Mom has meltdown over teen and financial responsibility

teenager financial responsibility



When a CBB fan came to me via email yesterday to help her with a problem she is having at home with her daughter I said sure. I thought to myself how difficult could it possibly be?

I thought maybe she wanted a lesson on how to help her teen budget money or find ways to earn extra money on the side.

Sadly, I was only half right.

Teaching your kids financial responsibility starts from a very young age and some kids, well they just don’t get it.

It’s easy to for kids to not understand just how costly it is for their parents to raise them and believe they are ‘entitled’ to handouts until they leave home, if they leave home.

If you aren’t part of the process you won’t understand the process and that’s why it’s not until we are older that we look back on our lives and understand why our parents did what they did.

I’ll be honest and say that when I first read her question the evil side in Mr. CBB came out and I thought… Why don’t you just kick your “teen with an attitude” out and teach her some financial responsibility.

It wouldn’t be the first time parents have had enough with their teens and booted them out the door, clothes and all.


Fan Question


Here is a mother’s plea for help from myself and any of you who might have suggestions for her.

Hi Mr.CBB,

I need help with my 17-year-old who is driving me insane!! I have a general question.

My 17-year-old daughter will not stop asking for money all the time, sometimes 2 to 3 times a week. She has no job and really hasn’t put a solid effort into finding a job other than telling me she has applied or handed out a few resumes.

She has stolen from me, money, liquor, smokes, who knows what else and I keep giving in and don’t know how to get control of this situation.

How do I learn to say no and stay level-headed? I literally go into a meltdown because she gives me such attitude when I say no that I end up giving in. Help!!!



Sometimes when we are forced to do something we are left with no choice but to make decisions and take responsibility for our actions.

It’s not until people go bankrupt or they have creditors chasing them that they take financial responsibility and start budgeting, earning extra money and paying back their debts.

It made some sense, toss her out and force her to find a place to live and a job. The only reason people wait until there is no other alternative is because no one has given them that ultimatum.

In Canada according to Canadian Law in the Family Law Act parents can say good-bye to their kids at the age of 16 free and clear. That’s right they can pack your bags and send you on your way so think twice before telling them what you think you’re going to do while living under their roof.

Obligation of parent to support child

31.  (1)  Every parent has an obligation to provide support for his or her unmarried child who is a minor or is enrolled in a full time program of education, to the extent that the parent is capable of doing so. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3, s. 31 (1); 1997, c. 20, s. 2.

Idem (2) The obligation under subsection (1) does not extend to a child who is sixteen years of age or older and has withdrawn from parental control. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3, s. 31 (2).

I’m not saying that is the right thing to do because now the compassionate father Mr.CBB comes out and realizes that it may not solve the problem entirely.

Have we given the child everything she needs to help guide her in the direction she needs to go? I don’t expect everyone to know how to budget so that’s why it comes with instructions.

Even if something seems like common sense it may not be for everyone so we should always look at situations from other perspectives before we jump to conclusions.

Does your teen understand finance, money, budgets, cost of living etc?

Here is a great post you can show her about a teen who understands financial responsibility and budgets her money using the cash envelope system. Maybe showing her the article will motivate her a bit. It’s worth a shot!


Dear CBB Fan,

First off, I’m sorry you have to go through this but you are not alone. Saying no to your children is difficult especially if they manipulate you into giving them what they want with guilt.

You love your daughter there is no doubt about that as you are reaching out for help because you’ve had enough. We make sacrifices for our children from the time they are born but when we are faced with our babies giving us attitude we wonder where our little girl or boy is or how they got lost along the way.

I’m not sure I’m the guy who will solve your problems but I’ll certainly listen, offer my two cents and hope that others might chime in with their thoughts for you.


Financial responsibility and our kids


Many parents struggle with their teenagers and older kids who live at home, pay no rent and think they run the household. I know I don’t have any children your age but I once was 17 and I had friends like your daughter who ended up living on the streets with no money, no shelter, no food and no job.

