Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for December 9th, 2010

Parenting Tip: Budgeting

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on December 9, 2010

   Aaron, nineteen, keeps asking his parents for money. He goes to college in another state, he is intermittently responsible, and he occasionally drinks too much and sometimes he  smokes too much weed. “Why do you keep giving him money?” I ask his mom, trying to understand why Aaron seems to have an unlimited allowance. “Because if we gave him a lump sum all at once, it would be gone in one day,” Maya, his mother says, as if she has no choice, but to dole out his currency. “Yes, that is the point,” I respond directly. “If he runs out of money, then he will learn to do better the next month.” The issue of short-term pain for long-term gain returns. I want to be sensitive to the notion that as a parent, it is hard to watch your child suffer, even if you know that the long view is worth taking. At the same time, I want to encourage the parents to see that this ’emerging adult’ needs to learn that managing money is a responsibility of adulthood and as such, a gradual exposure to this responsibility is useful. The word gradual is the key. Right now, Aaron is fortunate; he does not have to make the money he lives on, he just has to manage it. Maya needs to toughen up to allow this growth to occur. My job is to help Maya; Aaron will be the beneficiary.

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