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Thursday, October 21, 2004

Ungrateful Insensitive Twits

Kids. Ugh.

My 18 year old son really takes the cake. He's been driving his father's car ever since his became unusable, hasn't been saving to get himself into another one, doesn't pay rent, and has the nerve to tell ME to get a job when I say he should give us grocery money.

He bought his gf a membership to Bally's, buys numerous DVD's (whatever strikes his fancy) bought 2 ceiling fans, one of which he hasn't even bothered to put up, and it can't be returned because it was a closeout... sigh.

If I don't start generating some income soon, I'm going to get suicidal. Not that killing myself would help any... there's no life insurance on me. It would just be one less mouth for my overworked and underpaid husband to feed is all.

By my reckoning, the 18 year old should be paying $100/week for room and board and another $50/week for his HUGE share of our car insurance... and actually $50/week wouldn't even cover his share. THAT'S more like ANOTHER $100/week. So he should be giving his dad $3-400 every two weeks when he gets paid. But my husband won't even consider charging him rent. He says if he did he'd just put it in savings for the kid! WHEN WE DON'T EVEN HAVE ENOUGH MONEY FOR THE BILLS! Insane.

Before Frank started driving, our car insurance was about $200/month. Now it's over $600/month. My husband said not to bother giving him cash, just buy some groceries. But getting the kid to buy groceries is like pulling teeth!

I just don't know what to do at this point. I'm tired of feeling like jumping off a bridge, though. Any suggestions?


Sleeping Mommy said...

Eek! You make me afraid for when my toddlers are in their teens. :) And we will have two teen boys at once. Oh lord I fear for our insurance costs! Good luck with your son. Unfortunately without your husband willing to play hardball with him I'm not sure what to tell you to do.

Sister Sunshine said...

Well, if you're lucky, your insurance won't be as bad as ours. South Florida's rates are one of the highest in the nation. It's hard to believe the gov. allows the insurance industry to hold us all hostage the way they do, though. I mean, our insurance is THREE TIMES what our car payment was... and now we can't even afford to fix our cars or get a new one due to the money we're shelling out for insurance.

I'm getting very depressed about all of this... and about the job market, as well. There seems to be no hope... and no light at the end of the tunnel. Just blackness.

BillyBudd said...

If I may be so bold as to comment on you conundrum.
I have a 17 year old son, so here is the skinny:
You have a drivers license? That is a priviledge not a right. Give him 30 days to get a job to pay HIS insurance. No job? Buy him a bus pass. By paying his insurance he keeps his driving record clean. Next, the three of you sit down and come up with a plan. A calender of events in his life. Job or school by 90 days or out by 120. Go to the local armed services recruiting offices and leave pamphlets on his bed. Ma and Pa have to be on the same page, so convince hubby that this is for the boys own good not yours. your responsibility is to raise a MAN not a housecat.
I can go on if you would like. Good Luck

BillyBudd said...
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BillyBudd said...

Also the gov. has nothing to do with insurance rates, boys 16 to 20 do most of the racing and wrecking, a fact. I know I was one.

Sister Sunshine said...

You're right Billy, thanks for responding. My son HAS a full time job. It's my husband's fault he doesn't pay for his own insurance... he told him to buy groceries instead of paying for his share of the insurance. A bus pass would mean he'd lose his job... he does computer service for Dell, and they send him all over the state. He HAS to have a car.

I wish the three of us could sit down and discuss this... that would be wonderful. I'll see if I can talk my husband into doing it.

As for armed services, Frank already expressed interest in that so that he could get his student loans from college (he got a GED at 16 and Associate's Degree at 18) paid by the gov. But they won't accept him due to his scoliosis. He's about 1 or 2 degrees away from having to wear a brace for life.

I agree... being too soft on him is only going to hurt him in the long run. He needs to be forced to develop some responibility.

As for the insurance rates, I still say that they've been raised far beyond what's reasonable. It's insane when the insurance payment is higher than a car payment.

BillyBudd said...

One parting thought. First it is not your husbands fault. You both made him so its a mutual decision, you just were not assertive. Insurance has a fixed cost,thus a fixed responsibility, food is subjective. Change his priority to that. Having a physical handicap is a set back not a free life time pass not to grow up. Whatever guilt or apprehensions you two have will not help your son develop the skills he needs to continue after you are gone. Raising kids isn't easy, raising them to be adults his harder.

kat said...
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Anonymous said...
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Sister Sunshine said...

