Author Topic: Dealing with teenagers?  (Read 6333 times)

thurston howell iv

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Dealing with teenagers?
« on: June 08, 2015, 02:01:14 PM »
First, I want to get this out of the way. I don't have children and lately it seems as if I don't understand the modern teenager. (I think I should be able to as I was once one of them but lately, I am simply dumbfounded.

The Scenario: I am a relative of a teenager (18 year old male). He is not the swiftest duck (but neither are his parents - so I think he may have been shorted there).  Anyway, he's finishing high school and just got his first job - delivery driver. He loves it because it's mindless and he can just drive around.

His car, which was something he was supposed to pay for was "gifted" to him after relatives gave up on him actually making an effort to find work. (public transportation is nearly non existent where they live) SO, with a car it was assumed he would find work. Eventually he did. Problem is that since he did not pay for the car, and barely even pays on the insurance, he's beaten the car into the ground. (It's not a "cool" car so this may be the reason)

Now , he claims he "needs" another one right now. He's saved absolutely zero money but managed to con a relative into loaning him the money. (not me).
Anyway, it was suggested that I could help to locate something within the price range. And I can but, I have a regular job and other responsibilities so I can't make it happen for another week or so.

The issue: Lately, he's started calling and texting (which he rarely ever does) and giving me a sob story about possibly losing the job if he didn't have a car asap.  When I asked about his backup plan, he said that he would just borrow the money and find something local - his budget is very small and he knows nothing about cars.   He has no other plan.   (When I asked if he had a back up plan for the eventual loss of a job- like find another job, or if he could make arrangements for a ride, or ride a bike, he got pissed- apparently- and stopped texting me.)

Normally, I don't put up with stupid people's BS and frankly, I'm not really inclined to do so now. However, the relative loaning the kid money has asked me to help and I do not want them to lose their money- I tried to talk them out of the loan so the kid could flounder a little while and maybe learn something about real life. But, everyone wants to keep coddling!!!

So, my question is: What would you do?  Am I being too harsh?  Am I being too soft? I don't like the entitlement mentality and both his parents have it and I don't want him to have it but I don't want him to think he can't call me for help.





TrMama

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2015, 02:16:22 PM »
What would I do? Nothing. As you've pointed out, he'll learn the most from having to find his own ride.

What could you do if you want to be the best uncle ever? Offer to teach him how you search for a car. Since what you're offering is the knowledge and experience of having bought, driven and maintained several cars over your life, explain to him how you do it. Then you don't actually have to do the shopping and he gets all the benefit.

GizmoTX

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2015, 02:22:53 PM »
I agree about helping the teenager only by offering knowledge. Teenagers are not universally like this. A lazy and/or spoiled person isn't limited to an age & won't change this behavior unless s/he sees the need to.

The fact that the teenager has already experienced a gift car & has a relative rushing in to bail him out with a replacement has already set his expectations that others are there to serve him. He only contacted you when he wanted something, & stopped when you told him something he didn't want to hear.

The relative is likely to lose the loan money. Nothing you can do will change this -- it's up to the teenager to both repay the loan & learn how to properly care for a car. The relative will learn about the futility of family "loans".



Catbert

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2015, 03:03:47 PM »
You may think he's dumb, but he's about to get his 2nd car which cost him $0 both for the cars and maintenance.  Plus someone pays him to drive around in the dark.  Sounds pretty smart to me.

Teenager's are a lot like adults:  they learn what they are taught.  In his case he's learned to be whiney and people will give him what he wants.

Teach him how to buy a car or do it on your timeframe.  As a minimum he'll learn that whining doesn't work on you.

jeromedawg

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2015, 03:09:30 PM »
Yep, don't do the work for him. Just tell him how to do it and leave it at that. He sounds pretty entitled, sort of how my wife's cousin is (on a smaller degree). By loaning any money or directly helping, you would just be enabling. But if you make it clear that you won't stand for any of his BS yet still try to help him (where it's not crossing the line, especially money-wise) then I think the message might get to him and he *might* appreciate it.

