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"Pocket Money"

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I'm just curious to know what others think is a sensible amount of pocket money to give our teenage children for the child's own use. AD (15) has pretty much everything that she needs provided for her so it isn't an allowance for her to balance her books so much as spending money for whatever she wants (and sort of within reason in terms of what she wants).


My AD has a GoHenry card (fab thing that allows us to put a weekly amount on what is essentially a debit card but which we can see the spend on - how much and where. We can also top up the card in seconds in the case of need; we can also remove money in case of sanction).


But my question is really how much do people think that it is reasonable to give to a 15 year old on a weekly basis? I think that my views tend to the frugal (hence my asking the question, I guess) but I am getting a sense that what we are doing isn't really working. Should we throw more money at this problem?


AD has more new things (clothes; glue-on nail things; piercings) than she could possibly afford with the money that we put on her card (and we can't see transactions for some of these things going through). So, she must be getting the money from somewhere else. She isn't stealing from us, as far as I can tell. So she must be borrowing or stealing from elsewhere (I suspect the former) - neither of which is great. If borrowing then she will never be able to pay it back so that's not really "borrowing" is it?!


So, my dilemma is whether we should give her more money so that she at least doesn't act as a parasite on others or whether to stick to our guns and let her friends work out that this is what she is doing.


AD has real trouble making friends, is immature and is extremely materialistic. AD is also quite manipulative. So, AD might quite easily do the "if you don't give me X / buy X / lend me money for X then I won't be your friend any more" type thing. Some of her friends are equally vulnerable but in different ways.


Anyone got any thoughts or advice? I would be really interested to know.


Peahen.


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Its a problem I never really solved. Mine used to take money - never stole from outside but from me or anything they found lying round the house! Also cards on xbox etc! My son has lots paid for him - coaching and tournament entries, clubs and equipment - but is slowly becoming more responsible with money and can accept me saying "no" now. We put a certain amount into his account for expenses - he also earns a bit through coaching others - I pay for his coaching still but no extras any more. If he needs to use a card he uses his now and is able to top up what he spends with what he earns (dare I say budget!!!) He has an account with his coach who also provides equipment and has just about paid this off through working for him - not ideal but going in the right direction.


I suggest you talk to her - when you can do it calmly - about her spending. If you can get her to clarify where the money has come form perhaps you can then reward her honesty by giving her an increased amount to spend - perhaps an account you can put it in (we use Nationwide) with a card so she feels independent. But stress that she needs to show she can be honest first - she may not be ready for this yet but it may be something you work towards.


Just to add - when my son was younger he was very vulnerable to people selling him things he didn't really want / need and often had to pay back lots of money to boys who would bully him until they got it back - he took money that was given to him for other things to pay them and got into debt through this. So keep an open mind


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Thanks Safia. That was really useful. Remind me, how old is your son?


Unfortunately we can not talk to AD calmly at the moment as if we talk in more than a whisper on any subject that might be seen as in any way questioning of her behaviour then she will explode in vitriolic, self-justifying, verbal abuse that will last for hours and is totally unproductive. This is why I'm thinking of just throwing more money at this problem but a small and sensible part of me is just shouting "nooooo", it will just make it worse and make her expectations larger to the point that we can't actually fulfill them. Having said that, I just don't know what is a reasonable amount to give a 15 year old (adopted or not) as spending money - I feel so old and out of touch!


We also can not rely on her honestly as, sadly, this is a concept that AD really just doesn't understand. Never has, never will! But, yes, we can work in that general direction.


We had the police involved (sexual exploitation team) in the Summer just gone because AD had been given (bought - is there a difference?) things by an inappropriately aged male (29) whom she knew through a friend of a friend which also gave us wobbles - his excuse was that "she said that she didn't have enough money for those £90 trainers and she really wanted them so I felt sorry for her". We didn't even know that she was out shopping with him (with her friend, to be fair). So I guess that this is also playing on my mind.


I'm just not sure where we should be going with this but I do know that what we're doing isn't working.


Thanks again.


Peahen.


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Can't help on the dishonesty issues, but I doubt that extra money will stop the stealing or the scrounging, There will always be stuff that is more expensive than their allowance, and sometimes it is about other issues than simply honesty.