Some went on to get pregnant and rely on the system to give them shelter and money to support the baby and others landed in jail or suffered years of financial difficulty due to addictions. These are worse case scenarios but very real.

Growing up my parents never gave me a penny, I earned it. Whether it was working as a paper-boy or in their business I was earning money and learning the basics behind financial responsibility and self reliance. It was great because I was learning skills at the time I wasn’t aware of such as dealing with customers and so on plus I was earning an income.

I wasn’t paying my parents rent at the age your daughter is now but I did move out when I was young and bought my first home at 21. I knew what money was all about because I experienced it first-hand from a young age. Not all kids are fortunate this way for a variety reasons.


Bad Influence


I’ve heard of parents up and moving to a new city to get their kids away from bad influences such as gangs or friends who their kids shouldn’t be hanging around with. Do you know your teens friends? Are they the type of kids you’d like to see your daughter hanging around?

The company your child keeps is very important and unless you can’t kick them out under Canadian Law you might struggle telling her she can’t hang around them.

Maybe introducing your daughter to activities that she might like or sports that interest her may land her some new friends with similar interests other than hanging out doing things they shouldn’t be.  Most times kids are bored and that’s why they do things they shouldn’t.

If you don’t know what she likes, ask her. Encourage her, bring her and put her in the situation to see how she reacts she might just love it. If you find you can’t afford other activities then maybe encouraging her start a small business, a blog or other avenues where she can put her skills to work may just benefit her.

Volunteering is a GREAT way to meet new people and source out new opportunities in the community. If she would like to go to University or College they are always looking for volunteers. There is never a shortage of volunteers needed and maybe the both of you or the family can all participate together.

A family who plays together stays together!


Finding Employment


You can’t turn back the clock but what we can do is figure out ways to motivate kids who think that they don’t need to work or put a half-a$$ed effort into looking for a job.

Back in my days we never had the opportunity to hide behind a computer to look for work. We had to build a resume, dress up and start knocking on doors and asking for managers to see if they were hiring.

Face to face is the best way to land a job these days and I stand by that because everyone can email a resume but not everyone has the skill or the drive to get off their butt to make their presence known. That’s one up on the competition as far as I’m concerned.


Just give me the money


Your daughter is used to you giving her what she needs I’m afraid. There will always be a need and an excuse until she is out on her own earning a living.

Some might call this child spoiled others might believe she is acting out because she enjoys being lazy and handed money for doing nothing.

Does your daughter do chores around the house? Anything for the money you give her?

Either way your daughter must learn financial responsibility and fast before she ends up on her own, no job, no money and having to turn to the Welfare system for assistance. It’s no joke and I’m not trying to cover up anything we don’t already know about the system, it is what it is and not everyone who uses it should be.


Don’t give up


I don’t believe packing her bags is the first step unless you want to use scare tactics (not sure if that would even work) but if you have exhausted all of your options and just can’t take it any more that alternative is there for you. You don’t have to feel bad about it because she is old enough to know right from wrong and stealing is a HUGE problem.

There are usually other reasons people act out so maybe you need to dig a bit deeper to find out why this is happening. A professional likely would be your best person to talk to first.

Putting her out into the streets will only force her to do the same thing but likely to people she doesn’t know and will probably land her in trouble with the law. I know it’s harsh but it’s reality. If she is dabbling into drugs that could even push her over the edge further.

Someone we know is currently serving time as she was caught with drugs and prostituting for money to get them by while living on the streets. We don’t often hear about these things but it’s all around us and VERY TRUE.


Seek professional advice


Sure there are many forums for parents to chat and seek advice about their kids but no two kids are alike and it’s one thing talking about babies and another when it’s your child stealing money and acting out.

Clearly I think you need to speak with a professional and a good start might be with your doctor who may be able to guide you to someone. I honestly don’t think anything I will say today will make your situation any better except for the fact that I tell you not to give up on her.


Participate in the process


She is still your baby and that means even if she doesn’t ask for help verbally sometimes she may be asking you for help other ways. Not everyone is comfortable seeking help so they would rather hit the bottom of the barrel before reaching out.

