Monday, June 04, 2007

Children Working?

If your children work and earn money would you take it to support your family? Would you expect them to pay for household bills?

I read that and couldn't believe that parents would do it. I would like my children to work a few hours and earn spending money, but I would not be charging my children for food, shelter, and transporation unless it was a dire emergency. I would have to be broke and pretty much out on the streets before I would take my children's money for things I consider basic necessities. Above and beyond yes they need to pay for, but basic needs?

I was appalled on a message board that a parent would send their teenage children out to work to help support the family while not working herself. First, I do understand her not working because they have 10 children. I have to add right now all of the 10 children are under 18. None are adults according to the legal limit. But shouldn't her husband get a second job, or she work nights somewhere before sending out their teenage children to get jobs because they cannot meet their bills? That to me is ridiculous to expect your children to bail you out of your mess, while sitting on your tush.

How can any parent allow their child to work say fast food at nights while they sit at home? How can any parent not be delivering newspapers at 3 am to try and make ends meet while allowing their teenager to instead deliver newspaper and then taking the money to pay bills? I know life throws you for loops, but don't parents have a responsibility? Shouldn't they be trying to pay for basics? Otherwise, this might be harsh, why are you having those children?

I guess I'm not very sympathetic, but I would never take my children's money without desperately needing it and working already to the bone. If I expected my children to work and contribute to the household, I would only do so after I had worked as many hours as physically possible. Otherwise I would consider it selfish and irresponsible.

I might be wrong because I'm not a parent. So other parents out there will probably correct me and tell me that kid should at age 14 or 16 pay for a portion of food, gas, groceries. But to me they are still children. They are still my responsibility. And I should be the one working, not them to put food on the table, shelter over their heads, etc.

So yes I am being judgemental but we are not talking about kids who live at home while in college. We are not talking about kids paying for cell phones, fancy clothes, cars, etc. We are talking about basic necessities, ends meet. The problem is that these people cannot afford to feed, clothe, shelter, transport their kids without extra help.


JW said...

This is a very good question and with my wife and I having six children, (three of which are now adults) we have had to answer.

I think it really depends upon the financial severity of the family's circumstances, (during the 20's my parents had to do it). But, in our circumstance my wife and I both feel that our children shouldn't have to help us financially by working. But, when they reach a certain age ( 21yrs. old ) and if they are still living at home they are required to contribute to their food and shelter by paying a very small rent. Additionally, the younger children can help by maybe sacrificing with us in other areas. Specifically, by making sure lights and appliances aren't left on or by sacrificing certain activities (movies,etc.). But, this is only until the specific financial goal has been accomplished.

I agree with you that any parent(s) that would require their child to work while they stay at home, unless they are completely handicap or bedridden is abusive and doesn't deserve to raise that child or children.

MS said...

I see it as being strictly need-based. I can picture three scenarios where kids should be chipping in for basics

1 - The nature of their work (Child actor, model) effectively makes one of the parents their "manager" and keeps them from being able to work.

2 - There *really* is a need for it. Being able to support children until adulthood is something of a modern luxury, but with the assitance available to the poor, this should be rare.

3 - Family business. Work time = family time. This can be abused pretty easily, though..

NIUiceprincess said...

I think when the kids reach a certain age or stage in life (graduated in college, got a full-time job), that they should be expected to help out in the a small amount of rent, chip in for doesn't have to be all of the bills, but maybe take over a certain bill and that's the contribution (i.e. water bill, internet). This shows a maturity on the child's side, especially if he could see that the parents can use the help. If the child was out of the house and renting his own apartment, his bills will be much show some compassion for mom by footing in a small portion of the expenses, and he'll still be able to save a bundle for his own place someday.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm Ok, well.... you're very young yet, you have no children and you have no idea what curves lie ahead in your life. It's good to think things through before you've come to be faced with them, but please don't be so judgmental of what other parents might choose, unless you've walked in their shoes.