We are on a tight budget to help keep ds2 at the best school for him and he is thriving there at the moment, but there are a number of very well off kids there ( £40 pencil case anyone !!) and sometimes we have wanted to give him more. But we do try not to embarress him ( yes, we bought Nike trainers last weekend as non branded ones are too much of a put down, and we pay for clubs , trips and small extra expenses like swimming or visiting a friend one train stop away. But pocket money is £10 a week, upgraded from £7 on his last birthday ( he is presently 14) and that was the first increase since he was 12 and getting a fiver and a packet of sweets on a Sunday. We try to encourage him to save and sometimes he agrees to our suggestion that he get half in change and I put the rest onto his bank card for later needs.

Is there any way your daughter could earn extra money, it might help her appreciate the value of it. we have friends whose similar age kids have extra chores they earn money to do, no chores done, no cash, or minimal cash. or a paper round or something.


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Just on the issue of how much is reasonable for a teen, I've seen various threads on this recently on different forums and it varies wildly.


Depends what you expect them to pay for really. Simba is 13 and gets £10 a month, which appears to be quite stingy. He certainly thinks so. But I don't expect him to pay for much. If we go to a sports event, and he wants a programme, he buys it, I expect him to save it up so he has a bit of spending money when we go on holiday or a day out and to buy me a birthday and Christmas present.

He has a few chores for which he 'earns' the pockey money.

Any activties he does I pay for, if he wants to go into town with his friends, I will give him £10 which usually goes on a McDonalds and the pound shop on sweets. His bus fares are covered by his school bus pass so that doesnt cost extra. So he doesnt really need much cash.

I will increase it each birthday but expect him to pay for more of his own stuff. He dosent really have a great grasp on money and value at the moment though.


I'm not sure increasing her money would solve the problem. It might even make her more vulnerable if she is hanging around with dodgy characters.


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Hello. When my son got to about that age he did jobs around the home like laying the table, loading the washing machine, putting the bins out. If he did stuff like that and offered me a drink when he got one for himself etc I rewarded that. He’d mow peoples lawns, paint fences for some cash.

Like you his costs were covered at home anyway.

I used to give him about £35 a month. Roughly child benefit rate.

I found there were problems. He still stole. He’d spend his £35 in 2 days and have no money again. I’d buy him some needed jeans but he wouldn’t look after them / draw on them etc and when I refused to buy more than that, he was furious id ‘made’ him buy new jeans out of his money.

Then he got a gf or 5 in college and gave all that money on fags and gifts for them. So I stopped giving him money, we don’t have much, certainly not enough for him to throw away. He did various jobs to earn cash from people after that.


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EDD always got money from somewhere (older boys I suspect)... I don't think giving her more money would have made any difference - she would always crave more, and crave the feeling of being able to get more.


I think all you can do is stick to your boundary and suggest jobs she could do to earn money, which would be a positive connection to make. But of course, it's easier to flirt and manipulate, plus you get to feel in control Sad


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Our two get 20p per week per year of age, so currently £2.80 and £3 per week.

In addition, there is a "special projects" fund. Two years ago we built an extension and shortly after that I quit my job, so we had a look at our finances and cut back where we could. AD wanted to go on an expensive school trip.

At the time, they were having school dinners at £11 per week, so we offered them £1 for each day they would make a packed lunch instead. This money is put aside and they can use it for bigger purchases, like that school trip or more guitars in AS' case. We have to agree to a purchase.


Neither of them can afford the lifestyle they want. AD has a paper round and spends a lot, but however much money she has it is never enough. She sometimes gets some cash to buy clothes that she needs, we agree on items and prices beforehand and we expect receipts.


AS just spends his pocket money as soon as he gets it and is always broke. No ability to think beyond what is in front of him or to plan or save.


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My brother (not adopted) saw money as something to spend immediately. As a teem he was always selling his records second hand at a fraction of the price he'd paid for them etc to get money to buy more records. Never planned ahead and my parents despaired (even my sister and I, two misers at heart, were bemused).


In his twenties he was made redundant and promptly spent his redundancy on a round the world trip!


It probably wasn't until his late twenties / thirties that he began to be careful and invest rather than spend.


I'm not sure if he stole much though it's not impossible. I'm sure he would have borrowed given the chance. He just liked what money could do for him and I don't think any amount would have been enough - he would have always wanted to buy more records, go to more rock concerts, travel to more countries etc.


Due to his lack of financial sense my parents were more strict re giving him extra than they were with my sister and I because they wanted him to learn the value of money. He is a very bright guy (certainly would be an A* student in every subject) but it took him years, with no background of trauma.