If you really aren’t sure if she is handing out resumes maybe if you participate in the process that will assure you that she is applying for jobs. Read over her resume to make sure it is optimized for her and not a resume that most Human Resources managers would cringe at.

Who know if her resume is not up to date and this is one of the reasons she is not getting interview calls. If you aren’t sure about resume writing call a professional to look over her resume. Every bit helps and she may just appreciate the effort you are going to help her find a job.

She is still young and her interview skills might not be where they need to be either. You can find many mock interview questions on-line and help her prepare for when that phone call comes in that she has an interview to ease anxiety as well.

Before you know it she will be working and earning her own money!


Stop the problem by not allowing it


We are never going to escape rules and regulations in life so if you don’t have any house rules now is a good time to put them in motion.

I don’t know if you allow her to smoke in your home but stop if you do and the same goes with drinking as this isn’t helping the problem. I’m not sure if you budget your money but she needs lessons in financial responsibility and managing money can start as easy and helping her put together a budget and a financial plan.

What does she need to save for? How much does she need to save? Does she want to move out on her own? How much will rent in the area be? Get involved with her life transition of her moving out of your home into the real world so she understands just how difficult it will be.

Stop giving her money and hide everything you own for the time being. I know it’s hard because it’s your home but unless you are prepared to show her the door it’s going to take lots of work on both your parts to first bond closer as mother and daughter and to understand how you are going to teach her that money doesn’t grow on trees.


Work with her and build trust


Having your daughter become part of the decision-making process when it comes to financial responsibility is key as well. Once she finds a job she will understand what it’s like to work for money but she also will need a bank account set up to deposit money into.

If she doesn’t have a bank account bring her to the bank and have her sit with a financial advisor who will set her up and possibly teach her the in’s and out’s of the debit card, bank charges, interest and credit cards.

Eventually she will be introduced to a credit card so learning about how they can cause severe debt to some is also important along with the perks. That is if the credit card is paid in full every month!

Don’t always assume your daughter knows what she is doing even if she says or thinks she does. She probably doesn’t because if she did she’d be out there looking for a job every day and not stealing and asking you for money.

I’m sure the fans will have other advice for you especially if they have lived through a similar situation or have better insight than I do. I don’t know the extent of the situation other than what you told me so some options might not be an option and others might work out great.

As a new parent I know that the world ahead for my son scares me but all we can do is prepare him the best way we can and hope that he takes financial responsibility seriously so he can stand on his own two feet one day.

What other tips can you offer to this mom?


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  1. Mr CBB: Your advice spot on. Get family counselling! There are things that your daughter needs to hear but from someone else. A counsellor will be able to get your daughter into workshops to get job ready (resume writing, practise interviews, the importance of volunteering, etc) and budget counselling. Most of the time it is a case of the teen not having enough confidence in themselves and these workshops will give them that. Also, a counsellor will help steer both of you back together and working as a team. However, if your daughter gets verbally or physically violent, she has to leave. Please ensure that you are safe. Good Luck!

