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