Probably the most rewarding and most frustrating job in the whole world is being Mom. Its has to be one of the few things you can do in this world that can take you from the highest of heights to a basket case of tears all in the same hour. My kids are no exception to this.
My sixteen year old, La Princesa, as my husband calls her, truly believes that we live simply to grant her every wish. Mind you...being the only girl, I am sure we have cultivated the Princess factor, but still.
A perfect example is how she recently took money from my not so secret stash. Really? The best part was she didn't tell me and she did it when I was out of town. But I usually know exactly how much is in there and after counting it several times the other morning I knew something was awry. Sure enough Princess had acquired the need for a new hair color, and Mom was easier than her own bank account. So she took what she believed was community money, not sure here. WTF? Really? Yes I am a bit incredulous because I thought I raised her better. Never mind the fact that she has a job! She makes her own money. Stop taking mine!
So I text her and phrase it so there isn't much room for a lie. I didn't ask her if she took money, I asked her how much did she take. Its all in the way you phrase the question. Thankfully she didn't lie (it has happened before) and she told me that she had "borrowed" some for her hair and a cab. However, she was going to give it back as soon as she got paid. Riiiigggghhhttt....and the check is in the mail.
So I decide to check the status of her account and I go to the bank. Because she is a minor we are both on that account so I have access to the information as well as the money. And guess what? If you were thinking she was BROKE you are right! The kid had $13 to her name. No small wonder she took my money. And I know that it sounds like I am bitching about the money, but I'm not. It's the principle of taking what is not yours. The feeling of entitlement that she has, that somehow her need for highlights was more pressing than anything I could be saving the money for, which incidentally is for our family vacation this summer. Her boldness at not asking if she could borrow it was startling.
To make matters worse, she has a past due bill for her cell phone (December's bill) and iTunes expenses. How much? Oh the whopping tune of $186 dollars. Of course her bills come out of our account to insure payment since we are the contracted individuals for the phone, but she was hell bent for leather to have an iPhone plan which here in Germany is about 60 euros a month ($79-85). So she negotiated with her dad and agreed to pay us back the monthly bill. Again, not about the money but about teaching children fiscal responsibility. At least that is what I would like to teach her.
I'm not sure I am doing a great job of that at all. Maybe I need to teach her a lesson in wage garnishments. I could go down and just relieve her of the burden of her paycheck, which should be in the account on Thursday. I could teacher her a lesson in repossession and take her phone away. Oh hell! That is funny! She might need life support if I pry that phone away from her. We tried it as punishment, ONCE. Emphasis on the ONCE. Because she HAS NOT gotten near trouble that deep again to provoke the NO CELL PHONE type of punishment.
I just want her to be a responsible adult who pays her bills on time. But then again, look at the lessons our government spending is teaching the world. Spend, spend, and then when the money runs out, spend some more. I would like to think that I set a better example at home.
Considering that January's bills is due in two days, and I still have not seen December's payment- I would have to say that I am not doing so hot with this one. Not so sure how to proceed on this one.
How do you teach a 16 year old to be money wise? How do you teach them to pay their bills on time? Suggestions welcomed.