Diana left this comment in the comment section of The Two Most Important Things in Education:
As our kids are getting into the higher teens and they are getting income from various places we have struggled with what to require of them (for example a friend our ours has her children contribute half of any income they earn to the family..but she is a single mom now with 8 kids and they need to do that..they are very hard workers and really take care of each other). We want a family economy but just aren’t sure what to require. We don’t want to encourage mooching as they head into adulthood but feel a bit guilty about having them contribute cash.
Thank you for bringing this up Diana! This is a very important topic and it really has nothing to do with marital nor financial status, it has to do with character!
You friend that is a single mom of eight may be forced into teaching her children responsibility, but in the end they will be better for it!
As our children became older (12-13ish) and started making their own money, they were required to tithe and save. As their cash flow grew and they wanted different clothes than I was willing to buy, they started to buy them. If they wanted to go somewhere like a movie or an extra activity they paid their own way.
Once they started driving they paid the difference in our auto insurance. If they do not pay their portion on time or do something to cause our rates to go up, we remove them from the plan.
They drive the family cars until they save the money to buy their own car, we do not buy one for them.
When they got a cell phone they pay a portion of the family cell phone plan, including the cost of the phone and activation fees. If they used more than their allotted minutes or bought ring tones, etc… they pay for it! If they violate the rules for the phone, run the bill up and not pay, they are removed from the plan! We had to do that with one of our kids. There is no cell phone off the family plan until they are an adult, this way there is accountability.
Our daughter who is 20, pays a portion of the health care plan we have because she is still at home and makes money. Our daughter who is 16, makes some money, but does not pay towards the health plan, she is our responsibility. Our hope is that our girls will remain at home until they marry and we will provide for them, but we also encourage them to be financially responsible.
Often if the kids, who are 16 and over, want to go out to eat or go to an event they will pay for themselves, not always, but often. There are even times they treat Mom and Dad…which is really nice!
Whenever our children have wanted to start a money making endeavor, they have to save up the money to do it. A couple of times we have given them a family loan with no interest, but they must pay it back in a timely manner. This really helps them be diligent in making a profit.
It is not uncommon for our girls to go to the store on their own to buy some groceries and then come home to cook (never being asked to do so). We do not require our girls to pay rent or buy groceries, even as adults in our home, but because they understand responsibility and being a family unit they often pitch in towards things. The kitchen table we have our 15 year old bought at a yard sale because she loved it and it was better than the one we had! Our other daughter bought paint and painted our bedroom just because she wanted to bless us, this was never asked of her. They both take on projects in the yard of their own ambition and money! They are family minded; they invest in the family and we will bend over backwards for them, but that is because they have shown much responsibility and do not mooch!
When our son started making a decent amount of money at 18-19, we asked that he pay $50 a week towards the family’s economy and still required chores from him, mainly yard work. He decide that was unreasonable and found somewhere else to live, that was his choice. We did not want to encourage a young man to be a mooch. He has learned the hard way that being an adult requires responsibility!
A good work ethic and responsibility does not come naturally for most people, unless you are like my husband who was born to work and loves it! These traits need to be trained into our children. There is no free ride in this world, and if you are on a free ride right now, it won’t last forever; when that ride stops it will throw you off with a hard crash when you land!
Even if we were very wealthy, we would still require our children to be responsible!
So Diana, get over the guilt! ;o) We live in a culture of mooches, we must break those chains of bondage and as parents it is sometimes really tough! Thank you again for bringing this up!
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