How Much Do You GIVE Your Teen, and What Do They EARN??

Updated on February 16, 2012
3.B. asks from Tampa, FL
17 answers

I seem to have a different take on what I will "hand out" to my kids, and what I think they should earn. While there's a big age gap in my 1st and last two, I plan on being no different in my approach. Which scares me already because compared to most parents, I'm worlds apart already.
For example, I told my oldest we will pay for driving school and if he gets a part time job, we will HELP him get a car. But then he will have to pay for his own gas, and insurance.....he looked at me like I was crazy. (We have shared custody of him) Now my sister who has a daughter the same age, just bought her a $9000 car. (financed) her daughter does not have a job, gets poor grades, and has been in quite a bit of trouble. Even w/ out the trouble part, I think this is NUTS. My sister lives in an effeciency apartment that my parents own, so her rent is minimal. So I guess she can afford this....but really? And her reasoning was "I like being able to do things for her." And to which my answer was that all she is doing is teaching her to be entitled, and ungrateful. She also plans on paying for her daughter a cruise when she graduates.Her daughter ha an I-phone, got a Coachpurse for Christmas, has her nose lip and belly pierced......But the sad part do most of her friends!?

I struggle because i don't have full reign over my oldes son. So alot of times when I take a privilege away or deny it because I think it should be earned, they go behind my back and give it to him anyways.. I have TRIED so hard to maturely discuss thse issues, but it falls on def ears. It's like they buy him, and I always look the stingy jerk! Ex; he ran up his cell phone bill, we had moved him to our pan YEARS after they bought him a phone against my wishes, anyways, I gave him 1 shot to keep it under and he ran it up again. I turned his phone off and told him in a few months, we would try again....So they bought him a NEW phone, with unlimited everything behind my back.... Am I really so crazy that I think things like cell phones, laptops, CARS should be EARNED by our kids??? My sister also said that "Kids these days have enough to be made fun of about, to not a have a CELL PHONE. What's the big deal?" WHAT????
So, fellow parents of teens.....What are your rules and guidelines as to what they GET and what they have to EARN????

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So What Happened?

I'm not saying 15/16 year olds shouldn't have phones 12-13? No. I-phones? no. Data packages? no. Unlimited text? no Guess I should've been more specific. And if you break your phone???Pay for another one then. And if you run up the bill? etc etc LOL
I am surprised at how many people aren't answering this, and for most who have....?? Kids have no idea what it means to EARN anythinng anymore. And Im not anOLDIE I'm 35 LOL
Seems like alot of you are missing my point. If your kids get bad grades do they keep their phone? If they get in trouble? are they allowed to sit and talk/text 4 hours an end? Same w/ cars. Seems more on convenience for the parents. My parents hardly drove me anywhere, I had to figure it out. And to me an irresposible kid getting bad grades eetc shouldn't be driving! I,m not trying to deny my son anything, I'm trying to teach him that everything is not handed to you in life!

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answers from Chattanooga on

i told my kids they want cells phones it will be when they can afford their own.. and their best bet for that would be straight talk as they have best service prices. Other than that I buy my kids what I can and I do have teens but its all a matter of what a parent can afford or things their child has earned. Some do spoil their kids.. some wish they could spoil them.



answers from Kansas City on

My kids don't get an "allowance". They do stuff for us, and they get paid whatever my husband and I, usually on the spot. Go rake the yard for us, we'll give you $50. We have an acre in the backyard, almost 1/2 in front. Rake the whole dang thing. Yep, they do it. Same with shoveling snow. And vacuuming. But it is not always a big amount. And lots of times we tell them, you go do this, and not get paid, just because you live here. My kids pay for their cell phones, by mowing the yard. And sometimes they have to push mow it if their dad tells them to for whatever reason. I have workers for kids, and people compliment us on it. You have to earn responsibiliy in life and have the mind of a worker if you want to succeed. Oh, and don't get me wrong either, my kids think they are entitled too.

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answers from Albany on

Well, I have three teenagers. But I don't really spend much time fussing about the way other people raise their own kids. I do it my way, and that works for us.

Since all three are outstanding students and a pleasure everyday of my life, to me THAT is all they need to do to EARN things. And things that are not within my budget, are just that, not even on the table.

(I should also say, I don't believe cell phones are still a 'priviledge'. After all MY mom thought our LANDLINE was a luxury we kids didn't really need. However, if I couldn't afford their cell phones, they wouldn't have them, it would have absolutely NOTHING to do with what OTHER families do)


5 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

People are different, families are different. I have one (only child) daughter who is 18 and in her first year of college and thriving.

