9 Things Teens Should Pay For Without Mom or Dad’s Help

cracked iphoneWhether it's pumping gas, having a conversation with an adult, or dressing for a job interview, there comes a time in every teenager's life when he or she has to start doing things for themselves, and on the other side of the coin, there comes a time when parents need to stop doing certain things for their teens, especially when it comes to footing some bills.

Here are 9 things parents shouldn't pay for once their kid's a teenager.

  1. Chili's and the ilk. Mom and Dad should still pay for basic food and meals, but fun ones with friends? It's on your teen to foot that bill. Not only does it teach them about saving for big nights out (what, going to Chili's was, like, a huge deal growing up), but it also teaches them how to order within their budget. Only got $20? No Molten Lava Cake for you!
  2. Auxiliary gas. Odds are that if your teen's got a car, you paid for it. Ask them to chip in for gas every now and again, especially if they're the ones always driving their friends around.
  3. Cellphone overages. Your teen's phone is a privilege, not a right, and sometimes they need a reminder of that. If you don't have them paying for their own plan, you could consider asking them to pay for any overages that might occur with excessive texting or data usage. Also, phone insurance is about $5 a month -- maybe have them cover that, as well, since it's almost a guarantee they'll crack the screen since we all do, regardless of age.
  4. Party clothes. I don't see anything wrong with covering basic clothing needs, but that sparkly tutu from Forever 21 or that distressed baseball hat from Abercrombie? They can buy themselves those kinds of items.
  5. Silly, preventable, stupid mistakes. If your beloved teen breaks a neighbor's window playing football in the street after you repeatedly told him not to for that very reason, yeah, having him chip in for the repairs seems reasonable.
  6. Presents. Even if your teen is dead broke, giving them cash to buy family and friends birthday or holiday gifts is not really necessary. There are tons of cheap, if not free, DIY things that make excellent presents. Give them the space and the opportunity to think outside the box before handing them some dough.
  7. Donations. If there's a suggested donation at a museum, or school play, or school basketball game, have your teen pay what he or she can, even if it's 25 cents.
  8. The more extravagant prom stuff. Prom is expensive (I think even back in my day, the tickets were over $50), so I do feel like parents, if able, can help their kids out here, but once the basics are covered, it's up to them to pay for their upgraded limo, their professional makeup job, or that super swanky tux complete with a hat and cane.
  9. Booze. I don't think you should pay for your kids' booze. Crazy, I know.

More from The Stir: 10 Phrases Teens Use & What They Mean

What do you think parents should or shouldn't pay for when their kids are teens?


Photo via bramus/Flickr

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worki... workingmama86

Growing up, in order for me to have a car, I had to pay for it, as well as insurance and gas. My parents were supportive, but they wanted me to work for they things I wanted. And driving is a privilege... so if I wanted to drive or a car to drive, I had to pay for it! And believe me, I did! 

My parents also made me pay for my own cell phone... they didn't see that as a necessity, it was more of a luxury in their opinions. I think I would pay for a basic phone plan for a basic phone for my kids, but if they wanted more to their plan or nicer phones, they will have to save to get it, or receive it as a present! 

CLM3345 CLM3345

Agreed with workingmama86. I got a job at 16 and have paid for nearly everything. My parents bought my phone as a Christmas gift, but I had to pay the monthly bill. My dad bought the car under his credit, but I made all of the payments. They paid for food and shelter and bought clothes at the beginning of the school year. If I needed something, they bought it; if I wanted something, I bought it. Doing so, my parents made me a financially responsible adult.

nonmember avatar MammaMel

Disagree...I think a child's job is to go to school and do their extra-curriculars...I don't believe in a teenager having a job...MAYBE a summer one if it doesn't interfere with practice...I don't even think college kids should HAVE to work...but that's just me...and how my kid will be...

SuzyB... SuzyBarno

I think it really depends on the kind of kid you have. If you have a kid that is really involved in an extra curricular activity so much to the point where they can't have a standard part time job and they have straight a's and are not trouble makers then how can they pay for their own stuff if they don't have a job. All I know is that once I entered collage my dad said that I need to pay for everything I want and he will pay for everything I need, as long as I was working part time and in school. During high school I had a car and a cell phone and was super busy with cheer and school, couldn't have a job during football and basketball seasons. I don't know, each kid is different. I would think that if your kid is failing school and sits around and smokes pot, then no, they don't deserve any of their parents money.

PonyC... PonyChaser

I had a combo, and I plan to do that with my son. During high school, my parents nearly fell off their chairs when I told them that I "needed" a car. So I didn't have one. But they did let me use their car when I needed it or wanted it. They even paid for my insurance... as long as I kept my grades up. Nothing lower than a B in any class. I was involved in extracurriculars (mostly band, but we competed year-round), and had sporadic part-time jobs, but my primary focus was school, and I was in all honors/AP classes, so I carried a full load of homework.

Once I got to college, they paid for the necessities (tuition, room/board, books), I paid for the extras. I was still on their insurance, had the same deal. My sophomore year, I really *did* need a car, b/c I was in the Ed program, and needed to do school observations. So my brother gave me his old one. I took such good care of that car because I knew it would go away like THAT if I didn't.

No cell phones in that era... but now our "house phone" is a cell, that my son keeps with him. Basic, no bells/whistles, not even texting. That will come with time, and have the same stipulations that my parents put in me: basics only, grades are B and above, or the world ends.

Tripl... TripleC14

My kiddo won't have a job in HS, except maybe PT in summers. But there will be allowance and he'll be required to put half in savings and the other half is his to do as he pleases. Misc stuff he'll cover from that other half, but big things like car insurance, that's parental responsibility.

Eddie... EddiesMama83

Haha I'm old. I don't think cell phones were around when I was a teen. 

twili... twilightmom6545

I think it is a teens job to just be a teen. We all grow up eventually but why rush it. I agree that they should pay for some things like gas and such, but I know I will help my kids anyway I can. But I guess that is just me

Laura Jerpseth

Booze? Hate to break it to you, but it's illegal for teens to drink. And you want them buying their own alcohol, underage? Parents shouldn't be letting their teens drink regularly, anyways.

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