Sunday, March 10, 2013

Screenagers and the Money Tree

Screenagers and the Money Tree

Teens are growing up with a “give me what I want when I want it” mentality.  It’s the Google age.  Any time they want, they can find “How do I make a bomb?” or “Did Botox give my mom Adult ADHD?” automagically with their cell phone supercomputers.

“Screenagers” are also addicted to instant communication.  They jealously clutch their phones even while asleep because they may miss a 2 a.m. text or their parents might steal it and check their tweets.  

One night I tried to shimmy it out of my daughter’s hand and she morphed into an angry mutation, much like a hissing Gollum on Lord of the Rings, clutching his magic gold band, or like Charlie Sheen.  After consulting, I now swipe her phone during the night while she is sufficiently Benadrylled.  “Winniiiing!”  

Suspicious of my sudden use of “teen speak” gleaned from her texts, my daughter turned to TAMPER.COM, the website dedicated to Teens Against Moms Pilfering Everything in my Room.  Consequently, she asked me for money to buy a “parental sensor” for her phone.

“Sweetheart, I'm so sorry, but this time you need to use your own money!” I declared.  I mean, I try to teach my kids the value of a dollar.

Financial matters are foreign to my teens.  They don’t have time to do chores to earn money during the school year, and I’d have to be on crack to pay them an allowance when their rooms look like the apocalypse.  So the money they earn in the summer, receive for birthdays and Christmas, and regularly steal from their brother usually lasts until about, say. . . right now.

Then they experience heinous withdrawal symptoms from not eating at McAlister’s, and their brains get a little spazzo.

The following story, which for my daughter’s sake may be fictitious, illustrates:

My daughter texted me from school in Def Con 1 mode on the day school closed at 11:30 a.m. due to impending weather.   

Teen: I want to go to lunch with friends.  I don’t have money can you             bring me some???

Me:  No.  You don’t have to go out to lunch every time school closes early.  We’re gonna start handling the money situation differently around here.

Teen: So I can’t go to lunch???

Me:        You can go, but I’m not giving you money.

Teen: Mom why???

Me:  Oh, I forgot!  You have $60 Grandma gave you for 
Christmas!  I didn’t give it to you yet.  Ok, you can go.  Keep the receipt!

She and her friends went to lunch, and I picked them up at the restaurant.  I paid for her $16 meal, knowing she had money to pay me back.  When we got home, I subtracted $16 from Grandma’s $60 and handed her $44.  She stared at it for a few seconds.

“That’s depressing,” she moaned. It’s only $44.”

“That’s the $60 minus $16 for lunch,” I said.

“If I knew I was going to have to pay for lunch with my own money, I wouldn’t have gone.”

I’ve tried my best to be a good parent through the years.  But maybe I DID give her too much Benadryl.

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