As far as I’m concerned the month of May should be renamed “Mayhem!”
When you’re a parent, this is the crunch month. School goes crazy with events, big homework projects and other requests. Sports are in full swing so you’re running around making all the games and meets. There are church events and Scout events. There are fundraiser events all over the place. It’s the end of the school year and everything needs to be celebrated and finalized. Sound familiar?
We even had Teacher Appreciation Week at our school where we had to bring in a handmade card on Monday, a flower on Tuesday and then there were requests for parents to make a lunch EVERY DAY for the teachers as well as provide lunch duty on one day so the teachers could all have lunch together!! Really? I have a tough enough time getting my act together to feed my own family.
Don’t get me wrong. I adore and highly respect our teachers. They do an amazing and important job without getting paid appropriately. I just start to hyperventilate as I try to figure out how to respond to all of these requests and still work. The answer is, I don’t. I pick what I can do and feel guilty about the rest.
Parents are asked to do huge amounts for their kids during the school years and, sadly, judging by this week’s articles, it looks like this heavy parental involvement continues way beyond what you might expect.
If anything, these articles reinforce for me the need to make sure that my kids are money smart and that they are ready for the real world. Z and I have big plans for those empty nest years so they’d better be ready to fly!
- Nearly 60% of Parents Provide Financial Assistance to Adult Children – there are two reasons behind this scary statistic: the recession has hit younger people hard (14.2% unemployment amongst 20 – 24 year olds for example) and many college graduates are dealing with a “crippling college debt burden.” Yes, there are adult children that need a helping hand, but Vivian Diller, a psychologist and author who is quoted in the article, also says there is a danger to providing too much help:
Because they have been protected, some children don’t learn reasonable ways to manage money, and they run into trouble,” Diller warns. “You can enable kids to become more independent, but you can disable them too.”
- Job Search: 10 Outrageous Ways Parents “Help”– I have to say, if my parents had ever done any of these things, I would have been mortified! I guess for these parents, if you’ve spent years doing their homework, writing their college admissions paperwork and calling college professors demanding that your child gets a better grade, then this is normal behavior. These parents need to let go already!
- 40 Money Management Tips Every College Student Should Know – the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) has produced this downloadable, FREE booklet. It’s pretty comprehensive. The tricky part will be persuading them to read it.
- Kelly Kincaid over at Partially Motivated shared her family’s experience with different types of allowance approaches over the years. Money Smart Kids: Allowance is a quick but informative read which shows you how allowances can evolve over years and she summarizes some key lessons at the end.
- Finally, An American Girl’s Dream, is a sweet post about a girl saving for an expensive doll, told from the girl’s point of view. We just went through a similar experience with T saving for a Nintendo DS so I could really relate. I admired the parents for making sure that the full cost (taxes and shipping) were paid for by the child. But do they realize how the additional costs for this will add up over time? See this AOL WalletPop article which calculates that the total cost could be well over $600!!
May you all have a mayhem-less Memorial Day Weekend!