Jonah finished his summer class last Thursday. After some debate, he decided to come back home and get a job, rather than taking another class for the second summer term. On Friday, his best friend, who moved to Michigan last year, came and crashed here for four days. They slept late, played hours of Fortnite, and hung out at other friends’ homes until two.
Now the friend is gone. He had a week break from his studies. And my patience with late nights and Fortnite is done. (Though Jonah showed me how to play yesterday, and it was pretty fun.)
I roused him out of bed at 9:30 this morning with a lecture about appropriate activities during the weekday. They include exercising, job hunting, school work organizing, brother entertaining, reading books, pre-studying for classes, and home choring. World Cup watching is okay, too. I gave him the family as an anthill, working together for the common goal speech. He loves that one.
I have a HUGE project that I have to finish in the next week before we take off for the beach. I can’t work if others around me are being slothful.
It’s super hard to get stuff done outside an office, but I’ve done it for years. It requires lists, tricks of the mind, and lots of rules. I’m trying to teach those rules to a teenage boy. hahahahahaha
22 thoughts on “Work at Home Discipline”
“Though Jonah showed me how to play yesterday, and it was pretty fun”
I have one kid who is working full time (9:30-6 PM, every day, for the next 5 weeks). So, no worries about how to occupy time during the day. Kid is getting a big dose of how very taxing it is to work 8 hours day, came home and said she can’t imagine doing that while also managing schoolwork.
Other kid has a morning activity, and is reading in extra time. I’m working on home choring.
Working on your own schedule is definitely a life skill that requires tricks to manage. Even when working outside the home, keeping on track when outside forces don’t keep you managed is tough.
“I gave him the family as an anthill, working together for the common goal speech. He loves that one.”
You have my sympathy.
This has been my life since May 23 until last week. I am the only one in the household making money right now, and that’s a lot of pressure. Then finally the girl discovered the joys of making money. She made about $1000 in the past 2 weeks doing double-shifts at a dog boarding kennel. I am hoping she gets addicted and never turns back.
The newly-turned 16 year old gets a break, but it’s going to be time to bug him about getting his learner’s permit.
I’m trying to figure out a way for the actual money to be an incentive, but I don’t think I’ll be successful. It’s awfully hard work for something that won’t have any effect on her quality of life (especially after you take taxes out). She does find the work meaningful, though.
How does the money not improve quality of life? Without it how do they pay for stuff like movies?
I stopped giving her money. She wasn’t able to buy books for her second semester at college. She’d go to the college bookstore and take photos of key pages of one of the textbooks, and she got pirated e-copies of others. I did give her money for food (the college has a “Big Red Bucks” system I paid into) and laundry, and she had a credit card for emergencies. We didn’t agree on what an emergency was, so I took away the credit card. (And now I can’t find it, so I hid it real good.) She was borrowing from her brother (I’ve been telling him not to fall for her crap) and her friend. But eventually the guilt ate away at her and she took a job washing dogs at her friend’s workplace, and that boomed into more hours when her friend went on vacation with her family.
She’s also very good on living on very little money, so it took a while for austerity to have an effect.
Oh, ultimately because there’s a lot of money around, and except for the lesson, I do not wish to withhold it from her. She isn’t profligate and, in fact, she will be stingy with her spending when I don’t want her to be, if I don’t effectively “hide” some costs. Therefore, there’s always money for the extra bubble tea. Obviously, she pays for movies, food, coffee, clothes with our money.
So my off hand “figuring it out” is deciding how much I would like to limit her quality of life now to teach her future lessons, especially ones that I don’t think she particularly needs to learn. She’s working hard (and, she was working hard last year, when a similar job was not for pay).
bj, I was the same way with S. She had a full, busy life while in HS, and we were able to fund a minimal standard of teenage living. As long as she didn’t ask for too much stuff, we just gave it to her. I knew she would eventually learn, and this was a good year for her to learn as she was out on her own.
