Should My 13 Year Old Daughter Get a Laptop?

Deja - posted on 07/10/2014 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My daughter tells me she wants a laptop for school and personal uses. She showed me that laptop that she claims she wants to buy with her own money. She made me a presentation about why she wants one and how she's paying for it. Should I get her one? I don't want her out there alone trying to like babysit and do things like that. But I don't really think she needs one, and don't want to buy her one. I have 2 computers in my house, and there's no need for her to have her own.

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Carrie - posted on 07/11/2014

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>Clearly certain details need to be clarified.

Obviously!

>Do you avoid the babysitting and lawn mowing by purchasing the computer you think is unnecessary? Do you deny your teen the independence to earn money for the things she wants and refuse to buy them for her as well? Do you suck it up and decide that working is appropriate even if you don't like it, and that the money is hers to spend as she pleases?

Her money is hers to do as she pleases (with very small boundaries about things that are illegal).

>In the OP's particular situation, her 13 yo is showing an amazing amount of maturity and responsibility

Definitely. Huge props to her.

Chet - posted on 07/11/2014

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Clearly certain details need to be clarified. We don't know what money the 13 year has already (the OP only says that she doesn't want her daughter out on her own babysitting and the like). We don't know why the 13 year old thinks she needs the laptop, or if there are access issues with the two other computers in the house. This could be a single mom with one child, or it could be a household with three other teenagers.

However, I read the general question as "what do you do when your child wants something you don't think they need and you don't support their plan to get it on their own?". Do you avoid the babysitting and lawn mowing by purchasing the computer you think is unnecessary? Do you deny your teen the independence to earn money for the things she wants and refuse to buy them for her as well? Do you suck it up and decide that working is appropriate even if you don't like it, and that the money is hers to spend as she pleases?

I'm actually concerned about facing a similar situation in the future, it's a little more complicated, but involves our oldest being given her own laptop when she's 12 when I would rather she not have her own computer. I'm prepared to have the right number of computers for our kids to share, but I don't want any one computer to belong to any one child... not until there is an express reason for it. But the situation is complicated and I see value in the process of her getting the laptop even if I don't want her to have it.

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 07/11/2014

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I read that she made a presentation about why she wants one and how she's paying for it.

That tells me she's already got something saved

Either way, semantics.

If a kid desires a large ticket item, and is willing to put in the effort to gain that item, then the only thing keeping her from it is mom not wanting her to have it. But, as has been pointed out, there may be difficulties with using the family computers in a timely manner at times. We ran into that problem early on in our kids' scholastic careers. Both of them had laptops by the age of 13 or so, due to scholastic need (first). I purchased the first ones for each of them, actually. They've got parental restrictions (or at least my remaining teen does), and its never been a problem for them.

In the OP's particular situation, her 13 yo is showing an amazing amount of maturity and responsibility. The OP needs to recognize that, and realize that her kid is somewhat of a rarity these days. Most teens of that age are used to demanding things and being handed them. Furthermore, if said 13 YO were to take further initiative, such as getting her childcare certification for babysitting, it would not be out of the ordinary for her age. (to start babysitting).

Chet - posted on 07/11/2014

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@Shawnn - I don't think the 13 year old has the money yet. It sounds like she has a plan to earn the money doing things like babysitting, only the mom doesn't want her working, especially if they already have two computers in the house. But this creates a somewhat paradoxical situation:

You can keep your child from working by just buying the computer, but then you have to buy a third computer yourself that you feel is unnecessary.

You could let your child work and save, but then the money is hers and (within reasonable limits) she should be able to spend it. Working and saving can be a valuable exercise, but letting your child accept responsibility you're uncomfortable with for her age to achieve a goal you think is unnecessary can be difficult for a parent.

You could say no to working and also refuse to buy the computer, but then you're squashing your child's initiative, and you're saying no to a whole string of things since the daughter has an entire plan - you're saying no working, no financial independence, no setting a goal and working toward it, no laptop.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 07/11/2014

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At this age, teens actually do need to have online access for things like homework, etc. Most of my 16 YO's interactions with instructors were online last year.

She's saved the money for the laptop, she's presented you with mature reasons for her desire. Sounds to me like she's thought it through, and done so in a very responsible manner.

You can still put parental controls on it, that is your responsibility until she's 18, regardless, but there's no reason for you to restrict her spending of HER money in this way, since she's been mature enough to actually present you with reasons, not just "i want".

