There is nothing easy about parenting. Nothing at all.
It takes time, discipline, patience, understanding, more time, more discipline, more patience and even more understanding. Because like I’ve said in other posts, LOVE is not enough. Love is just a feeling.
Children can’t live their entire childhood with just a “feeling”, they need to spring into action. They need to take ownership of themselves, their bodies, their finances, and their peer group.
As parents, somehow we have been entrusted to raise these children. Obviously there are some people who should never have gone on this journey, but for those who have, it ain’t no walk in the park.
Kids find a way to get under our skin. They know what sets us off. They know our triggers.
We as parents know what sets them off, we know their triggers. So together we have to come up with some balance that will help the kids in our care grow, mature, become independent, and also not be afraid to ask for help when they need it.
We want to raise conscious, loving, caring kids. But we also want to raise kids who are able to stand up for themselves and speak their truth. We want our kids to express themselves in whatever way feels healthy and won’t hurt others.
During the teen years, it is so hard to find the balance because our teens are not just growing physically (I feel like I have to look up when talking to my 14-year-old), but also intellectually, spiritually and emotionally.
Our kids want us to trust them, but they do things they can’t even explain. They function on impulse and too often they find themselves in the middle of an issue they didn’t even know was an issue until we as parents point it out.
Kids at this age, their frontal lobe is actually not fully developed. Like Richard Knox says on NPR “the teen brain: It’s just not grown up yet.” It is not the fault of the teen, it is actually just part of being a teen. It is part of the phase in your life where your brain is not fully developed and you make decisions based off of…well, very little.
This is where we parents come in. I happen to believe that we can’t rush this process but we can scaffold it.
One of the ways we help our teen’s brain develop and mature is by giving her opportunities to feel mature. Like babies, the more exposure to stimuli, the more connections they make in the brain, the more they learn and the more their slate becomes full. Kids are not blank slates, even at birth, their brains are already working and molding to a form that will best fit them.
But you have to feed the brain. Otherwise there is little to no growth.
There are many ways to feed the brain and like our bodies that need food to survive, our stomach is the center of our survival-our gut basically gives us life. Without our gut, the rest of our body would decay. Without food, you die.
Teens need stimulus in order to continue to grow and it is our job as parents to offer healthy stimuli. This is where paypal comes in.
For years our daughter struggled with managing her allowance or whatever money she received from grandparents. We as parents got to a point where we were tired of “Saving” her money for her. It was hard to keep track of and even though we jotted it down in one notebook, we often misplaced the notebook.
So there were times we gave her more than what she actually had and other times because of our poor record keeping, and her apathy (just as long as she could buy her piece of candy at the end of the week, it was good) we gave her less.
About a year ago, after our daughter turned 14, we as a family decided that it was time she kept track of her OWN money. We were no longer going to hold her money for her. We were not going to put it in a piggy bank, nor were we going to stuff it under our matches. She was no longer going to leave it around and then get upset when it went missing. We were tired of telling her she could not leave it out because someone could easily pick it up and it was gone.
This concept of someone taking her money was pretty foreign to her. She didn’t conceptualize why someone would just take her stuff. We as adults know it happens though.
It was time to change something in the home. It was time to put the power in her hands. It was time she learned how to jot down notes of why she is sending us money and keeping track online of why we are sending her money.
So the idea of paypal for a teen dawned on me actually and I shared it with my equal.
It works something like this:
We set up a paypal account for her that is attached to our joint email. This way it is easy for us to manage too and we can get in there if we need to. She has open access to the account because she has the password. This account is solely HERS. The email address is our joint email account because this way we get any notifications if we need to.
Her account welcomes her and lets her know what her balance is.
On the right side it shows all the transactions. When she receives money, the amount is in green, when she sends money, she notices the amount is in black. She is able to see the date in which she receives and sends along with a little note at the bottom of each transaction describing what the money is for. She is able edit her account, create a profile picture, contact support if she needs to.
She gets money for:
Every week, if she has completed her chores thoroughly without complaining, she receives about 12 dollars. We send her the money with the note via paypal. She receives it and has a visual of what she has received.
Before she stepped into High School, we were giving her some external rewards by paying her for any grades above a C+. This way she feels motivated to do better. Eventually (once she reaches HS) the motivation becomes more internalized and she does well because she wants to and it is good for her overall health to do well. Yes, we paid her for her grades. Deal with it! ❤
Now she is in HS and we still give her money but it is more of an “overall” well done, great focus and I’m proud of you demonstration instead of money for actual grades.
She receives money from grandma and other family members.
During different holidays, including her Birthday, she is given money by different people in the family. She gives us the cash and we send over the money via paypal. She gets to see what she actually has. It’s all an excellent visual.
Kids need to know that they have money in order to be able to spend the money.
She does not just receive receive receive, she also pays up when she needs to.
She does not get money for her behavior. Good behavior however often leads to privileges which are often a result of natural consequences.
