9.23.2016

"She's fifteen, so it matters."



Disclaimer: I try really hard not to give parenting advice on this blog, because I am not a parent. But this one was just too much.

Old Navy had a sale on compression pants a couple of weekends ago. They were $12, which is a really great price because they’re in the $30 range normally.

A woman came through my line with four or five of them, and she was understandably very excited about the sale. She was saying how great they are and how the quality is actually surprisingly great too, and I was agreeing with her.

Then she told me about how she “had” to buy some *insert very popular, incredibly expensive yoga pants brand here* yoga pants for her daughter a few weeks ago, and she had spent about $250 for two pairs of those pants.

I reacted in the way you might expect me to react to the concept of spending $250 for two pairs of yoga pants. I said something like, “Oh my gosh, I cannot imagine ever spending that much on yoga pants. Wow.”

She agreed, saying “Yeah, it kind of blew my mind a little.”

I didn’t want to press too hard but I was very curious, so I said something like, “It surprises me that you would buy the expensive ones since you’re obviously into deals like this one!”

Her answer made me so mad. She said, “Yeah, I would never ever spend that much on myself, but she’s fifteen, so, you know, it matters.”

Guys, I almost died right there at the cash register.

Let’s talk about what you do and don’t have to do with your money.

Yes, you are required to clothe your child.

You are absolutely, positively not required to clothe them with designer freaking yoga pants that cost more than $100 each. 

And the sigh of resignation that went along with her account of why she bought the yoga pants was so infuriating. Despite how you’re acting, your hands are not tied here. You are absolutely allowed to tell your daughter no. Tell her she can work for the money the yoga pants cost, tell her to use her allowance that I’m sure she gets to buy the yoga pants, maybe even offer to split the cost with her.

But no, you are absolutely not required to buy her whatever she asks for or whatever her friends dictate she has to have. 

You simply do not have to give your child everything they want.

And this is where it gets into murky parenting advice territory, so I’m only going to dip my toe in, but like, maybe try passing on some of your money values to her. I obviously understand that teenagers just don’t get it sometimes, no matter how much you might try to teach them, so I’m not saying having a bratty teenager is a parenting flaw. 

I am, though, saying this could have been an opportunity for a serious life lesson, but instead this mom gave in and spent as much on two pairs of yoga pants as I would have spent on groceries for an entire month.

And that makes me sound like I'm against spending your money however you want, which I'm not. I'm against her spending her money in a way she didn't want to just because her kid is “fifteen, so, you know, it matters.”

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