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P'S we gave dd £5 a week at that age but she was reluctant to spend her own money (!) so we knew she was stealing when she brought something home. I never used to give her the actual cash, but write it down and she had to ask me for it. Didn't work and it's better now she has a Go Henry card and is also earning her own money via babysitting.


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Peahen - my son is 20 so theoretically should be earning in a "proper" job etc - but he is coaching albeit quite casually at the moment - seems to be moving in the right direction though which I think is what I was trying to say - it is a process - and a slow one for many of our kids! We put money in his account to cover travel (weekly bus pass) and lunches and I pay the coach directly. Everything else he pays for himself now - and as he does have longer periods of coaching in the holidays can earn decent amounts to spend from time to time.


Milly - mine are also like that - though again not so much now - AS used to spend anything the moment he had any (or usually before!) but now is able to wait and use an account - I think its a tremendous development - though others would say I should have used a more punitive approach but this way has worked. My daughter also used to spend any money she had as soon as she got it but last birthday had her birthday money for many months only spending a little at a time on things she really wanted. She is 22. But they both have learning difficulties, mental health difficulties and attachment difficulties.


My daughter used to always be asking for a new phone (even though she had several phones her friends had given her (one worked in a phone shop) as well as ones she had got from us for birthdays over time) She was constantly texting me to say she needed one "today". It was not long after a recent trauma and I think was an expression of her anxiety as she now very rarely does this. She also said on one occasion she would "sell herself" to get one if I didn't get it for her (which I though was not beyond the realms of possibility at that time) She always did this by text - never face to face - when I was at work - so maybe a way of getting my attention / keeping in touch too? I just kept repeating the message that she had enough phones (I have 13 numbers for her on my contact list!) - could get one for her birthday - save up the money etc - she never did so it wasn't a serious request - I kept calm on the surface - but it created turmoil in me as I didn't know how far she would go to get one at that stage - maybe a way of her transferring her anxiety to me? She also asked for simcards quite regularly - sometimes I used to get these as a way of keeping her quiet (they were only £1) but don't do this now - I just ignore it or say she doesn't need one. She was using false identities too and I'm not sure how much of this was in her control so didn't want to encourage it anyway.


Peahen - the older boys with money is very hard as your daughter would not probably understand the implications of accepting an expensive gift from a much older boy / man - I'm sure my daughter wouldn't either - so is there anyone who can work with her on this aspect - at school maybe? My daughter has a social communication disorder - it makes them very vulnerable to exploitation as they can only see things literally and not all the nuances of meaning


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Thank you all for your extremely valuable comments.


Looks like we're in the mid point here at approx. £20 per month for AD (paid weekly). There is the opportunity for her to earn more by doing things like taking the rubbish and recycling out but these seem to be gross and demeaning chores and are rarely, if ever, done.


Like so many have said, AD spends the lot within a day and then has nothing (often on bottled drinks - luckily we've advocated the harm of carbonated, canned drinks that are crammed full of sugar / sweetener and this seems to have got through somehow) We have suitable drinks at home (errr, well bottled water with lime flavour or something and AD seems to like them but it doesn't seem to be the having but the buying that is important here).


We buy all of the clothes / stuff / pay for clubs etc. that AD needs for anything but expect her to buy anything additional (clothes that she wants but doesn't need) out of her pocket money and the £100 gift card that we give her every year as part of her birthday present and usually another for Xmas.


I'm still in a dilemma as it might make sense to suggest to DH that we pay £10 a week on a monthly basis, to see if that might make a difference. My negative thinking here is that yes, she can blow £40 in no time but then she will have nothing for the rest of the month. So then the flirting and scrounging might kick in. My positive thinking is that is she blows it all then there are no cinema trips for the rest of the month (or whatever). Not sure yet - I will need to think but your input has been really useful.


Safia, yes, we have talked to AD and have had the regular police, sexual exploitation team police, Social Workers and school talk to AD (over time!) about the possible difference between her reading of the meaning of these gifts and the person giving's intention. AD knows what "grooming" means - we have been (probably) overly clear on this. AD thinks that we are worrying unnecessarily and that she "knows what she is doing". However, small breakthrough on this front, a week or so ago AD came home in a right old strop about some other hot water (yes, with another male) she'd got herself into (and sort of extricated herself from, which we praised her for) and started her yelling routine. I pointed out that there was no point yelling at me because I hadn't been party to any of this stuff and was just trying to help her. I got a text message about an hour later apologising for the yelling and sending me "I know that you worry and I love you" messages. Awww - made my day, if I'm honest.


