Would You Take Your Kid's Money?


piggy bankPicture this. Your kid gets a job, and she's bringing in good money. You need money. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe you have a Marc Jacobs habit. Maybe you are just clueless with cash.

So you tell your kid to give you their money.

What? It's not illegal. At least not according to a New Jersey court that determined the Division of Youth and Family Services had no cause to pull a teen from her father and stepmother's home -- even though the stepmother slapped the girl, and the parents expected her to give them her wages from her part-time job.

Which isn't the same thing as saying it's right. It's not illegal to feed your kids corn chips for dinner every night for a week either. I still wouldn't do it. And I'm still having a hard time coming up with a list of good reasons to take money from your kids. Here's what I have so far:

  • They show severe irresponsibility with their finances, and you take their paychecks to place in a savings account that will be handed over to them come their 18th birthday (or when they straighten up and fly right, if that comes first).
  • They show severe irresponsibility with some item to the point where it will require money to be fixed. I'm thinking the kid was texting and driving, and ran into Mr. Jones' mailbox, which now has to be replaced -- with their money.
  • You forgot your wallet, and you have to fill the gas tank. You borrow $20 from your kid, then pay it back when you get home.
  • The family is destitute. You have no choice (and by no choice I mean "they'll take our house," not "you can't buy cigarettes this week"). You itemize what you get with a plan to pay your kid back when you can.

Yup, I'm pretty much done with the probable reasons (as in, I'm not discounting a catastrophe, but I think we've covered the LIKELY bases). Any other excuse, and I have to ask: is that your responsibility for your mortgage/car payment/electric bill/milk/eggs/Netflix/shoes? We give life to our kids to support them to adulthood, not the other way around.

This is why I tend to watch reality shows like Toddlers and Tiaras and Teen Mom 2 and wonder: is that kid getting everything her (or his) parents signed them up for? Because anyone under 18 can't sign a contract without parental consent, and yet, we know they're being paid something! And in the crazy families that we've seen -- especially on the MTV pregnancy series -- it's not far-fetched to imagine the funds are falling through a rabbit hole and mom's bank account.

Would you take money from your kids?


Image via Razor512/Flickr

issues, tough topics, jobs


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miche... micheledo

I would think if you truly NEEDED the money, there would be ways to work it out with your child.  They could contribute by paying for a portion of the groceries, or do what my parents did and we had to buy gas for the car and pay for our car insurance when we were driving.

There was a point last year when we were EXTREMELY close to withdrawing our kids savings accounts that we had made.  Our children were 4, 3, 1, and a newborn at the time.  It only amounted to about $300 but it would help if we were that bad.  Thankfully we didn't have to.  And we would have done everything possible to return that money at some point. 

I also know a family whose daughters contributed to the household.  They needed to in order to keep their home and car.  But they were old enough to understand that.

jhcz jhcz

This has happen to DH and i, so we will never take money from them that they have earned.

Jenny... JennyG0929

My father dropped out of school so he could work and give his parents money towards household expenses. I think every family is different and we should not judge how they handle their finances. The family in this case is claiming it went towards the cable bill, I know my kids would contribute towards the cable bill if I told them we could no longer afford it.

ksbon... ksbondgirl

My parents made me fork over money when I worked and lived in their household.  I had to help pay for groceries, for "rent" and save for college.  This was the ONLY instructions I received from them other than "...don't come home pregnant..."  They had great, well paying jobs but they were trying to teach me some responsibility.

hotic... hoticedcoffee

I can't imagine being in those circumstances, so I can't really answer - though my knee-jerk is that I would do whatever else I had to before I expected money from my kids (unless they were of-age, working, and living at home - then they're totally forking up rent).  But then again, we send money to my husband's parents so they can have some luxuries that they can't afford on their social security - like cable and taxi fare, since they're at an age where we aren't comfortable with them driving but we're too far away to help out personally.   But they didn't ask for it, it's just something we want to pay for, for them.

qrex912 qrex912

I do not care how "hard-up" the parent are. If your child is a minor, and therefore still a CHILD, taking their money that they earned is wrong. Get another job, don't expect them to help bail you out because your wages aren't paying the bills. I know this is harsh, but it is absolutely ridiculous to expect your child to pay "rent" or any of those things. That's why you're the parent.

cmari... cmarie452

My mom as a raised 4 kids alone, without a high school diploma.  She never demanded money but if I had it and we needed it for rent she would ask.  I had no problem helping to pay the bills, after all, I was using the water and electric and eating the food.  What would be worse, asking you kid for money for groceries or letting your kids go hungry?

Bree1984 Bree1984

Kids suck everything out of you. Why not?

Dianakk Dianakk

Did you know Amish children are only allowed to attend school to 8th grade? They have to get jobs and give all their money to the parents. What ever they need is taken out of it and if they want something that they don't need the parents decide and give them money accordingly. they help pay bills until they move out and have their own bills. Even if they are younger than that if they work a paying job the parents take it. Not to be selfish, but to help the family. They also dont have any kind of insurance including health. If one of them has to go to the hospital, all the families in the community help pay for it. So i dont think it is horrible to take money if it is needed, just don't take it for your own personal use. My grandson is 12 yrs old and he loves to take his family out to eat with his own money. It might just be D.Q. but it makes him feel proud.

nonmember avatar Anon

It used to be a given that teens worked to help support the family. If the parents were nice, they would give the kid a portion of his salary as an allowance. I don't see what's wrong with it. First, it prepares teens for the life they are about to enter - where you may not have any discretionary spending money and you need to budget. Second, kids should feel responsible to help pull their weight. Even very young kids should have responsibilities and chores; older kids should either take on a much bigger chunk of the household work, or get a job and pay room & board. It does not help a teen to give him a free ride and let him think money is for fun. This is part of an overall trend toward keeping kids ignorant, helpless, and selfish far longer than necessary or healthy.

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