Have you ever given your child (or grandchild) something you thought would be a blessing but your gift ended up being a hindrance instead? Veruca Salt (who is an extreme example) comes to mind. She’s the spoiled rotten girl from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory who repeatedly screamed, “I want it all, and I want it now!” And she’s all I could picture as I listened to a 22-year-old college student who was gifted $90,000 for college by her grandparents and is now broke.
“Kim” called in last week to “The Bert Show” to seek advice from the hosts at the Atlanta-based radio talk show. Now a junior in college, Kim confessed she doesn’t have any money left to pay the upcoming bills for her senior year.
Years ago my grandparents set up a college fund for me, which was amazing, and I haven’t been very good with my budget for school. The first payment for my senior year just arrived and I don’t have the money basically. I’ve just been avoiding it. I knew the bill was coming.
First, as a parent, I wondered if Kim had ever been taught the value of a dollar and just how hard $90K is to earn. Was she taught budgeting and personal responsibility? As I listened to the interview in full, I got my answers.
Maybe [my parents] should have taught me to budget or something. They never sat me down and had a real serious talk about it.
While I agree in part with Kim here — her parents should have taught her how to budget — she’s an adult now. The money was likely in some sort of trust given to her at 18, the age you’re deemed an adult. It’s her responsibility now to make wise choices with the funds she was given. She knew how much she had and how much her school was going to cost, and she admits she knew the bill was coming. But Kim continues to blame her parents for not stopping her from making bad choices and also insinuates that her parents should take money out of their retirement accounts to bail poor Kim out:
[My parents] said there was nothing they could do for me. They’re not being honest with me saying they don’t have [money] because my dad has worked for like a million years and they have a retirement account.
Entitled much, Kim? That quote infuriated me and I actually had to listen to it again to make sure I heard her correctly, and unfortunately, I did. As a mom, I would be incredibly disappointed to find out my kids thought they were owed what someone else earns. Heartbroken actually.
It doesn’t matter if her parents have money or not. It’s not hers; it’s theirs and they earned it for THEIR retirement, not for her trips to Europe or “college break expenses.”
Yes, making matters worse, Kim wants her parents to give her their retirement money, even though she admitted to not exactly spending her college funds on college, but on a trip to Europe, college break expenses, and on clothes. She tried to justify her spending on the Europe trip as part of her education.
I used it to budget for school clothes and college break money. I probably should have not done that. I took a trip to Europe. The Europe thing I thought was part of my education and that’s how I tried to justify that.
So Kim is out of money and has bills coming due, and having spent her funds on items other than school, she’s “stressed” now and isn’t quite sure what to do. The show’s co-host tries to be helpful and suggests maybe Kim could work to pay her upcoming school bill, you know, like millions of other Americans do.
“You could get a job for the school …maybe the cafeteria’s hiring,” he said.
What was Kim’s response? “That’s embarrassing.”
Those words from Kim denouncing work as embarrassing epitomize our entitlement society. Kim sees working a job in a cafeteria as embarrassing and obviously beneath her. She couldn’t be more wrong. Working to pay your bills it not embarrassing–it’s responsible. And that responsibility thing is what she’s lacking. You know what should be embarrassing? Begging other people to pay your bills and then acting like a brat when they tell you no. Where’s the humility? Where’s the gratitude for the extremely generous gift given to her? It’s completely absent.
Kim went on to share that her parents won’t co-sign for a loan, either, unless she gets a part-time job.
I know they’re trying to teach me a lesson and blah, blah, blah and character building but, like, I hope they realize [working part-time] could have such a negative effect on my grades and as a person.
Again, Kim is wrong. Working doesn’t have a negative effect on you as a person–just the opposite, actually. Work brings dignity and self-respect; it builds character, and Kim’s character certainly needs building. Her work ethic needs building. Her ego, on the other hand, does not need building.
I sincerely hope Kim’s parents do not bail her out in any way. Kim doesn’t need a loan or another handout. Kim needs to budget, save, and get a job to pay her upcoming bills. Rescuing your children from their own poor choices only sets them up to make more of them–and the older they get, the larger the consequences.
When you’re a mom, it’s hard to watch your kids struggle, but oftentimes those struggle forge the inner strength needed to make it through the challenges life is sure to send their way. I don’t know about you, but I don’t wan’t to be a helicopter parents who sets my kids up for failure. I love them too much.
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