So, still an unresolved issue but I'm feeling better that maybe, just maybe, there is a way through this.


Peahen.


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It is a tricky one. Up until recently we didn't give Ewok any money, just paid for stuff as and when he wanted it. When he was younger he used to spend any money he had on the first thing he saw.


He has got a lot better, so we have taken the plunge and we have opened a bank account with a debit card, and we put £50 a month into it. We are only in the second month so I can't honestly say whether it has been successful or not. He did have about £5 left in it at the end of the first month. We have said that we will continue to pay the subs for any of the clubs that he still does, but he is funding any drinks/crisps/sweets that he wants when he is there. We will also continue to pay for his phone.


When we total up the spending money that we gave him, plus the computer games and other bits and pieces that we used to pay for, £50 a month is about what we were spending.


The plan is that if he manages this amount for the next few months, then we will gradually give him more money in his account and cut back on the extras we are currently still paying for. We have talked this through with him and he has agreed this is the way to go. He actually said he didn't want to have to manage too much to start with. He just wants to be able to buy bits and bobs without constantly asking us for money.


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DS (15) and DD(14) get £10 a week, paid weekly in arrears and subject to them doing their chores! I also pay it directly into their bank account (Nationwide). It's slightly harder to blow it all on an impulse buy if you have to remember to go to the cashpoint first! They don't have debit cards.


Unfortunately they both lose money and also steal from each other. So if they have cash they normally give it to me to hold on to! So I have envelopes hidden around the house with different amounts of cash for each, which they then forget about.


I still buy the stuff they need, they have to buy Christmas and birthday presents for us from it, and pay if they want to go out (I may top up or provide a bus ticket but they have to presume they are paying in the first place).


Ideally at some point in the not too distant future I'd like to start giving them an allowance, with certain things they are responsible for buying (toiletries, stationery initially, building up to clothes)


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Our kids came out of FC with a £5 a week allowance being given for all the time they were in care, it was very difficult to move away from that. Kids that age just can't spend that much.

I have a niece who is 14 and gets PP for non adoption related reasons. We help her out with some funding from time to time and she stays with us regularly. She loves clothes and makeup and her day out of choice is Westfield. We experimented with giving her a monthly allowance, just for spending money, not to live on and not for things like trips. I wanted to see how much she needed over a period of time so she would satisfy what she wanted and not have to ask for more. We started with £50 per month which didn't last long so raised it to £100 then £150. For the first few months she seemed to spend to the limit but gradually over time she bought all the things that were driven by peer pressure, had all the brands and gadgets. She suddenly announced she had started saving for a car for when she is 17. We are just coming up to a year of doing this and she has £400 in her bank account. The thing is, I am giving her a good chunk less than I was when she got ad hock handouts. I would estimate she is spending about £80 a month on being a teenager. Mostly on cinema, Starbucks, bus/train, concerts, iTunes, bowling, ice rink and about £30 on her phone. Luckily being an almost 15 year old girl she spends a lot of time in her room glued to her phone which, on an unlimited mins and text plan is a surprisingly cheap whay to keep her entertained for many hours.

Although not adopted, she had some early life trauma which has given her many of the issues described by parents of teenagers on here. We found that having a small amount of financial independence has helped her confidence and removed some of the motivations which were driving difficult behaviours. There is no challenge or adversarial position in our relationship about acquiring things now and she rarely asks. I know it sounds incredibly materialistic but the pressure on her to fit in and be like her friends, have what they have, was pulling up her anxiety levels and fuelling some very bad decisions.


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I no longer give my boys cash - they both have a Go Henry card which they have to manage. I have overall control though of how much and where they can spend. My 13 year old gets £5 a week and he’s allowed to spend it as he wants - on rubbish or save for something. He also pays for his additional iPad storage.


My 16 year old now has an allowance of £100 per month - I limit his weekly expenditure. That has to pay for everything - lunch included - and there are no top ups. If he runs out of money before month end, then too bad.


They both need to learn to budget and I found that I was giving thrm more with all the ad hoc add-ons they were getting.


I still pay for their phone contracts.


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