Thursday, May 17, 2007

On money matters and discipline

We are attempting to teach our oldest son, thirteen, fiscal responsibility. He has been notoriously free with his money, and ours if ever he got the chance. Perhaps any of you parents of teenagers can attest to this, but it seemed as soon as he hit seventh grade we were handing him ten bucks every time we turned around: movies with friends, going out with the youth group after church and on and on it went. Last month my husband decided we would give him a certain amount of money at the beginning of each month and then it would be up to our son to decide how and when to spend it.

The first month everything went fine. Of course he had no money at the end of the month, but he didn't prematurely run out either. This month, however is a different story. At the first of the month, I gave him the lump sum amount, in addition to some extra for some babysitting we had "hired" him to do. A few days later I gave him another extra compensation, again for babysitting. A few days after that, he was flat broke. With twenty days left in the month.

Not only that but my husband gets the cell phone bill and discovers our son owes us for some unauthorized text messaging. So now he will start out next month with that much less.

Last night we were discussing the text messaging debt and money matters in general, and our boy says, "I've learned my lesson. Really I have." Not thirty minutes later....let me repeat...not thirty minutes later, he comes in the room asking us if he and some friends can go to the movies Saturday. "With what money?" his daddy asks, with somewhat of a humorous glint in his eye. I will spare you the details, but suffice it to say, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Would you think us less the parents if I told you we were actually glad? We may sound heartless, particularly to a certain thirteen year old boy currently residing in our home, but it is important to us that he learn these lessons now, at thirteen years old, when he is dealing with going to the movies, rather than when he is twenty one and dealing with rent and electric bills.

My heart breaks for him, really it does. It is tempting to me to slip him a five dollar bill, but I won't. Here is part of the difficulty of parenting: choosing to do the hard thing today to raise godly men of character for tomorrow.

My husband and I are imperfect parents, no doubt about it. But just as we desire to discipline our children out of our love for them, so too does our heavenly Father discipline us out of His love for us...
Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Heb. 12:10-11

A harvest of righteousness and peace! That's a promise worth claiming!


  1. You hang in there, Lisa. He will learn. We always gave our kids just a token allowance each week and if they wanted more they had to earn it. It's hard for them at first but they will get it. They have no concept of money and how hard parents have to work to earn it. I think they all think we have a special tree in the backyard that we can just go pick bills off of.

  2. You are doing the right thing. Hang in there. I enjoyed reading about your family.

  3. Harvesting righteousness and peace--what sweet blessing! Hang in there and be tough. I must encourage you now with the 13 year old so when mine are there, you'll remind me of my own words!

    Great lesson to learn. I am the product of having not learned that lesson as a child and constantly struggling thru college. Not until my husband, who was trained properly, and the resources of Crown Ministries did I come to an understanding of managing money God's way. Keep at it!

    We're in the midst of the teaching with our guys as well.

  4. Good for you! I am so thankful for the times that my parents were tough and allowed me to learn hard lessons!

  5. Having a 13 year old I know exactly where you are. And I am proud of you!!!!

  6. Just going through some old homeschool papers....A few years ago my middle son (he's 13 now) wrote this Allowance Request:
    "For $1.00 a week I will help with the wood floor, wash the car, clean the house, vacuum, set the table. Then for $2.00 a week I will clean the dishes, too...." Hmmm, I don't remember any of that coming to fruition.
    Ah, the naivety of youth....:-)
    Keep at it, Lisa! We are doing something similar in our home and it is a serious challenge. Worth it, though.

  7. Be strong and courageous. We parents need an extra dose of resolve. Keep up the good work and blessings on your household as you grow up together.

  8. If you get a chance transport over to my post today. You're part of it. Blessings :)

  9. Hang tough girl! He will thank you later in life. I had to learn the money lesson in my twenties. I was using my credit cards for extra needed cash! Let's just say it was an EXPENSIVE lesson to learn to be fiscally responsible! Thank you Lord for the lesson! Ouch though - much ouch!!

  10. Good for you! I am so thankful for the times that my parents were tough and allowed me to learn hard lessons!