She spends money by:
Having a Dirty Room
Our family functions well on a “checks” system. For every 2 checks, the teens will lose 5 dollars. It adds up quickly. For every check, there is a reason written beside the check. Checks are not “Great” but checks written in pencil can be erased by the parents if they feel that a “warning” was the only thing that is needed.
We really work on keeping things clean and sanitary. Now that she is wearing makeup, it is even more important that she learns to take care of the items she purchases and also keeps her face and rest of her body clean and healthy. Most of the “checks” are given when her bathroom looks like crap or her room has clothes on the floor.
We do not tolerate messiness that can easily be cleaned up.
So, when she owes money for her room, she goes to her paypal account, clicks on the right buttons, types the date and how much she owes and also reason for sending over the money. She physically does this so it teaches her how to take responsibility by actively paying her due. She clicks “send money” and it appears in mine or my spouses account depending on who she sends it too. If she forgets to put the purpose, and we don’t know the reason or the date, she must send the amount again.
This teachers her to be detail oriented and focus so that she does not use more money than she needs to.
Purchasing for herself (clothing and otherwise)
Our daughter loves to shop on Ebay and amazon. Without money coming in, there is no way for her to really spend money. We don’t believe in really giving money for no reason. She works for it, or grandma gives it to her on special occasions.
This is where it gets interesting.
As a business owner, I have a paypal business card. I applied for her to get one in her name. My card is connected to my business account so not only does her card connect to mine, but it also functions well for any emergency. She is able to take this card with her and can use it when needed.
When she shops online, she uses the card that is in her name. The second a purchase is made, I receive an email detailing the purchase, date, and reasoning. I am able to keep track of her spending and so is she.
After a few purchases, I will send her an email letting her know the total. (usually it is just a forward of the tracking). She will then go into her paypal account and send me the proper amount. This allows her to stay on top of her own purchases and also visualize her purchases and the costs.
She gets to see her balance fluctuate depending on how much she spends and how much she earns.
Sometimes she wants to say “mom, I owe you 12 dollars, so just don’t send me my allowance this week and it will cancel itself out”.
But we know that canceling itself out does not really leave a responsible paper trail. So even though there may be debts, all money is sent and all money is received regardless of whether they will cancel each other out. At times I send her money and she sends it right back 🙂 That is ok! That is the visual we are looking for and the hands on activity we want her to experience.
There are times she purchases clothing and depending on what the clothing is for, she either pays the full amount or part. All of this is recorded on her paypal account.
The object of this form of helping out child’s brain mature is to create a healthy visual and instill in our child responsibility and also consistency and pride. She learns to manage her money and she also learns that things cost.
Purchasing for others
There are times she wants to spend money on other people. depending on what she wants to get, we will offer to pay a portion. We as parents are aware that 12 dollars a week can come and go real quick. So we do offer to help when we feel necessary.
In this age of technology, I’d rather see her managing her income and being responsible to pay her “bills” and being proud of herself for knowing how to do it than getting in trouble online.
She does not check her paypal account frequently which is good because to me it means she is not obssessed, but she is very aware of how much she has.
With this paypal account, she is able to print off her transactions, check out the analytics, send money to others, purchase things online from other sites, and take control of her own “income”.
There are days when the teen would like to go to a friend’s house. She is responsible for making up her chores whether it is by adding on or relinquishing a portion of her weekly allowance. Usually she just makes sure she gets her chores done before leaving.
Money is never subtracted for behavior. Never has been, never will be. But, sometimes poor behavior keeps you confined to your bedroom or restricted in other ways, and therefore chores are hard to complete. If chores are not completed, you don’t get your full (or any) allowance. So behavior has a ripple effect that can lead to natural consequence. If you don’t show up to work, you don’t get paid.
Ever since we switched to the paypal system, we have seen immense growth in this lovely 14-year-old. She is focused, dedicated and also responsible.
We are noticing her involvement in class has skyrocketed, her confidence is extremely visible and she has an overall sense of pride in who she is as a person.
We believe that there needs to be ways to encourage kids to develop in a healthy manner along with giving them a chance to show they can be responsible. Using paypal has opened the doors to helping our teen become more responsible, and creating a solution to managing money that comes in and out.
I strongly encourage you to set your 12+ year old up with a paypal account to begin to foster responsibility and also pride.
Update 2/5/2018- I wanted to update you on some policies. Paypal does not allow teens to have their own personal debit card even though what they say on their site is in contrast. They actually sent me one with my kids name on it, we were all ready to use it then it required that she be 18. Instead of checking ahead of time, they went the distance to send it. I thought that was a waste of time and plastic. So we have since switched to capitol 1. We are in the process of possibly shitting down her paypal and only using capitol 1. Currently she has a debit card for teens called Money and it has been amazing. We are still connected to paypal where she sees transactions and she learns to transfer money to her debit card with capital one. Check it out! It is amazing! It allows her to shop online, in stores, and even withdraw money from the ATM. It is her new card. The one I gave her connected to my business account is now just for emergencies.
***Please always use sound judgement when letting your teen use the world wide web. I do not encourage them to use the internet unattended.***