I have 4 children (16-14-11-8) and while I don't foresee any reason to make them contribute to household needs, my 3 oldest do work (cat sitting, baby sitting, etc) to earn spending money. Once they are college-age, if they are not in school full time and they are still living at home, they will be paying a small amount for room & board. I think that's reasonable and a good way to encourage responsibility.

If, however, dh and I were in serious financial trouble and had teen or adult children still living at home, I can easily see asking them to help out if needed. It's part of what family does.

Living Almost Large said...

I left home at 16 and I worked at 14. But what I'm talking about anonymous is teenagers younger than 18. NONE of these children are 18.

JW, I knew you would say that. My mom would have charged me rent/utilities at 18 if I hadn't left home. If I had ever moved back, I would have been charged rent and utilities.

As it was at 18 I got some help but I also was expected to pay for my own well-being too.

MS - this is working to make ends meet. Unfortunately I have little sympathy for the family because the parents are both not working, which is fine because they do have 10 children. But the Man should be working in my mind 2 jobs before they take money from their children. If they cannot meet ends meet while working 2 jobs, delivering papers, cleaning homes, etc then I can understand asking your older children to help contribute to the bills. However what about asking the older children to watch the younger children so you can get a job?

Anonymous, I can say that because I already give money to my grandma and parents. And I don't have to, but I do. I buy lots of things for them and I do support them like supporting children, and if read my posts, DH and I have to make a lot of money so we can support our parents in the future. So yes I could very easily ditch my familial responsibilities but I won't.

So if I were broke I would be working 2-3 jobs and making my hubby work 2-3 jobs to support my kids, my parents, my grandparents. I'm not afraid of working, when we made less money I worked 2 jobs and DH made huge sacrifices to live.

Anonymous - I will edite my post because this are children under 18, not college age, not adult children but actual children according to the law.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for summer jobs for teens. I was a divorced mother with 2 growing teenagers who was kind of short on cash while they were growing up. My kids had to work to pay their own bills (school tuition, etc), not mine.
Here is my post: (copy and paste)

Anonymous said...

Living Almost Large-----sorry pal, but you're way out of line here. When I was a teenager I worked every summer between classes. I was required to pay 20% of whatever I earned towards room and board whether my parents needed it or not (they didn't). And when I hit 18, I was given a choice: go to college, get a job, or leave. I went to college and worked. And I still had to hand over 20% of my earnings.

Living Almost Large said...

Hey Anonymous, great for you learning the value of a dollar so young. Why not post your name here, and blog about it because we should all try and learn from each other. I am intersted in learning more abut why it's important to give your parents 20%.

PF101 said...

It's an interesting question and I think it comes entirely down to personal situation. I started working when I was 14. I was pretty much completely independent by the time I was 16 and moved into my own apartment before I graduated high school. I pitched in money for groceries, phone, etc and paid for my own spending money (I worked FT during most of high school) because my mom was a single mom working in social services so she couldn't afford much more than the basics.

I think you're being pretty judgmental, but we're all allowed to have our opinions. I do agree that the mom should be working before having the kids turning in their pay checks but we may not know the whole story...What if the mom is disabled or something (I didn't see a link to the discussion?) and she can't work? Would that be better in your opinion?

It's a touchy subject because it's very personal. It's good for things like this to try to step outside of your personal opinions and see it from all angles.

Living Almost Large said...

That's one thread asking the question because a family of 10 kids now the eldest is 18 suppossedly, but in other posts none had graduated high school.

The mother if you read the thread does not work, not from disability but because she has a lot of kids.

tehnyit said...

When I first read this article about the 10 kids, I have to say that responsible financial planning for the family would also include responsible family planning. I am probably out-of-line saying this as different people have different values, having 10 kids and then sending them out to work to support the family is just wrong. For one thing, the kids are missing on their life as kids.
Such a sad situation...

Living Almost Large said...

I did not and will not comment on 10 kids. I don't know the circumstances of having them maybe BC failed, maybe they used fertility drugs. But they have 10 kids, no point looking at what might have been. Just how to provide for those 10 kids is important.