Well, since my husband was off work last night (two weeks in a row now he's only worked 4 days...) I sent him an email about the situation. To his credit, he DID speak to my son and tell him to stop talking back to me... but he still has to get to the money issue.

I suggested we start a file that includes his (my husband's) pay stubs and all of the bills for one month including grocery & gas receipts as well as any car/home repairs. So my son can see the difference between what my husband makes and what we NEED. I guess it's going to be up to ME to do it though, since it's my suggestion. Wish me luck!

Sister Sunshine said...

Crap! I didn't mean to remove Kat's post. I was trying to remove my post that came through as anonymous. Well... here's what Kat said:

I think if your son really needs to have a car for work that's a totally different issue than having you pay for his using it. If he's not interested in paying for vegetables, then it's the car. Simple.

You really have to have a serious talk with your husband. I see no logic in the way he's reasoning. What kind of role model are you if you don't show your teenager how to make priorities? Bills need to be paid or there are consequences. That's priority no 1.

You have to ask yourselves what message you're giving your son.

Blog Bloke said...

Lydia, tell your hubby that tough love is still LOVE. When the Bloke was a lad he had a paper route at age 5, and was working summer jobs by 16. Didn't do me any harm.

It is not only our job as parents to put a roof over our kids' heads and food in their mouth. It is also our job to prepare them for the real world, and the way we do that is to start weaning them off Mom and Dad's bread line. Age 18 is the time to start doing that and the only excuse would be illness or disability preventing them from getting a JOB.

I know how hard it is is to ask your kids to start paying something towards their keep. But by age 18 they should be paying something. The way I did it was I asked my daughter to start paying for her food. Don't call it rent - just money to cover food and/or automobile costs. If he squawks remind him it is time he started thinking about the family instead of just himself. You can also remind him that he is still getting a very good deal compared to if he was living on his own.

You are doing your kids as well as yourselves a disservice by spoiling them. I'm a firm believer in family discussions, but that only works if you and your husband are united. Sit down and come up with a figure that is reasonable and tell your son lovingly, but firmly that he must start learning to be responsible for himself and that starts at home with his family.

You can adjust that amount depending on whether or not he is planning to go to school (but don't be fooled into that as an excuse to get off free). Tell him that he must start paying by such and such time, and if he doesn't then he will owe you the following month. Keep a tab and be consistent, and he will eventually get picture.

candoor said...

I think that if his job is costing you money, then he does not need his job and neither do you need him working that job.

I think they key fact you need to focus on is "he needs the car for work." Specifically, the "He needs" part. Life is about making choices, not about getting a free ride. It is great that he has a good job at his age, however he needs to decide if he can afford his job. Would his salary pay for his car, gas, insurance, rent, utilities, food, clothes, fun, and so on? What he needs most is to learn how to budget his paycheck to be able to survive on it.

If he needs the car for work, then he and his work needs to pay for it. You don't pay the employer for the privilege of working. The other option is get a job within walking/bus/or biking distance of home. If his job is just for his own spending money and not for his bills, then he doesn't need the better job that basically forces you to raise his allowance just so he can keep earning more personal spending money.

He needs to talk to his boss about car costs, mileage rates, and whether the company has any program to provide employees with vehicles since travel is so much a part of the job. If the job salary is not enough to pay for the car, insurance, and living expenses, then he is not really working, he's just going to a kind of 'work-camp' that you are paying for.

However long you choose to give him a free ride in life (and I'm not opposed to giving a kid a few years past his 18th birthday, having that luxury growing up is wonderful -if the family can afford it- but I believe for his own growth and pride in himself, he should be putting in the bank at the very least one dollar more than his total monthly expenses every month.

What -he needs- most is to learn to balance his own budget now that he has the tools (his own income and expenses) to do it. At the very least, by banking it, it becomes the start of his retirement savings and his kids college fund.

Sister Sunshine said...

Thanks everybody. My husband and my son were working on getting a car together today... hopefully he'll get it soon. I appreciate all of the advice!