CaveDweller

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2015, 04:53:23 PM »
As a former pizza delivery driver back in college, I see the situation a bit differently. Although I wasn't as "fortunate" as your young relative in getting my first car for free, I did receive financial help with the purchase from my parents and my grandfather. And I do still identify with your relative - when I was his age, I liked my pizza job because it was a fun, easy, and came with lots of free food. However it actually taught me many valuable lessons as well: whereas before I was into "cool" cars, my job would help me to see my car as a tool, necessary for work. Instead of flashiness, I came to appreciate reliability and fuel economy. And a few unexpected, costly repairs helped me begin to understand the importance of saving part of each paycheck, which would become a life-long habit. Such lessons are best learned through experience.

Put yourself in your teen relative's position. He isn't asking for a new toy to go have fun with - at this point he legitimately needs a vehicle for work. There isn't any need for you to make the situation more difficult. I guarantee you he is already experiencing some of the 'floundering' you are talking about. He has had to tell his boss that he will have to miss some shifts and doesn't know when he will have a running car again. He is probably at least somewhat worried about losing his job, and the only way for him to improve his immediate situation is by obtaining a working car.

When he comes to you looking for help with a time-sensitive, work-related issue, and you respond by asking him what he'll do if he loses the job, or if he can just get a ride instead (btw, is that a serious question? he's a delivery driver), it comes across as stalling on your part, with maybe a touch of schadenfreude.

Instead this is a great opportunity for you to help him choose his next car, and I would start by asking him what he's looking for in a car and see what he says. Is he trying to exploit this situation to get someone to buy him an expensive, impractical, late-model? Or will he surprise you by saying he just wants something practical that runs well? And if the car search is something you can't get to right away, you could tell him to begin searching Craigslist on his own and send you the links to a few he's interested in, for you to critique. Then you guys could go look at a couple of the cars together.

It's really cool that you say you want this relative to feel like he can contact you for help. Now that he's done so, it's a great chance for you to actually help him. Don't worry too much about the greater life lessons - the tricky circumstances will teach him those much better than you ever could.

Pigeon

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2015, 08:10:16 PM »
I think you are kind of being a jerk, sorry. If you want to help, help. If you don't, just say so and stay out of it.

It seems like you want to try to teach him some lesson by jerking him around, but that isn't your place.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2015, 09:57:28 PM »
As a former pizza delivery driver back in college, I see the situation a bit differently. Although I wasn't as "fortunate" as your young relative in getting my first car for free, I did receive financial help with the purchase from my parents and my grandfather. And I do still identify with your relative - when I was his age, I liked my pizza job because it was a fun, easy, and came with lots of free food. However it actually taught me many valuable lessons as well: whereas before I was into "cool" cars, my job would help me to see my car as a tool, necessary for work. Instead of flashiness, I came to appreciate reliability and fuel economy. And a few unexpected, costly repairs helped me begin to understand the importance of saving part of each paycheck, which would become a life-long habit. Such lessons are best learned through experience.

Put yourself in your teen relative's position. He isn't asking for a new toy to go have fun with - at this point he legitimately needs a vehicle for work. There isn't any need for you to make the situation more difficult. I guarantee you he is already experiencing some of the 'floundering' you are talking about. He has had to tell his boss that he will have to miss some shifts and doesn't know when he will have a running car again. He is probably at least somewhat worried about losing his job, and the only way for him to improve his immediate situation is by obtaining a working car.

When he comes to you looking for help with a time-sensitive, work-related issue, and you respond by asking him what he'll do if he loses the job, or if he can just get a ride instead (btw, is that a serious question? he's a delivery driver), it comes across as stalling on your part, with maybe a touch of schadenfreude.

Instead this is a great opportunity for you to help him choose his next car, and I would start by asking him what he's looking for in a car and see what he says. Is he trying to exploit this situation to get someone to buy him an expensive, impractical, late-model? Or will he surprise you by saying he just wants something practical that runs well? And if the car search is something you can't get to right away, you could tell him to begin searching Craigslist on his own and send you the links to a few he's interested in, for you to critique. Then you guys could go look at a couple of the cars together.

It's really cool that you say you want this relative to feel like he can contact you for help. Now that he's done so, it's a great chance for you to actually help him. Don't worry too much about the greater life lessons - the tricky circumstances will teach him those much better than you ever could.

