My son is 14. We pay him for his grades: an A gets him $20, a B $10, a C nothing, a D costs him $10 and an F costs him $20. Since we started this system, he’s earned straight A’s.
But with all that money comes a whole lot of responsibility, and our son has grown in that respect. As a result, we’re not worried about how he spends his money, as long as he drafts a proposal for his desired purchases, puts it before his parents for a vote and we approve it unanimously.
One afternoon, he presented his proposal the only way a teen could—via text. He outlined the problem: Apple EarPods broke. He gave us the solution: Apple wireless AirPods could be purchased. He provided the means: Beats wireless earphones, which were acquired in January and didn’t fit, could be sold to pay for new AirPods, and money earned from straight A’s could supplement the difference.
We’ll discuss it tonight, my wife texted back.
We can’t discuss over text? the kid responded.
My wife and I weren’t tickled about our son selling his Beats. He’d used a gift card from Christmas to make the purchase. They
Since January, when our son procured the Beats, he’d grown into the next stratosphere. Maybe they’d fit by now. But maybe they’d still be uncomfortable. I could vouch for how comfortable they weren’t.
Nevertheless, we’d previously told the kid to wait till they fit to make a determination. If at that point he still didn’t want them, I’d take them off his hands (or rather his ears), even if they were uncomfortable. My wife was fine with that.
So these Beats sat in the box for months while the kid used the Ear- Pods that had come with his iPhone. Then they broke. And he discovered that being a teenager meant owning a pair of Apple wireless AirPods, and he couldn’t wait till his birthday or Christmas to get them.
One afternoon, he put his Beats up for sale the only way a teen could—via text. Right away he got bites.
It wasn’t unlike your elected officials using taxpayer dollars to move forward on a project you didn’t approve. My wife and I were upset. We specifically told him we’d discuss it that night.
“I didn’t sell them . . . yet,” he argued.
“Exactly,” I responded.
The kid’s text messages incriminated him: All the dirty details of the sale and the meeting place where the deed would be done. Later we uncovered the goods: His Beats were repackaged as if brand-new.
“I was going to ask you tonight like we planned,” he said.
“You were supposed to wait to talk to us before doing anything.”
But teens don’t wait. They go in for the guilt.
“I don’t wanna be dependent on my parents forever,” he said. Then he laid it on us—how we have to remind him to brush his teeth correctly, clean his room and use deodorant. “I wanted to do something on my own for a change. I wanted you to be proud of me. I wanted to be proud of myself.”
The kid got a little choked up. The mother and father? Yeah, we didn’t buy his sorrow either. We told him to cancel the sale with his friend since he couldn’t wait to talk with us, and we reminded him to think about his chores. For work around the house he could wait.