That’s my plan, too, to let budgeting for herself start in college. I’m not really worried, because she’s just not a spender. But right now, I have no desire to have her swap, say, editing the school newspaper, for a paying job. I do love that she’s writing a play on commission right now, but more for the additional learning it affords (she had to work to prepare an invoice). The paying job meant filling out tax forms, too. But, that hasn’t been learned yet because her taxes (especially how they interact with us) are ridiculously complicated.
“She made about $1000 in the past 2 weeks doing double-shifts at a dog boarding kennel. I am hoping she gets addicted and never turns back.”
“The newly-turned 16 year old gets a break, but it’s going to be time to bug him about getting his learner’s permit.”
We were going to do that this summer, but wimped out. Next summer…
Your daughter’s austerity is good, too, though.
“So my off hand “figuring it out” is deciding how much I would like to limit her quality of life now to teach her future lessons, especially ones that I don’t think she particularly needs to learn. She’s working hard (and, she was working hard last year, when a similar job was not for pay).”
Here’s how we do it (and this is going to sound like it’s cribbed from Ron Swanson’s parenting guide):
We pay for the stuff we want them to have (food, clothes, family outings, music lessons, sheet music, small school trips, activities, birthday or Christmas gifts) but they pay for the things they want (example–books from series with limited literary value or video games) or big ticket optional future items like the senior trip to Italy. We have a lot of earning opportunities at home–some chores are freebies (unloading dishwasher, cooking, putting away clothes, helping with baby sister while we are home, etc.), but some are paid (like tidying baby sister’s play room, vacuuming the minivan–which is largely baby sister crumbs, and babysitting baby sister for date night). We also pay $5 per grade 95-99 on semester report cards and $7 per grade 100 or over.
We started expecting that our kids start buying their “wants” when our oldest was around 5 and a) was in maximum gimme gimme mode for small junky toys and b) was extremely wasteful with art supplies. (Which reminds me, I need to start selling Scotch tape to our youngest, as she goes through about a roll a day when allowed.) We pay out about $100 a month total to our three children.
Both of our older kids keep a bank account with the Bank of Mom and Dad. Our oldest is saving for her senior trip to Italy. She’s been saving just under $80 a month ever since 8th grade and has about $2500 banked with us right now. The Bank of Mom and Dad pays 3% interest every year at tax time, which is ever more gratifying for the kids. It used to be very difficult for our oldest to make her monthly deposits to the Bank of Mom and Dad, but what with grade money, interest, and babysitting, she’s managing very nicely. She’s also gotten much more frugal and purposeful about her spending.
This idea is adapted from Dave Ramsey’s 401(Dave) idea, where you get teens saving seriously, with the idea that you will match their savings for their first car purchase (up to a certain level). We may also do that eventually.
Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money, Smart Kids book has a lot of good and realistic ideas for kids 3-college age.
Another thing–while currently we have a pretty strict seniority system for bidding on paid chores, I have told the big kids that once C hits 18, she will lose her seniority privileges. At that point, since C will be able to work real outside jobs, D will get C’s old seniority privileges.
So not our family style (and nor was it my family’s of birth’s style). Our general rule is that we live within our family’s budget, which we fully realize allows a lot of extras for everyone. We run into occasional road bumps (the abuse of art supplies would be one in our house — I’m still annoyed about the foam core that was unwisely cut that I’m throwing out today), but we are not willing to do that level of financial management to teach the skills.
I guess we won’t know whether that was a mistake until much into the future.
Of course, if the Bank of Mom and Dad were to be unable to honor deposits around senior trip time, that would teach a completely different lesson than the one we were aiming for.
“So not our family style (and nor was it my family’s of birth’s style). Our general rule is that we live within our family’s budget, which we fully realize allows a lot of extras for everyone.”
There are a lot of inexpensive junky things that kids passionately desire, especially when small. Technically, we could afford mountains of them, but I don’t wish to purchase mountains of them.
For example, T (age 5) is smitten with Hatchimals. If I were buying her Hatchimals, there’d be no virtually no limit to the number of the miniature Hatchimals I’d be asked to buy, but now that she has income (tooth fairy and the occasional dollar for room cleaning), she’s expected to save up for them.