  2. I will speak as one mother to another. My son was very disobedient and rude all during his teens. He wanted everything given to him, and I wanted him to be happy so I pretty much gave him whatever he wanted. (No dad in the picture.) when he acted out, I saw that little kid who had such a great sense of humor and was so loving, not the angry lazy boy who refused to do anything he didn’t want to. Finally I realized he was stealing cash from my purse while I slept, sneaking my car out for hours in the middle of the night, and one night the police called me in the middle of the night to say he was in the hospital…he’d been in a car wreck. I thought he was asleep in his bed! A few weeks later, and after many screaming matches he disappeared the whole night. The next morning he came home to say he thought he might have a problem with alcohol and needed help. Actually, by that time he was already drinking, smoking pot, and snorting cocaine at age 17. He went to treatment for 16 months, came home, and within 2 months relapsed. This cycle repeated time after time for over 15 years. Over $100,000 was paid out to so many treatment centers I lost count. He spent time in jail twice, and in the state prison system once. Several suicide attempts. . He was addicted to crack cocaine for nearly 10 years. Many more bad things happened during that time, and I’m sure I’ll never know the complete story, nor do I want to. He only got serious about stopping all drugs and alcohol after I finally cut off all communication with him in his mid 30’s. At this time he is in his early 40’s and about 6 years later, ended treatment for the final time. After being sober for about 6 years he is beginning to exhibit a lot of those behaviors that signal a giant relapse is on the way. I hope he brings himself back from the brink, but I have learned my lesson — hands off mom, it’s not my job to fix him. Why do I share all this? Your experiences with your daughter sound exactly like mine, and I’m terrified for your family, including your daughter. You don’t have to be a bum or a criminal to become addicted to drugs, even kids from the nicest, most loving families can fall into this. Don’t take any chances with her life and your sanity. See a professional right away, as quickly as you can find one and get their take on the situation. Needing money several times a week and stealing it if it is not given is a very big sign of drug abuse. I hope I’m wrong, I wouldn’t want anyone in the world to suffer like my son or like me for so many years. But I was completely unprepared and uneducated about signs and symptoms, much less what to do. Go find someone who specializes in drug abuse and talk, be totally honest. The expert will tell you the truth about what he thinks, and it will be confidential. Don’t tell your family before you go get some helpful advice. And really, I hope I am dead wrong, but it sure sounds very familiar. God bless you and your daughter.

  3. Tough place to be. I don’t feel qualified to give advice here but I do have a very dear friend whose younger daughter is deep into the drug scene and has been for a long time. She knows I am here when she needs someone to talk to and vent to. There is a lot I could say about that one but I won’t as it isn’t my place.
    My kids were pretty good. My daughter worked from an early age and pretty much put herself through college and is now raising my grandson by herself. The older boy was in the military for 8 years before a medical release with depression, he has since been diagnosed with Asperger’s, one of the Autism Spectrum Disorders. The younger boy is currently our of work but looking. With their father being not well the boys have been great and helping me out around the house all the time.
    The worst I had to deal with was my daughter arguing about what time she had to be home at night. One of her ‘friends’ called me a mean Mom because I wouldn’t let her stay out and do what ever…… I’ll take that as a compliment.
    These days in Ontario the kids in high school must do community serve in order to graduate, 40 hours worth or 10 hours a year. Is this girl doing her community service??? Maybe helping out at a place like the Salvation Army Thrift store or Goodwill would open her eyes to just how good she has it…… Good luck to this mom……

    1. We really only know from experience growing up ourselves or our own kids you are right. The only way is by seeking professional advice and working together with the teen so they are in a better place with each other. I think volunteering is a great way to get involved with the community as well. Thanks Christine! 🙂

  4. Wow. I’d say your daughter is only 17 so you still have time to turn things around.

    Your daughter is 17, presumably in high school, and has no job. When I was in high school it was pretty common to focus on school, not have a job, and be dependent fully on your parents.

    I would suggest giving her chores and a reasonable set allowance. Don’t give her more. If she steals, make her repay you. If she wants more, she can work for it. I’m sorry that you’re going through this. Hopefully she’ll start making good choices.

    As for the legal advice above, I read it as you need to support your minor children under 18. But, 16 year olds can move out and declare themselves independent.

    1. I’d suggest contacting a lawyer to get find out exactly what can and can’t be done in terms of kicking a teen out of the house. Thanks for sharing I”m sure she will be VERY thankful to you.

  5. Hi Mr. CBB,

    If I didn’t know better, I would have been speaking about my daughter. My daughter doesn’t steal from me or yell because I won’t give her money but she’s an adult who doesn’t do anything around the house or really look for work (in my opinion). She knows that I won’t throw her out as I was thrown out and I couldn’t do that to her so I live with the “pain” that she is because I love her. When she was born, I was living on welfare and she grew up watching me leave the welfare system and get a job, buy numerous of vehicles and now even a condo.

    I think that you have given this mother very good advice in ways to try and resolve this issue and because of my situation, I really can’t add anything more. I really wish this mother all the best and nobody ever said that kids comes with an instruction manual (many days, I wish they did) 🙂

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