I didn't go into this parenting thing to keep as many things from her as possible. She had a cell phone at 12...right after elementary school and it was easier than slapping a GPS on her back. I have never had her run her bill up like a crazy girl. Texting is speaking these days (hint, hint)! She played sports (through HS and travel ball) and was all over the place (although I was there for all games).

We can still have wonderful, amazing giving, grateful, kind children even if we give them "perceived extras. Gotta say, most are not extras in my home.

Her dad and I both drive company cars, no chance for her driving those legally. So, I went out and purchased (cash) a $25K California Edition VW looks like the day she drove it off the lot 35 months ago and that kid goes everywhere.

We have always had mutual respect, open communication and she does a ton for me with out being asked, she always has!! I find with giving her trust, it usually works out great.

I never had any rules or preconceived notions about what would happen at what worked for our family. She showed great responsibility and could be given more opportunities. Really well I must say!!

**I texted her a while ago at work on her break and asked her to please go by CVS and pick up my prescription and then laundry detergent. "Sure Mom, no problem, love you".

Love. That. Kid!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Memphis on

I just want to say that my parents were divorced when I turned 16. They agreed to pay half of a car note for me and I had to pay the second half. It was a great way for me to start earning a credit rating. I feel it taught me great appreciation for money. I'm almost 40 and I have a great credit rating I think due to the way my parents raised me to earn things on my own and be responsible.

Good luck,

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

I agree that kids just expect things. We got out oldest a phone when he was 16 1/2. It does have unlimited texting/calling, etc. He is responsible with it. We are NOT buying him a car. He will have to work and save up. We may offer to match what he saves for it but not sure yet. We have basic chores around the house they are responsible for, no "allowance" for it. But if they need something we get it. We also have extra jobs that we offer to pay for. If they want something we won't buy, they can earn money and buy it themselves. I think way too many kids are growing up thinking the world will be handed to them on a silver platter. Keep up the good work!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't compare what we do and how we parent to other families. Each family is unique and does things their own way.

We have a 17 year old. We provide well for her and she knows it. She is an outstanding student and person. We are very fortunate to be able to care for her as much financially as we do.

We are planners and have always been. Daughter has been raised to live within or below her means. She knows we live debt free. We have taught financial responsibility from day 1. She does babysit for a few families for extra cash and I recently put her on our company payroll. She would like to study business in college so she is an employee of mine and learning first hand how to run a business efficiently and per all guidelines.

That said.. yes she got a car at 16. It was my car that I drove about 4 yrs, completely paid for, perfect condition and low miles. When we bought this car, we had her in mind for it for when she turned 16. She knew it was lined up to be hers. So what did we do.... we told her if she wanted it, she would continue to be the outseanding student she is and maintain her grades, cheer, orchestra, etc. She has goals of a great college so this part was not hard for her. Yes, we pay all gas and insurance.

We've all 3 had Iphones since they were introduced into the marketplace.

She just received her 2nd laptop this fall. Her first was old, running too slowly and she uses her laptop A LOT for her school work. She even carries it to school sometimes to work on projects.

She purchases all of her clothing with the money she brings in from babysitting and working with me. When she got a traffic ticket, we took her car from her for a month, she paid ALL fees, took defensive driving and EARNED her license back.

All that said... yes we do give a lot but she gives a lot as well. We purposely put her in the car we did because it is one of the safest cars on the road. We purposely have a good solid cell plan because we want her to have availability to contact us, police or whoever she needs to in an emergency. Yes, of course she texts like crazy, so do I. Yes, we will foot 100% of her college because we believe it is our responsibility as parents to get her out of college debt free.

She knows if she were to blow it academically, get lax (which I can't see ever happening being raised in this home), that she would lose a LOT of things we give generously. Yes, she earns what we give her because she works hard and she busts her a$$ to keep good grades in her AP/honors class, work in the community and keep up with cheer and orchestra.

