Dear Tulum,

I took your Positive Discipline Class years ago and use my tools each and every day. When I hear Mothers in the market repeating over and over, “This is the last time I’m going to ask to to stop!”, I say a little thank you to you and your class that I only have to say it once, if at all. Two questions: 1. Recently I’ve been asked to ‘donate money’ to a friend’s high schooler so he may go to a far away place and have great experiences. I find myself wondering if he should be spending more time ‘working’ to raise the money than asking friends, relatives and businesses in the area to donate money for his trip. 2. I wonder, should I have my young children saving now for special trips which are inevitable?

— planning for the future

Dear Planning for the future,

Thank you for reconnecting! AND, congratulations for not getting hooked into the “I’ve asked you a hundred times to stop!” game. I feel compelled to address that area first since my heart goes out to you readers who are caught in that vicious cycle. Here’s how to avoid the ‘hundred times’ game:

PREPARE: At a family meeting tell your children that they may buy one item IF they bring their own money. The item must fall into the agreed upon options that you of course have established at that meeting. If they pester you for more than one thing they will lose the privilege to buy something on your next trip.

ALLOWANCE: From the age from 4 years on give your children an allowance that is not connected to chores. If you want to pay for chores, make that a separate deal. One quarter of that allowance goes into their college fund, another quarter into a savings for current needs and wants, the third quarter into future trips and expenses and the forth quarter into their pocket for spending. The quarter that goes into current needs is spent for half of birthday and holiday gifts for friends and relations, and half of any big ticket items they want through out the year (not including birthday or holiday gifts for themselves). When you go out into the world it is your children’s responsibility to bring their spending money if they intend to purchase something. Don’t remind them to bring their cash. When at the store, if you are pestered to buy something for them or loan them the money, move through the following steps:

ASK: Did you bring your money?

TELL: I am keeping my end of the family rule, you may buy something if you can afford it. I am not available to negotiate.

ACT: I am going to continue my shopping and will not be answering any comments or questions.
Then keep quiet and finish your shopping.

OR: I see that you are having a hard time keeping our agreement. I am having a difficult time staying focused on my shopping so I have decided to take you home and return later by myself.

Then you walk out to the car IN SILENCE!

I also must address the issue of asking the children “one hundred times” to do something. Really folks, how many times do YOU need to experience something NOT WORKING before you GIVE IT UP!?!

Now, moving onto your questions:

1. YES! Of course high schoolers should be both saving and working to finance their own trips rather than asking for hand outs!

2. YES! Of course your children should be saving NOW for special trips down the road.

P.S. Great hearing from you. Thanks for staying in touch.