November 24, 2010 2:46 pm at 2:46 pm #593185Y.W. EditorKeymaster
The following is the “Chinuch Rountable” discussion in the Yated this week:
My 14-year-old daughter’s friends are planning an activity for their mid-winter break. Since my husband and I cannot afford to pay for the outing, is it right to tell her to try to earn some (babysitting) money on her own to allow her to partake in the activity with her friends? Or should I be teaching her to save and spend her money wisely (putting it in the bank for future needs)? What do the mechanchim feel? Thank you for your time.November 24, 2010 2:50 pm at 2:50 pm #712750gavra_at_workParticipant
You will never have a second childhood.
And the girl will feel second class if she doesn’t go.
Spend it.November 24, 2010 2:55 pm at 2:55 pm #712751WolfishMusingsParticipant
Why not both?
Having kids earn money is a great way to teach them the value of a dollar and will give them their first lessons on how to handle money — a skill they will desperately need when they grow up.
Allow her to earn money. Tell her that a portion of the money (the exact percentage to be decided between you and her) has to be put away and the rest can be used as she likes (subject, of course, to your house rules).
Kids who earn money need to have the enjoyment of spending some of it — if not, they’ll simply stop doing it and then have nothing saved in the bank.
The WolfNovember 24, 2010 3:16 pm at 3:16 pm #712752tzippiMember
Last year R’ Birnbaum had an article riffing on Dennis Prager’s “excitement detoxification” theory (he gave credit to him). No one’s saying to throw out all your toys and let the kids have the fridge box, but there’s a middle ground between the two posters so far. Sometimes everyone really IS doing it. (And don’t hesitate to call everyone to confirm.) But parents can put their feet down, either out of practicality or hashkafa. Under the circumstances there has to be some sort of alternative; or at least, a really good, strong, upbeat family ethos that will make it easy for the child to mekabel.
I’m very curious what the outing is.November 24, 2010 3:23 pm at 3:23 pm #712753ChanieEParticipant
Allowing your daughter to spend some of her earnings on an activity with her friends IS teaching her to spend wisely, whereas making her work and save all of her money for her chasuna and beyond (for example) will likely lead to tremendous resentment.
All humans need rewards and it is not reasonable to expect a 14 year old to work now (foregoing not only this activity with her friends but the free time she would otherwise have) and see the benefit in many years. By allowing her to spend some money now, she immediately sees the value in working. It’s tremendously empowering to a child (to anyone!) to know that they did something productive, and your daughter will see an immediate pay-off of her hard work.November 24, 2010 3:46 pm at 3:46 pm #712754PosterMember
When I was younger my friend and I used to go to the ice cream store every Sunday since we finished school early. We always invited a third friend and she was never able to come either she had a stomach ache or she wasnt in the mood etc…In high school she told me that she was simply not able to afford ice cream every Sunday. She said she wanted an ice cream so badly. We didnt realize the value of money, we just got it to get an ice cream…November 24, 2010 4:05 pm at 4:05 pm #712755gavra_at_workParticipant
We are talking about the girl working to earn money so that she can go, not that the parents will pay for it.
Learning that work pays off is also a valuble lesson (although one that is somewhat out of favor).November 24, 2010 4:26 pm at 4:26 pm #712756aries2756Participant
Well that is going to be a tough decision for the 14 year old. Firstly, there is nothing wrong with telling her that if she wants to go with her friends she will have to earn the funds to do so. That of course is secondary to discussing the outing and agreeing that it is appropriate for her to do what the other girls are planning to do.
Parents need to come to terms with the concepts of what children are entitled to and what a parent is obligated to do for them, and what WE as parents want to do for them. We need to explain to children the difference between “needs” and “wants”. Especially in these difficult economic times. There are times that parents can give a child what they want and there are times that a parent can’t. There are times when a parent feels that the child doesn’t deserve the privilege. A parent cannot hold back on their obligations to a child and must cover their needs, but wants and privileges are a different ballgame altogether. So each family has to decide what works for them and set up their own set of rules.
In many homes kids get allowance and they buy their nosh with that, they buy their clothes with that, they use it for their entertainment, etc. How ever the family sets it up. In many homes there is no allowance and the kids ask for what they need and want and the parents decide case by case. In many homes kids work for the extras. What ever way works for the family, that is the right way for you and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You might use a coupon system for your children to earn things, you might give allowance, you might be well off and generous and not have to worry too much about the extras. Only you know your own value system. Just make sure that what your kids are doing is age appropriate and safe. Know who your kids friends are and who their parents are, make sure that you are all on the same page hashkafa wise. If a group of 14 year olds are planning an outing find out which parent is going with them, how they are traveling, what time they are leaving, what time they are returning, who else will be there, etc. Having her raise her own money is not the only issue of importance.November 24, 2010 5:37 pm at 5:37 pm #712758tzippiMember
R’ GAW, that’s why I said there’s some middle ground. I haven’t read it yet; we get it courtesy of the USPS, almost inevitably after Shabbos and I try to save it for the following Shabbos. But from looking at the question (that much I allow myself) I would need more info: what kind of activity? Appropriate? Ridiculous? Lots more details; Aries put it well.November 24, 2010 5:45 pm at 5:45 pm #712759bptParticipant
I’m with Wolf andf Aries. I doubt its the “money”, as much as the attitude of entitlement that today’s kids have.