Jacqueline - posted on 07/10/2014

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Firstly, I'm going to be telling you about why your daughter should have a laptop, because I personally believe she should. When one is thirteen, it is of great importance to have easy access to online academic work without a trace of doubt. What I mean by this is, if your daughters' teachers have set important online work for her, I'm sure she won't want to be worrying during the day about if her mother will be paying the bills on the family computer, or if her brother will be doing homework on it, or if something is in the middle of downloading or the computer was not charged (Or anything as such). She just needs to be completely stable and assured that she will have undoubtful enablement to the homework she is set, and the only way that is reassured is if she has her own computer, her own responsibility, the thing she can use to suit her own schedule. Also, if she wanted to do online math work or other activities which don't involve any notice beforehand, she will probably be unable to have easy access to these things that are so uncalled for, because someone might be on the computer at that scheduled time. The list could go on forever (continuous annoyances like logging out of other peoples accounts and logging back into her own, wanting to have privacy on the computer, the computer being in a different area to her taste), but I'm sure you can fill in the blank spots yourself.

Secondly, I just wanted to point out her rights. If she's paying for the laptop herself, with money that you agreed to being her own, then I personally believe that she should have the right to buy whatever she wants (money doesn't come in many forms, it's just what you do with it that counts). I'm not a mother who gives my daughter everything she wants. I don't give her much ownership or entitlement to money, but once I do, I never go back on my word. Receiving money is pointless if you're not allowed to use it in the way you want to. Just keep that in mind.

Thank you for reading this my dear friend, and I hope you understand my point of view of why you should let your daughter have enablement to her own laptop.

Chet - posted on 07/10/2014

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@Carrier - A laptop could be a great gift, but that doesn't mean any laptop a child has must be bought by their parents. Maybe I misread your first post. It sounded like you were saying that parents should always be the ones to buy laptops... never kids.

Just because a child expresses a need for something that doesn't mean that they actually need it. The original poster did say that they have two computers in the house already. She also went on to say that she doesn't feel her daughter needs a laptop at all.

Even if the 13 year old does need a laptop, there is nothing wrong with teens taking responsibility for some of their needs. Taking on responsibility is an important part of maturing. Like I said before, working, budgeting, and saving for a big purchase are really valuable skills... and if it's for something you need it's easier to stay motivated.

It is reasonable for a 13 year to buy their own bike, laptop, gaming system, etc. Some families might give those things as gifts, but I wouldn't fault a parent who told their teen that they needed to work and save for major purchase like that. Kids need food and clothing and shelter, most don't gaming systems, bikes, tablets or laptops even if they are nice to have.

I would be very unlikely to buy a 13 year old a bike if there were already two bikes in the house that she could use. If she wanted a particular bike just because she wanted it, I'd probably insist that she work, save the money and buy it herself.

Carrie - posted on 07/10/2014

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>@Carrie - Why do you think parents should pay for laptops? Or pay at least pay a portion?

Why not?

Do you buy your daughter an ipad? ipod? Television? Ps4?% Xbox? Why would a laptop be such a big stretch? It could make an awesome gift!

Would I buy my 13 year old a laptop? A priori, no.

>When I was 14 a lot of kids worked hard and saved all year to contribute to the cost of the end of the year trip. Their parents couldn't afford to just write a cheque, but a number of the kids were able to earn and save $300, $500 or even $700 over the course of the school year.

That's another subject completely. The thing is, if my daughter expressed the need to have a laptop, then yes, I would contribute.

What if your daughter wanted a bike? Would you pay part of it?

Chet - posted on 07/10/2014

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@Carrie - Why do you think parents should pay for laptops? Or pay at least pay a portion?

You can get an acceptable laptop for $300. A kid could save enough to buy a laptop in less than four months if they can earn $20 a week. Four months is a long time when you're in middle school, and $20 a week isn't necessarily easy for a young teen to earn, but a teen who can make a plan and see it through to buy a laptop has some hugely valuable life skills!

When I was 14 a lot of kids worked hard and saved all year to contribute to the cost of the end of the year trip. Their parents couldn't afford to just write a cheque, but a number of the kids were able to earn and save $300, $500 or even $700 over the course of the school year.

Carrie - posted on 07/10/2014

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>I would not buy your daughter a laptop she doesn't need just to keep her from working and saving...

That was my original thought at first, however:

>She made me a presentation about why she wants one and how she's paying for it

I think she has proved she was mature enough. One thing I would like to tell you, Deja Thompson, would be to pay for the laptop yourself - maybe have her pay a portion of it, but laptops are definitely things parents should pay.

>But I don't really think she needs one, and don't want to buy her one.

Well, what did she say? Why did she want one? Comfort of travelling? Being like friends?

Privacy, probably. Having something that is hers and hers alone. I understand her feeling. Is she responsible enough? Is it going to go well? Tons of factors you have to consider.

Chet - posted on 07/10/2014

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I would not buy your daughter a laptop she doesn't need just to keep her from working and saving... if that's what you're asking. It's usually a positive experience for teens to earn money and save toward a goal.

How long do you think it would take for your daughter to save up enough to buy the laptop wants?

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