We feel blessed to have her in our life and we are glad to do anything we can to set her up for success. We have her is up to her to drive the train.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Hi! I think everyone has their own version of "spoiled". I'm sure there are people that think mine are spoiled. What they don't see is all my kids do, only what they get. We are homeschoolers, we have always done some kind of volunteer work, we have spent years traveling to and from to take care of my sister and then my mother before they died. They have always been involved in cooking, cleaning, gardening, yard work, everything. We have never paid them for chores or an allowance. But we have spread ourselves very thin to give them the opportunity to do special things. We live in a tiny (650 sq. ft.) house and I drive a 20 yr old car.Their job is to learn, not only "school" learning but how to get along in the world and become good people. They only have this small window in time to have these opportunities, like dance camp or Scout trips. They can not earn the money for these things and perform their primary function, which is to learn. We are supposed to be helping them reach their potential. That said... my son (18) has been working a fabulous summer job since he was 13. It started as a volunteer position that he desperately wanted and proved himself so well that they decided to pay him. He has been very careful with that money. He has a cell phone and has never once gone over his minutes and text plan in three years. He's bought himself a laptop and a desktop. This year he did some dive work as well and used the money to buy a car. We paid for driver ed, and he drove my van for a while until he finally made an excellent deal on a car, old, but runs well. We have always included them in money matters, they have a clear idea of how much things cost and bills. My kids are great shoppers, sometimes they surprise even me, I thought I was a great shopper!. My daughter (16) takes sewing classes with an older ( I can't call her elderly but she's in her 70's) friend. With what she has learned she has made all kinds of things to sell, my favorite are the personalized pillowcases. She also demonstrates where she dances which lowers our bill. I think I've meandered around trying to say that I honestly don't believe everything should be handed to them but without knowing someone's personal story you can't really put them in all in the same basket. Yeah, we gave our kids ski passes but my son will give you the shirt off his back and my daughter will bake you some cookies so you won't go hungry. Spoiled? I don't think so...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

So when my kids were in high school, they had a cell phone, but not until they were 14 or 15. And even then it was a phone that would text and call and nothing else.

I also didn't give my kids allowance but they always had some money in their pocket for extras (and like $5 or $10, not $50). My son paid for his first car by working at a fast food place and paying for it outright (I helped him with this by paying for title transfer and first months insurance). His car cost him $800 and was a beater for all defense and purposes but it was HIS beater and it got him to and from school and it was paid for.

I make my kids EARN everything. I do not hand out. I will never hand out.

And to be frank, the problem with society today is that I haven't met a young adult yet that knows the value of a dollar cause momma and daddy are too busy paying their way.

My 19 yr old AND my 23 yr old have jobs, pay their own way and ask for help when they NEED it. I am morally supportive, I advise on money matters and I hold their hand when they can't get that pair of jeans or that one PHONE and they are devastated by it. But I won't buy it for them.

I love my children enough to not cater to them. Life won't.

Sending good thoughts your way.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I have 2 stepsons (20 & 17) and then we have 3 lil' kids. So far, our take on it has been it is the kids' job to get good grades and do their chores. We are in the camp of 'giving' I suppose.

The oldest have had their drivers classes paid for by us, cell phones, laptop (when they graduate), a computer in their room, XBOX. Wii, we bought the oldest a car (w/help from the in-laws, $6K we bought it outright, so no payments) pay for gas & insurance during HS while they are going to college, if they are going to college. *The in-laws pay for college.

I understand completely where you are coming from b/c right this minute I am struggling w/the same thing. Our oldest is 20 and going to college but I am starting to worry about when he is going to start paying for some of these things himself?

With 'my' 3 lil' kids I believe I will take a slightly different approach but still plan on being responsible for buying them a car and their driving lessons but will hopefully find a way for them to contribute in some way.

There has to be a happy medium somewhere?! The phone while in HS is contingent on getting good grades, the 17 yr. old gets his phone as long as he has all A's and B's, no C's for him! I am sure it *might* change depending on the child but the 17 yr old is capable of being a straight A student and we ALL know it!

They both have Droids and unlimited's just cheaper that way and we don't ever have to worry about overage anything!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My son is 17 and a Senior in High School. He has had a cell phone since 8th grade because I feel it is a safety thing and If I want to get a hold of him at anytime I can. If he gets in trouble I suspend everything to where only myself or my husband can call and he can only call us :)

As far as a car goes, I have a 2003 Saturn that was my dads sitting in the driveway waiting for him. I told him I would give him the car, but he has to pay the insurance and pay 1/2 of his drivers ed. HE decided he would wait until he was 18 to drive because he didn't want to pay 1/2. He has had a job since he was 16 and it is walking distance and so is school. He also is a Dallas Fire Rescue explorer and is going to be a Firefighter/paramedic. He has always wanted to do that since he was 10 and has never changed his mind. He has also decided to wait for his trust fund to be available to him on his 18th birthday so he can pay for the down payment on insurance.

He earns enough money to pay for it now, but he has decided he would rather wait. For graduation, I am actually paying for 6 months of insurance for him and getting the windows tinted on the car for him,but he does not know it and he is going to be so excited! He also pays for 1/2 of the newest phone that comes out. I was VERY spoiled growing up and I think it hurt me in the long run, so I think I have found a "middle" with my son.

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answers from San Francisco on

Well, we have three cars so my daughter automatically has a car to drive. But it's more for my sake than hers. The high school is on the other side of town so if I had to take her back and forth it would be at least an hour out of MY day.
So yes, we pay for the (minimal) gas and insurance. She got a laptop for her birthday a few years ago but she wrecked it so she's stuck using the family computer. Her phone is what we bought on the family plan. But if she wants anything else, like new clothes? She's gotta pay for it. Babysitting, washing cars, pet sitting, that's how she gets money. I don't just hand it out.

