them $$ as allowance or expect them to work for some or all of their $$. Not doing so neglects to teach kids the very important skills they will need when they go out on their own and make a living, run a home, etc. I think this is important, because too many teens and young adults end up running up credit card bills and setting the stage for a life of debt and living beyond their means, which is a huge problem here in the US, and largely avoidable.

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