Raised: ‘How do you say no to a request for money?’

Mother: “How do you say ‘No’ when your eighteen-year-old daughter sends you a text message for the umpteenth time or you can transfer money for a ticket to the movie, a T-shirt or a pair of shoes?

I sometimes ask: ‘Why don’t you earn a little more yourself?’ She does have a part-time job, but she can’t go there very often. She has been through a lot because of the divorce from me and her father, so I can’t be very strict. But I also see it in non-divorced families: it is difficult to teach good money behavior in an environment where everything is available. She gets a clothing allowance every month, I pay for her phone, but there are always other, practical things she needs: notebooks, all those friends who have birthdays. Whoops, another tenner. She calls: ‘Mom, I see really nice shoes that I really need. Would you like to transfer €50?’ Sometimes I say, ‘Why don’t you ask Daddy? But daddy just doesn’t respond to a text like that.

I don’t spend anything on myself. I have a day cream from HEMA. The money really doesn’t grow on my back, I sometimes work seven days a week to pay it all. I’m afraid if I say no, she’ll get mad and come home even less because she likes it better elsewhere. She’s been with other people quite often, we live in a village so when she goes out she sleeps with friends. When she’s here, I don’t feel like arguing all the time. I’m afraid I’ll chase her away. She deals with children of wealthy parents, which of course influences her as well. And I give her that too.

‘You have to make strict agreements’, you hear from others; ‘setting more limits’, it is not that easy. If you live in a house with two parents, you can still discuss it together, but I am alone. Then just say ‘no.’

Name and place of residence are known to the editor. The section Educated is anonymous, because difficulties in education are very sensitive.

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How would children handle this?

We asked our children’s panel:

And this is what the experts advise:

Tell her it’s hard

Marga Akkerman: „Learning how to handle money is not about the relationship between mother and daughter, or about what the child has been through. It is about what you give the child to prepare for life when it is independent. It is striking that this mother knows very well how it should actually be done. Very sensible is her comment that her daughter should earn more if she needs more. Then I come to drawing up a clear budget, indicating the fixed income from pocket money and clothing money, and a description of what must be paid from it. The NIBUD provides guidelines for this. Learning to deal with it is only possible if the parents do not allow it. The fact that you can stretch your income as a child yourself by earning money is a good lesson in many ways. This mother who means so very well, in fact remembers her daughter this school. So it is better for her to make her views clear now and keep her daughter within the budget, than to be billed later for not having learned how to handle money. The nice thing about such a clear budget is that as a parent you can spontaneously do some extras if it suits you.
Keeping giving money won’t solve the relationship problems between these two. Solving the relationship problems can lead to a budgetary approach that is accepted by the subsidiary.”

Set up a budget

Tischa Neve: “Sometimes restoring connection and contact with your child is step one. Mother, sit down with your daughter and tell me how difficult this is for you. ‘I struggle with this, I want to give you things, I want you to keep loving me, but it doesn’t feel right anymore: I think it’s important that you learn to deal with money and it costs me too much now. ‘ Don’t blame. Say you created this yourself. You can’t just stop boom with it, then you’ll remove even more from each other. Go and map out together how much money she needs per month, and how she can gather it together. And then discuss: ‘How can we agree from now on? What do you think is real? And what me?’ I don’t believe in imposed rules, but in agreements that you make together, because that’s how you create children who can put themselves in the shoes of others; that gives them control and responsibility, which reduces the chance that they will revolt.”

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