Worse yet, Hatchimals also exist in the large format–$40+ for a not-very-attractive and very basic animatronic critter that pecks its way out of an egg.
If it were all about our budget, how would I justify not getting one a week? (BLECH!)
However, it’s very easy to say no if T has her own small income and can, if she wants to, save up for Hatchimals. It’s just that, as it happens, T is not saving up for the $40 Hatchimal. She is spending her money as it comes in on smaller items.
Conclusion: T does not actually value the $40+ Hatchimals that much compared to other items.
(I told you that this would sound like parenting according to Ron Swanson.)
We might get her one for her birthday or Christmas, if she’s still interested. But in the meantime, she can save up her funds and get one herself, if she really wants one.
“We run into occasional road bumps (the abuse of art supplies would be one in our house — I’m still annoyed about the foam core that was unwisely cut that I’m throwing out today), but we are not willing to do that level of financial management to teach the skills. I guess we won’t know whether that was a mistake until much into the future.”
This is getting a little bit long, but I do want to mention that I’ve realized as an adult that kid me really suffered from lack of money management opportunities. When I was a kid, I didn’t have any regular earning opportunities and small amounts of money just sort of magically appeared at intervals. On the one hand, there was a lot of scarcity (which is unlike your kids’ situation), but there’s some similarity in the fact that I just had no notion of saving or planning with money. In fact, it’s arguable that our oldest at 15 has had more experience of saving and planning than I did as an adult at 30.
Not having experience with saving or planning with money was a very substantial handicap, exacerbated by the fact that my parents were not very transparent about their finances or their decision-making process when I was growing up. Nowadays, my husband and I do our monthly budgeting right out in the living room in front of the kids, so they’re very familiar with the process. Of course, I’m sure you’re able to give a lot of good financial advice–but hands on experience is very important. Without the experience, advice is just words.
This is a ways down the road, but at some point if we have adult children living at home, I’ve also thought of having monthly savings as a requirement for living at home.
I think some people are just dispositionally frugal, and totally anecdotally I’d guess it goes along with a risk averse personality more generally. As a frugal person, my parents didn’t really explicitly teach me about budgeting or financial planning, but every once in awhile my mother would read something about how it was important. As a miserly teen who put every cent in the bank to save for college and went hungry rather than pay for lunch if I forgot mine at home, it only succeeded in stressing me out even more about money. As a college student and now adult, I’ve always had pretty iron financial self control and instinctively save money and live below my means. I got a credit card at 18 to establish a credit history and since opening my first card I’ve never carried a balance. I think in terms of parenting this is an issue where it might differ kid by kid.
“Teaching teen age boys” – Preach it!!!
We have a saying in our house that I posted on the bulletin board in the kitchen: “This is a ship, not a gondola”. In other words, everyone has to pitch in.
It’s so comforting to know that I am not the only parent of teenage boys that is struggling to just get them out of the bed in the morning. When I read my FB feed, it seems like all the other boys their age are: 1) interning at the U.S. Senate, 2) attending national swimming championships, 3) winning national soccer tournaments, etc. etc. (no really – I’ve seen those all on FB in just in the past few weeks. Sigh.
🙂 my FB looks like that, too. But that’s what FB is for.
Nobody’s husband is already a six-pack into the afternoon during the cookout pictures on Facebook either.
“I roused him out of bed at 9:30 this morning with a lecture about appropriate activities during the weekday. They include exercising, job hunting, school work organizing, brother entertaining, reading books, pre-studying for classes, and home choring.”
We have somewhat similar summer activity lists for our big kids, but I’m mainly interested in their doing some good things.
My list for our oldest is something like:
–summer AP physics assignment
–baby sister entertaining
The big kids manage to squeeze in quite a lot of Star Trek Online.
“World Cup watching is okay, too.”
“I gave him the family as an anthill, working together for the common goal speech. He loves that one.”
Bad news–you’re going to wind up with a Republican. Brace yourself!
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