Parenting | Reader Questions

Mom has meltdown over teen and financial responsibility

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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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