CaveDweller has been occupying a very wise cave.  Sage advice.

Exflyboy

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2015, 11:00:41 PM »
What would I do?.. I'd tell him I would not be supporting him buying a new car (in any way shape or form)  and I certainly would be telling the relative who is about to give (sorry loan.. which he will probably never pay back) money that they needed their head examined.

if the kid is stupid enough to trash his only means of transport I'd be very willing to point out his stupidity.. But I certainly wouldn't be helping him to be even more stupid.. If that is actually possible.

If the kid feels entitled let him figure out how he gets on when he finds out he isn't.

catccc

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2015, 08:18:57 AM »
I feel like this kid should be SOL and nobody should help him money wise.  There's the internet and I'm assuming he can read.  I'm going to guess people have been helping him is whole life when he should have been taught how to independently solve his own problems.  If he's already getting the money elsewhere, I'd remind him how lucky he is and point him in the right direction so he can figure this out on his own.  In other worlds, don't hold his hand, but be available to consult with should he have questions.

I'm not saying young adults should totally be out on their own right after high school.  I plan on helping my kids through college to an extent.  But this teen you are talking about seems to be whining and demanding help.  He seems to feel entitled to it.  What is he putting in to deserve the help?  What is he doing so that he won't need the help in the future?  Nothing, it sounds like.  He needs to learn a hard lesson.  And if he's living at home it probably won't even be that hard.

Zamboni

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2015, 09:46:05 AM »
I deal with a lot of 18 year olds.  Some of them have not been taught how to treat others, even others who they rely on for help, in a polite and respectful way. That's just a parenting style issue. I wish I was better at this aspect of raising my own children, although at least I try to make them understand how to be respectful. Most teens seem to think that their own immediate problem is much bigger than it really is, so they tend to over-react. It's just part of normal brain development at that age and it's not unique to this young man.

Also the multiple calls with no message and "urgent" texts seem to be socially acceptable to kids that age (and apparently with some people at any age), but I have no patience for it. Where you are coming from there is completely understandable.

If he doesn't have a big budget, then he probably really does need your help. Besides the fact that you think he's going to rip off your other family member, it's the urgency of the whole deal that is bothering you I sense. I like the idea of having him send you Craigslist ads to vet.  Offer to go look at some cars with him this weekend if you can. And have that conversation with him that CaveDweller mentioned. Give him your perspective on things.  He might not seem like he's listening, and he might not use what he learns from time with you right away, but he will remember it and might very well apply it in the future. Because this whole situation will come up for him more than once, so keep going with that thinking out loud refrain about your thought process and it may eventually sink in.

Bob W

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2015, 05:15:27 PM »
I think you are kind of being a jerk, sorry. If you want to help, help. If you don't, just say so and stay out of it.

It seems like you want to try to teach him some lesson by jerking him around, but that isn't your place.

I see a bit of this.   It is similar to what my wife has been saying about me helping my daughter replace her car.  She thinks I'm somehow enabling. Daughter is a very hard worker,  dedicated to her job.   She is beginning to make her way in the world without a HS diploma.   It has been great to see her struggle but I do help when needed and I can.  So yeah,  I'm cosigning a loan to a kid I love.  Just having a job shows motivation and believe me it is nearly impossible to save money when you work for low wages in shitty jobs. 

In your case try to be respectful and tolerant.   Kids at 18 are really only half grown and they know even less about the world.  They don't understand money or work or people or anything in general.   They need adult help.   Shit he isn't even smart enough to drink a beer according to the government. 

People need mentors  --- it is the number one reason for people's success. 

Perhaps you could be a mentor?   Perhaps that relationship starts with the car process.    Perhaps you encourage him to attend classes in a field he would be successful in?  (HVAC?)  Perhaps it is a 20 year process with ups and downs and no guarantee of success.   Perhaps you have time in you life to understand this young man. 

