Author Topic: Teaching responsibility - financial and otherwise  (Read 738 times)

Sjalabais

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Teaching responsibility - financial and otherwise
« on: March 17, 2017, 01:41:26 AM »
While out at friends with her mom, my 6 year old crashed her door into the friend's vintage van. A ding appeared. My wife offered to pay for the damage repair and, so far, we haven't heard back from them on the matter.

In the household council 😊 we can't seem i agree on whether to take the money out of my daughter's pretty sizable avcount - because she did it, and is certainly old enough to both know this might happen and take responsibility - or to pay from our running account. My wife is obviously of the opinion that such a presumably big bill would be too much of a "punishment". I disagree on it even being a punishment, just a mere consequence of action.

Obviously, nobody here knows my kid, but what's your stance on this?

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Teaching responsibility - financial and otherwise
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2017, 02:52:17 AM »
Check to see if your homeowners insurance will cover liability for damages caused by a child. My parents were able to use it when my brother crashed his bike into someone's car. This was 20 years ago, but it is worth checking.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Teaching responsibility - financial and otherwise
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2017, 03:36:07 AM »
In the Netherlands people have insurances for this. They accept that children can do dumb things that cost you money.
Your daughter is only 6. It might be OK to give her a small punishment, e.g. drawing a small symbolic amount from her account, but don't do the whole sum. It is you as parent who are responsible for your children's behaviour. She is under age and should not have the burden for paying the whole sum.
Does your daughter understand that she did something terrible? If so, isn't that punishment enough?
I remember last time I seriously bulked our car. I cried and felt terrible. Luckily the all risk insurance paid for it. But I had my fair portion of guilt and with that punishment.

Sjalabais

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Re: Teaching responsibility - financial and otherwise
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2017, 08:43:11 AM »
 My wife is not always...eh...present where she is, so I guess there was no supervision of that sort. We didn't blow this up for our daughter, she knew she did something wrong, and that's it. I will check with our insurance, and maybe sharing the sum makes sense once we got a number, too. Compromises are often the best solutions. :)

bender

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Re: Teaching responsibility - financial and otherwise
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2017, 09:01:20 AM »
Vintage van?  What?  I'm picturing something that's full of dents already :)

I think your friend likely won't take you up on the offer.  If they do - I would pay from your running account.  I agree with Linda - the kid is only 6.  I'd say it's the parent's fault for parking too close to the van where a 6 year old could hit it with the door.

Another question - where did a 6 year old get a sizeable account!  Was it gifts, or is she a model or actor?  Is she richer than you - if so I may change my stance and say it's OK to let her pay.

Laura33

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Re: Teaching responsibility - financial and otherwise
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2017, 09:38:48 AM »
Kids are not mini-adults, and so you can't reasonably expect adult behavior and impose adult consequences and expect that to work.  At 6, my kids were barely discovering that a quarter could get them a gumball from the pretty machine at the grocery store; the concept of adult-sized savings and adult-sized spending is sort of meaningless.  So the most likely results of making your child pay for the damage would be (a) zero impact, as the dollars in her bank account are too abstract for her to feel it; or (b) disproportionately huge impact for a careless kid mistake, as she equates taking that money to All The Stuff she wants to get with it. 

The other thing is that, at that age, long-term consequences are sort of meh; the kids don't really connect consequences to actions unless it's right in the moment.  So she would definitely get "daddy is really mad at me," but she wouldn't make that connection the next time she throws the car door open.  With my kids, it's all part of a bigger lesson of "be considerate of people/things around you" -- and it's something I still reinforce, in advance, when we are hauling suitcases through an airport, or pulling into a tight parking space, or when they are walking with a cellphone out, etc. 

And when they still screw it up, well, they're kids.  Shit happens.  Not the end of the world.  In the end, they -- and their actions -- are my responsibility until they are grown, and so the consequences of their screw-ups are mine to deal with until that point. 

Which, as the parent of a new driver, terrifies the crap out of me, but that's another post.  :-)
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Road42

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Re: Teaching responsibility - financial and otherwise
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2017, 06:41:18 AM »
Yes, exactly what Laura33 said.  If you do want to impose some kind of consequence, she might learn more from a tangible thing she has to do. She should rite a letter (of draw a picture, or record a video on the phone you can send) of apology to the car owner that shows how that person feels about what happened (teaching empathy), and/or she should make a sign to hang on her own car door to remind her not to swing it open without looking in the future(teaching constructive forward-looking problem solving rather than useless regret over past actions). Kids that age learn from hands on activities, not from abstract "lessons" like having her money taken away.

Mezzie

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Re: Teaching responsibility - financial and otherwise
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2017, 07:08:03 AM »
Yes, exactly what Laura33 said.  If you do want to impose some kind of consequence, she might learn more from a tangible thing she has to do. She should rite a letter (of draw a picture, or record a video on the phone you can send) of apology to the car owner that shows how that person feels about what happened (teaching empathy), and/or she should make a sign to hang on her own car door to remind her not to swing it open without looking in the future(teaching constructive forward-looking problem solving rather than useless regret over past actions). Kids that age learn from hands on activities, not from abstract "lessons" like having her money taken away.

This is the route I would take. I wouldn't force the apology, but if when asked how she feels, she says she feels bad, you can teach her how writing (ir perhaps drawing, depending on her language ability) an apology can make both her and the person she hurt feel better. That's a more developmentally important lesson thn taking money out of an account she doesn't see, I think.
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Sjalabais

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Re: Teaching responsibility - financial and otherwise
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2017, 04:43:22 AM »
Thanks for all the good advice. It's not alway easy to be the "perfect" or "right" parent, and I absolutely agree it makes sense to let her create some response of her own, and to share the cost. Still haven't heard from the car owners though.

The vintage van is some sort of well-cared for Volkswagen. I haven't even seen it myself. :)

And about the money: All kids in Norway get a universal child care allowance of about 120$ a month. It's so little, we don't need it and have put their money into saving accounts. So it adds up over the years.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Teaching responsibility - financial and otherwise
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2017, 05:04:23 AM »
And about the money: All kids in Norway get a universal child care allowance of about 120$ a month. It's so little, we don't need it and have put their money into saving accounts. So it adds up over the years.

Why don't you invest that money for her in an index fund? It could grow very well, as she is starting saving out so young.

Sjalabais

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Re: Teaching responsibility - financial and otherwise
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2017, 11:48:17 AM »
We've been thinking about it, but there are two concerns:

One is that I am a bear. When a big lump of money landed in my laps two years ago, I didn't see a positive economic development on the horizon, and I am even more sceptical about stock markets representation of economic activity right now. I am also fully aware of that I have been proven wrong more times than I have been proven right; this is a deeply irrational mechanism, after all.

Second is the slump in the krone and the dollar high. You have a "Norway" in your user name, so  I guess you're even here? Underlig, men heia Norge! Anyway, when the krone fell from 5:1 to 9:1 USD, I cashed out and didn't invest more in international ventures for a while. I also think the administrative cost of many Norwegian offerings is too high.

Tl;dr - too conservative money management.