Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Children Should Learn To Help Pay Their Way

Many parents think they're spoiling their children by allowing them to live at home scot-free once they start working, but I think it's cruel of parents not to take board - even when they can afford to do without the money.

It is, in my opinion, grossly unfair to young people to let them imagine they have no obligations to their parents or the community, but only to themselves when they first start earning.

A sum of money, no matter how small it may have to be, should be handed to mother to assist with their keep and should be increased when they can afford it until they are paying their way.

Only by doing this can the child be prepared to cope with life and its responsibilities.

It's a protection in case he or she is suddenly thrown on his or her own resources without any previous experience in what it costs to get along in this tough old world.

What a tough time the youngster is in for if suddenly, in place of home with good old mum, who will do anything in return for a hug and a kiss, he has perhaps a room in a boarding-house with a stony-hearted landlady who charges to the hilt.

Here such amenities as use of television, telephone, bath, etc., all have to be paid for separately, and tubes of toothpaste and tablets of soap have to be bought out of his own pocket.

Then there's another important factor to consider. In our home at least, and I imagine in almost every home, every penny for years has gone on the children.

Mum and Dad have come a bad second in such items as new clothes, holidays, etc.

We all know how expensive those high school years are with the extras we like to provide so that our children shall not miss out the treats like weekend camps, end-of-term socials (a new dress and shoes for daughter every time), and so on.

But when the children start to earn it is time for Mum and Dad to start thinking of themselves.

We, at any rate, are badly in need of clothes, blankets, pillows, curtains, and all sorts of things.

Is it right to let our children go gaily on their way spending freely on themselves while we get worse and worse off?

Is it right to get ourselves into the position where we will eventually reach retirement age in such a state that we shall have to ask for financial assistance - just when the young ones are starting homes of their own?

From my own experience I think this is as unfair to the children as it is to ourselves.

In 26 years of marriage my husband and I have never known what it is not to be putting our hands in our pockets for elderly relatives who need help. And it has been a great hardship at times.

We don't want this to happen to our children.

We believe it's far better to take the money now while they can afford it than to subject ourselves to the humiliation, and the young ones to the inconvenience, of handouts when they are trying to raise families of their own.

Of course many people are in the fortunate position that it makes no difference whether they take board or not.

I would still advise them to do so for the following reason.

Until recently I worked as head typist with a large firm, where I learned a great deal about young girls and their attitudes to paying board and to their parents generally.

How sad that they had grown so inconsiderate when their parents were doing so much for them.

I resolved that my daughter would be under no delusions that her board money was unnecessary when the time came for her to start earning.

That day came at the beginning of this year, when both our son and daughter started work.

We had a round-table conference at which I laid before them a list of our expenses for one year, together with a note of our total income.

For the first time both children knew just what we had to live on and how it was spent. It was an eye-opener.

For instance, neither had known of the payments we make to help our elderly relatives to live in reasonable comfort.

Neither knew just how much it costs to keep the car on the road; the television set insured and licensed; or how much the rates and taxes and repayments on the house come to.

Our daughter (because of a misunderstood remark she had overheard years ago) was under the impression that my husband's fortnightly salary was his weekly salary.

(No wonder when she was at school she had boasted we were well off.)

After studying all these figures closely and discussing each child's earnings, a sum for them to pay weekly was amicably decided upon.

Both our son and daughter assured us that they would gladly pay more as soon as they could afford it, as they fully realize that the sums they can pay at present are insufficient to keep them (although my husband and I assured them that they will be a big help to us).

All of us are now much happier.

The children feel they are helping us and we know that if for any reason they are suddenly thrown on their own resources they will be able to cope.

In the meantime my husband and I can prepare for retirement - even though it is still a good many years off.

And we're in the happy position of knowing that when that times comes we shall be independent of our son and daughter and may even be able to help them over any rough patches when they start their own homes and families.


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