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Kids Should Pay Their Phone Bills

Photograph by Getty Images

It’s becoming quite an interesting journey as I watch my children’s father help them develop into responsible young men. Well, at least that is what I hope that he is doing. My sons called me the other day to chat after a week of not hearing from them. When I asked them what happened to their phones this time, they shared that their father has informed them that they must pay their own phone bills from now on.

I had to smirk.

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My sons are now 12 and 14 and earn an allowance by completing their chores. Because their dad offers them an allowance he also requires that they spend their money on things they want. If they go out to dinner, they pay for themselves. If they want to see a movie, even if he takes them, they must pay for themselves.

My older son Saidon has called me on more than one occasion to chat while his dad and younger brother are out to the movies. The next day my younger son Solomon calls to whine about the fact that they can’t go to a restaurant because he spent all of his money at the movies.

They will learn the value of each dollar they spend, they’ll learn that the things they own won’t magically replace themselves.

My friends often react in amazement when I share this news with them. This is funny to me because I see absolutely nothing wrong with what he is doing, it makes me feel proud, and my sons don’t think it’s wrong either. They respect his rules and follow them without grumbling too much, managing their meager budgets and having to sacrifice some things for the sake of others, like grown-ups.

I never had to do that while I was growing up; I was given anything that I wanted. This led to my having a very give-me-what-I-want attitude about life, believing the world should conform to my rules and not vice versa because I always get what I want, even if I have to do it in very creative ways.

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My sons won’t have the luxury of being supported in this way. I sit back and imagine what they would be like if I were raising them the way I was raised, giving them everything so that they will turn around and demand everything they want from the world. Instead they will learn the value of each dollar they spend, they’ll learn that the things they own won’t magically replace themselves. Most importantly they will learn that daddy cares enough to teach them to be responsible, and even though they may secretly dislike it, they’ll probably do the same for their own kids.

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