The parents should advance the money (I’d guess its under $100) and have the girl work to pay it back (say $20 / week). That can be earned with ease, and it makes both sides feel like they won.November 24, 2010 6:36 pm at 6:36 pm #712760WIYMember
Todays kids have “big Hasagos” I don’t know the % but there are girls that go on midwinter trips to Florida, or skiing tripps or whatever. If you plan a multi day trip its going to cost money and a lot more than $100 per person !!!November 24, 2010 6:43 pm at 6:43 pm #712761aries2756Participant
WIY, it is totally inappropriate for 14 year old girls to plan a trip to Florida. 14 year old girls should only be going to Florida with parents or family members.November 24, 2010 6:48 pm at 6:48 pm #712762WolfishMusingsParticipant
I’ve got to agree. Heck, I wouldn’t let my *17* year old go on a Florida vacation without adult supervision… and he’s a pretty responsible kid.
The WolfNovember 24, 2010 7:02 pm at 7:02 pm #712763ChanieEParticipant
The way the question is phrased, it sounds like the parents approve of the activity and the only issue is money. I doubt they are going to Florida …
I agree that parents don’t HAVE TO come up with $$$ for every activity or item their kids want, and I think having the child earn her way is an excellent way to teach the value of money. If she wants it, let her work for it.November 24, 2010 7:43 pm at 7:43 pm #712764ZachKessinMember
I would agree on the specific idea of a trip to Florida. But the more general idea that a kid should earn their own money I am all in favor of. It will teach them the value of a dollar (or shekel) and teach them that sometimes they are better off saying “no” to something.November 24, 2010 7:59 pm at 7:59 pm #712765bptParticipant
I did not see the article, but I don’t see where the OP said anything about Fla. Mid-winter break might be a Shabbaton or ice skating or skiing here in the NYC area.
If that family is talking about $300 weekend getaways, its doubtful they are seeking advice from the YatedNovember 24, 2010 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm #712766minyan galMember
I believe that having the child contribute babysitting earnings and allowance towards her activity will serve more than one purpose. It will teach her responsibility and the importance of planning ahead, it will teach her about budgeting and it will increase her enjoyment of the event because she earned most of the money herself. When youngsters are given absolutely everything that they want without having any responsibility to contribute towards it, they don’t usually appreciate it as much – at least in my experience. It is easy to give a child a twenty dollar bill so that they can go for pizza with their friends. By next week, the entire outing will be a distanct memory because it came to them so easily. When I was a young teenager I really wanted to go to a regional BBYO convention. My parents, who were very lenient, told me that I could not go because I had really been slacking off at school and that over the winter break I would be hitting the books. I was determined to go and told them that I would find a way to do so. I entered the storytelling contest in my BBG chapter and won and then won the citywide contest which meant that my trip was paid for and I “had” to go to the convention. Of course, by this time my parents were so proud, they sent me off with their blessing. I was very fortunate to win the contest on the regional level, as well, which meant that several months later I went to the district convention – in California. I remember all of this experience very vividly even though it was 50 years ago. I attended many conventions, but these 2 really stand out in my mind because it was a lot of hard work to hone my oratory skills, find a suitable story with a Jewish theme, commit it to memory, etc, etc. The hard work involved instilled more of a sense of responsibility in me and really increased my enjoyment of the event. It is far clearer in my mind today than the other events I attended that my parents merely wrote a check for.November 26, 2010 5:47 am at 5:47 am #712767ZachKessinMember
I would disagree with the idea of the parents fronting the money as a loan. I think kids (and adults) need to learn to delay pleasure until you have the money.November 26, 2010 6:21 am at 6:21 am #712768popa_bar_abbaParticipant
If the reason you don’t have money is because you are learing, I think it is important that your kids shouldn’t feel like they are deprived because you are learning.
Now, I don’t doubt that the better way would be to teach them to understand that learning is more important than money, and I am sure some posters will say that. Yet, if that does not come across properly- and in many cases it won’t- your kids will come to resent learning because of it.
So, I would say, make a super effort to find the money for your kids mishigasen so that they will appreciate learning.November 26, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm #712769cshapiroMember
popa why u always making assumptions…u know what they say about people who assume…
but to answer the initial question, its hard to answer without knowing your standards, but when I was in high school I went with my friend and her parents to Disney in Orlando and California and I paid for it completely out of my own pocket, I never even thought of asking my parents to pay. I think it stems from a sense of responsibility my parents instilled in us when we were younger.
I would tell your daughter…If you want something go for it!!November 26, 2010 3:07 pm at 3:07 pm #712770popa_bar_abbaParticipant
I know what they say. If we are thinking of the same saying, it cuts both ways.
I wasn’t making an assumption. I assumed (got me!) the question was in general, so I was giving my opinion about a part of the general. I specifically said, “If”.November 28, 2010 2:53 am at 2:53 am #712771bh18Participant
when i was that age, i babysat or helped neighbors in the evenings after school (and still had to succeed in school) to earn money for outings and trips. my parents then would give me money, usually $10-$20, as spending money for the outing. it was a great compromise and taught me the value of money, of working for something and of appreciating what i was given.
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