What do Teenagers Want?

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Last year, I wrote an article called Mommy Can I Have? Back then, I was sure that my name was Mommy Can I Have… (fill the blank with whatever they desperately need at the moment.) I know it was only a year ago, but now that my youngest has turned thirteen, I am officially a mom of teens (plural). The most notable change is that now they just want the cash to go and purchase the items themselves.

We have increased their allowance since then. Hubby was sure that that would solve the begging problem. He was wrong.

Now when they ask for the latest gadget or gizmo, I ask them “where is your money?” If by some quirk of nature they still have any of their allowance money left, the answer will be “I’m saving mine to buy…”

They are just not catching on to my reasoning that it makes no sense for the family budget if we give them money to buy what they want, that we should pay for what they want so that they can save up to buy something else that they want. I tell them things like, “I’m saving my money to buy groceries and pay the mortgage.” They don’t get it.

I have attempted to teach budgeting skills to my girls, but – who am I kidding? Hubby and I have never learned these skills; so how can we teach them?

I occasionally resort to “When I was your age…” They still roll their eyes at this. My eldest now has one more tool in her arsenal. She makes puppy dog eyes and says, “But don’t you want your children to have a better life than you did?”

I have decided that there must be a limit to how much better I want their lives to be. I saw on one of those reality shows that I don’t watch an interview with Tori Spelling, daughter of gazillionaire Aaron Spelling. She told the camera, with a straight face, that she has always resented her mother’s stinginess, and that her mother had used the “When I was your age…” speech on her. What, Tori’s mother only got one new car for each birthday and she doesn’t think her daughter really needs five new cars a year? It must be a universal parenting tactic that doesn’t work on rich teenagers either.

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