Should I give my teenager a breakdown of what I spend child support on?

Christine - posted on 02/07/2012 ( 18 moms have responded )

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Today my teenager asked if she could go malling. I said no, money's very tight right now. Then she asked me what I spend the child support money on, it is after all money for her (she wasn't disrespectful, there was no yelling or accusing or anything like that and I'm pretty sure she asked her dad for some extra money and he said that she should ask me this question). I have nothing to hide, I mean, I spend child support money on things like rent, food, cable, computer, sports, the dog, the car, the gym membership blah blah blah. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. Has this happened to anyone else? How'd you handle it? Is there a drawback to giving her an accounting of where it goes?

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Michelle - posted on 02/07/2012

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explain to her that her child support is exactly that money to help support her it feeds her, clothes her, pays for health care and houses her if there is any leftover it pays for extras like sports that sort of thing. It however does not cover malling, or other extras that all comes out of moms hard earned money and mom gets to chose how that is spent. Sometimes kids don't realize how much all their stuff costs I would definitely tell her what it is spent on but don't show her figures just tell her what it is meant for.

Chrystal - posted on 02/12/2012

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My daughter is 14 and I do show her my income and list of monthly bills. I wish my mom would have done that with me. I was blind to real life bills.

Stacy - posted on 02/28/2012

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My parents were divorced and my mom discussed everything with me even down to money BUT I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND IT! its not a place children or teenagers really need to be involved give her a little explanation and leave it at that... I've worked since i was 14 and paid for all my luxuries/extras i wanted...

Angie - posted on 02/21/2012

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A few years ago my boys (particularly my oldest son then 16) were not appreciating what they did have and expecting there should be more. As a single mom most of their life...I gave them a month in my role. They came home from school, planned and cooked meals, cleaned house, opened bills, paid bills (of course under my supervision), balanced the checkbook, and grocery/household shopped on what they budgeted left over. In my case, child support is few and far between, so when they had to skip that scheduled deposit on my accounting program because the money hadn't come, they realized how much it would've helped.



It gave them a new understanding of how much work and how much money is really there, and while at the time, they may have thought some of it was stupid...my oldest will be 21 this year, appreciates that life lesson now and has proven himself more responsible with his finances than most of his friends and even some adults I know.

Tracy - posted on 02/12/2012

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I have always been open about bills and debts with the kids. They know that money is tight as I can't work because I'm a full time carer for my oldest son.



They often ask how the money is spent and what things cost. My parents didn't do that for me and when I left home I had a major shock!



I am glad that I taught my kids from a young age starting with a few basics. They are now 13 and 9 and have a good respect for money and Definatley know it does not grow on trees



If they want money for any treats then they have to earn it by doing chores

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Zee - posted on 03/08/2012

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It's probably a good time to sit down and show her what a budget looks like. Kids have no real concept of what everything costs and think if you are getting paid child support that you should be rolling in it. Talk to her about hourly wages and explain to her how you might have to work two hours to in order to pay for those $20.00 shoes she wants (just an example) and if she would like extra spending money ways she could earn it. Just a thought.

Gabrielle - posted on 03/05/2012

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Just because you get child support for her doesn't mean that it's HERS. I don't see anything wrong with letting her know what the money is used for. It isn't like you are spending it on stuff for you. You spend it on stuff that she uses and needs.

Diane - posted on 03/04/2012

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I think it would be a good idea to sit down with her and show her a break down of how the money is spent. Maybe even make it a monthly thing. Not only would this show her where it is going but perhaps it would help her as she gets older in budgeting her own money after she moves out because she will have practiced with you every month and know the realities of budgeting.

Jacquline - posted on 03/02/2012

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None of her business but if your drinking or buying drugs or gambling and a shopaholic and a food addict and she see's doing this then it is her business.If all good in that part of your life then it adult affairs and should kept that way so kids don't try to manipulate you because when it comes to something they want they will use it ! They don't give enough child support too with inflation the support should increase too.

