How Much Should Kids Worry About Your Finances?
My fifteen year old son said something unexpected to me recently. My family and I are currently on vacation in Florida, and we were walking along a boardwalk, checking out stores and hunting for new adventures. We came upon a zip line that stretched between two towers several hundred feet apart. It looked like a lot of fun to me, so I asked my son if he was interested in doing it with me.
â€œDad, it’s kind of expensive.â€
He was absolutely correct. For $24, the whole process took a couple of minutes, including the walk up and down the tower stairs. But it looked like fun, and it’s not something you get an opportunity to do everyday so I was willing to pay for both of us to do it. He still shook his head indicating he didn’t want to. At the time, I thought it was his way of gracefully exiting the situation without having to admit that the ride made him a little uncomfortable.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
On our way back to the house we were renting, we noticed a dune buggy track as well as place that had some go carts. After dropping off my wife, we went back and drove the go carts together, and talked of hitting the dune buggy track next. When we arrived, there wasn’t anyone at the ticket office to get us going. Holding $20 in my hand for each of us to get 10 laps around the course, I looked around and couldn’t locate a single employee at the facility even though the sign said it was open.
â€œThat’s OK, Dad, it’s not really worth the money anyway. The track is really small.â€
That was twice in one afternoon that my son had told me something wasn’t worth the price. I knew this wasn’t just uncomfortableness talking, as the dune buggies were his idea, and we had just finished driving go carts which he absolutely loves.
My son was actually concerned about the price.
I felt a little conflicted about the situation. One one hand, I was extremely proud of him for evaluating whether something provided an adequate amount of enjoyment for the money charged. On the other hand, I wondered why he was so concerned about price when he wasn’t paying for it. I certainly want my son to respect me when I tell him something is too expensive, but I don’t want him to worry about cost if I make the offer.
What do you think, is my son putting too much on his shoulders worrying about cost, or should I just let it go and be proud of him?
Brought to you courtesy of Brock