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answers from Orlando on

For the car part.
This have become a family joke for a while. My husband and I often joke to my daughter that "we" are the ones that can't wait for her to drive, so she:
-Is the one that has to go out an buy the "one" item I forgot to buy for cook
-Is the one that has to go out on a raining day to buy or drop something
-so she can drive me on those crazy holidays shopping season and drop me at the front of teh store and pick me up so I don't have to drive for hours for parking
-so she can drive while my husband sit in the back and hug and kiss, lol.
-so she is the one that has to wash the car
etc, etc.
Of course some of these are not true, but we have fun =*)

When she gets older we are going to buy a safe used car, our pick.
Is not going to be her car, is going to be a family car.
If my husband or me need the car we will use it, period.
She will not pay for the car but she would pay for her gas and any damage she cause, and she would have to clean the car.
She will have rules about the car just as she has rules about home.

And no stickers, pink stuff or stuff animals on the car...that is what my husband ask but we will see , lol.

Of course, this, like any other thing, she would only have if we believe she is responsible and as with any other thing, she could be punish by not using the family car if she does something bad.
Besides going to shop for me when it is raining, lol.

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answers from St. Louis on

The help my kids got was I drove them to work when they were still too young to drive. They both had jobs when they were 13. They saved up for their first cars, they pay their own insurance and gas.

When my kids are 14 they get cell phones and I pay for it. If they want data or texting they pay for the bells and whistles. I want to be able to reach them so I pay for the phone.

Maybe I am lucky, my ex loves money more than his kids so he would never go behind my back and spend money to make the kids happy.

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answers from Washington DC on

I happen to agree with you.
My daughter gets $500 towards a car. Anything more she has to have the money herself. So for four years she has saved her babysitting money and now has $1500 with which to buy a car, if she so chooses.
Along with car comes responsibility like gas and insurance. She will be on my policy but will have to pay me for her part of the insurance. As of right now she doesn't even want her license.

My girls do have phones, one is 16 the other 14. THey have texting on them and they take pictures. We check the phones periodically. Neither has abused it, or we will take it away.

I will buy them clothes that they need. For instance, underwear, gym shoes, jeans when the old pairs get ratty, a new top here and there. I do not buy heels, boots, scarves, any "must have" items that the rest of the kids have. THey have money, they can buy it themselves.

I do pay for field trips but no souvenirs. I will pay for mission trips and food on such trips but not the tshirt that usually costs more. Any family trip we take they pay for their own fun stuff, souvenirs, candy.

My girls can get their ears pierced after 8th grade graduation. While they live in my house they may not have any other piercings or tattoos.

And I may be wrong but your issue is not what he can and can't have. It's what your ex is doing behind your back. He is completely undermining you.
Stay strong and stick to your guns. Tell your son that YOU will not be providing that certain whathaveyou and tell him why. He will be mad now but he will respect you for it in the long run. These are the times when both parents have to stick together. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

ya my car was bought by my parents, insurance was paid for by them (its cheaper to be on their plan) and they paid for my gas. it was my "job" to go to school and help around the house so i did. if i have the money i will buy both my girls a car when they turn 16. and no i was not ungrateful im more grateful than my idiot brother and sister who wernt given anything b/c of their actions and at almost 50 they still think they are entitled to my parents money....



answers from Madison on

We don't have teens yet...we are not far off from when we were teens either. I did get a car from my parents. Nothing fancy but it got me where I needed for 10 years before I had to get another one. I did have to earn the car. I had to learn how to drive a stick shift before I could even touch the "automatic" my parents bought for me. I had to have good grades and there was a bunch of other stuff. They new I needed I have to say also that my older sister did NOT get a car because she refused to learn to drive a stick shift....(my dad found it very important to do this since you never know if in an emergency it might be the only vehicle available) anyhow she never got her license or a car because she refuse. I can tell you that there were many times that they wished they would have caved cause she did a lot of activities but they didn't and don't regret it at all.

Like I said we don't have teens but we have a few convictions set in place that we are starting to focus on now. No cell phones till they are 16 with a permit and need one...only exception is if one of our children decides to do babysitting before age 16 where they will then have access to one of our phones while they are out.

Our dating rule is set in place also, no dating till a certain age and that encludes coupling up...example no going out at all with a guy unless it is a group activity no one on one at all even if it is tutoring etc.

we have a bunch of other convictions that are set and we have a lot more to go but we feel that some of them are more inportant to stress as early as possible. and yes, we do NOT allow our nearly 7 year old girl go on playdates with just a boy, even at this age since we find this to be a very important situation.

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