Lisa - posted on 02/26/2012

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I think it would be a good idea to give her a basic breakdown of your finances to help her understand since she probably has no clue how much certain things like heating, electricity, etc. cost. It would help provide her with some life skills in handling money. However, I also think that kids don't need to know every detail of your spending because you should never be accountable to her as her parent in this manner. I know a 14 year old girl who is very aware of her mother's finances and it somewhat saddens me to hear her talking about money like an adult because it seems that she is burdened with growing up too quickly.

Tricia - posted on 02/21/2012

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I don't think that you should give her an exact breakdown of what you pay her support on. If I were you, I would try showing her the household budget. Keep it a simple money in/money out breakdown and show her how expensive everything is these days versus the amount of money coming in. It will teach her the value of budget without making her think that you have to answer to her.

Additionally, if there is something that she wants, help her make a budget for herself.

Finally, call her father and talk to him about this. He should not be causing problems between you and your daughter over money.

Jocelyn - posted on 02/16/2012

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I would not break down what you spend "child support" on per say; you could show her what the "household income" is spent on. That money goes to the over all function of the home. Not just her personally. She is a part of a family; it doesn't matter what it's spent on through the month...



I would show the total amount coming in. I don't know if you even needs to show her the exact amount of the "child support", that would be up to you...Then show all the bills/expenses going out. It's no different than teaching billing to a teenager who needs to learn anyway...I tell my kids even now at 13, 9,7, and 3 about how even water costs something!



Even if things weren't tight you have the right as the adult of the home to decide where things go. If you say you can't have $5 for such-in-such, then there is no $5, no matter the reason. The fact that you get child support has nothing to do with it...that is at least my thoughts about that!



If she is able to get a job then that money will have to go toward her expenses. Just cause you get money doesn't mean that she still can't pay for gas, a phone or buy extra's she "wants". That "child support" is still for family not for one persons extra spending!!! She will have to learn that as she is only her own as well.



It's good that it wasn't out of disrespect so hopefully it can be a teaching for her and easy on you...good luck mom!

Jenn - posted on 02/13/2012

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I think there's no harm in showing her how the money is spent. It seems like she was truly curious and I think its always beneficial for kids to learn about money. It teaches them how much it takes to run a household and the value of a dollar. Though I think that it was childish of your ex to direct her back to you simply because he pays child support. I don't think there are any drawbacks to doing this and even if she was to bring it back to your ex most things you listed are basic needs.. well except maybe the gym membership unless its for her.

If its possible and if you aren't already doing this.. maybe you could try offering her extra chores for money. Assign a dollar value to each chore and leave the rest up to her. Or if thats not feasible, perhaps help her offer dog walking or babysitting services to make extra money. That way she doesn't have to rely on you for spending cash and it furthers her learning about budgeting money.

Christine - posted on 02/12/2012

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Tracy and Chrystal have made a valid point, learning about personal finance, bills and income, is a necessary life skill.



A part of me wants to spare her the burden of finances..keep her from growing up too fast...but that might just be selfish on my part.



On the fly, by trial and error, is how I learned and it was definitely difficult. That probably isn't the best way to teach her.



Thanks, again, ladies..I've got some other points of view I need to consider.

Christine - posted on 02/11/2012

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She is a few weeks away from being old enough to get a real job and her driving permit and has been counting it down. Like many of the rest of you, we are just getting by right now. My business has slowed down during the last four months. Child support is a great supplement, but it certainly doesn't cover everything, not even all the basics.

Deidre - posted on 02/10/2012

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I can't wait for my kids to start wanting extras. If you want extras then you need to want to get a job LOL. That is exactly why the part time job exists. Child Support is to support your basic needs. And statistically speaking it doesn't even cover that. Most likely you are just getting by like the rest of us.

Sherri - posted on 02/09/2012

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No she should just get a rough it is for rent, clothing, bills etc. She doesn't need an exact break down.

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