Course you're not obligated to ----- but it appears that people that know you think that maybe you are a pretty good dude?

thurston howell iv

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2015, 08:33:01 AM »
I think I'm a pretty good dude! :)

Here's the deal. A few years ago, I was commissioned to find a super cheap, safe and reliable car for one of the kids a few years ago. I scoured the net, drove far and wide and found the car. I went through the car and made sure it was 100% safe and reliable and ready to go. Total outlay was $1700 or thereabouts (of course, no charge at all for my countless hours of labor).  The kid (kid#1) it was intended for decided he did not want to get a drivers license so the car sat. Kid #1 however, did hold a job and would walk or ride his bike to get there.

Enter kid #2. He wanted a license and made an effort to get the license. He would not make an effort to get a job. Kid #1 helped Kid #2 get a job and kid #2 was subsequently fired for not showing up (because his plans were more important than the work schedule).  Kid #2 has basically sat around waiting for something to fall into his lap. He calls elderly relatives and asks for "work" when he needs money... So, he'll go over to the house and mow the lawn for 20 minutes and ask for $50!  Lately, he's gotten a GF and wants to spend time with her. (That's cool with me, I was 18 once)... But, he spends every dime that hits his hand. Absolutely zero savings.

Back to the car.   There's a car sitting with no driver. Relatives decide to give it to Kid#2 as a gift. He doesn't like the car because it's not cool. But he takes it anyway because it's wheels.  He proceeds to beat the car to death. Refusing to buy new tires and driving on the donuts instead....  All the mirrors on the car have been knocked off (inside and out), paintjob has been rattlecanned, etc...

I warned the relatives that this was his master plan. Beat the car to death and then come whining about needing something new.

So, to the people who think I'm being Jerky, it's not the intent. I just see where this is going and I'm not keen on his demanding anything when it is obvious that he feels entitled to demand and receive. I'm all for helping him find something but I don't think it should be on the dime of other relatives. I want him to understand that this hardship that had befallen him has been of his own doing and that one always needs to have a backup plan - just in case shit happens.

BTW, he did shop CL as suggested. He send me an add for a tricked out Range Rover that was only $2300!  (I asked him to consider why such a vehicle might be priced like that)... Then he shows me some muscle car. He stays in the price range but I try to explain that used cars are not being sold because they are perfect and that when you buy one, you need to be mindful of all the little odds and ends that need to be repaired to make the car good to go. I'm not going to put him into something that is unsafe so it needs to have good tires, brakes, etc...   Additionally, he's an 18 year old male. Insurance will be a killer as will gas if the car is more than a 6 cylinder. Not to mention, I fear that giving him too much hp could be dangerous - he's already run the other car into a few things and caused damage.

I currently spend a few hours a day hunting for something that meets the parameters of cool-ish, decent mpg, safe, reliable, relatively cheap and easy to repair, etc... I've been on the phone with prospective sellers and I'm trying really hard to find the right car...

BTW, I am several states away so I have to find, buy, fix and deliver this car... Buying local to him is not an option as I do not have access to tools and shop like I do at my home. (My labor is what keeps costs in check)

I've even considered buying the car and ordering all the parts and then having him fly over so that I can try to teach him something about how it all works and maybe at least give him a little sweat equity in the car...

Do I still sound Jerky??

« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 08:35:58 AM by thurston howell iv »

MrsPete

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2015, 09:24:19 AM »
So the kid has secured a loan from a relative, and you're only in charge of helping locate a suitable vehicle?  I think that's a tough spot. 

I'd start by asking the kid to list the top 3 things he really, really wants in a car.  If I were buying a new car today, I'd say reliability, value for the dollar, and low maintenance costs (which would include high gas mileage).  When my daughter bought a car last year, one of her top priorities was that she wanted it to be NEW.  Your kid may choose cool-looking as one of his priorities.  Make him rank his priorities. 

Then start looking at cars WITH HIM.  Teaching him how to do this on his own is one of your goals. 

Rank every car according to his Top 3 priorities, and go from there. 



Pigeon

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2015, 10:31:58 AM »

Quote
Do I still sound Jerky??

A little bit, yeah. 

He's not your kid, right?  He's not asking you for money, right?  I guess I don't understand why you think it's your job to teach him a lesson.  You seem to resent being asked to help him, which I can fully understand.  If I were in your shoes, I'd point him to some informational resources and let him figure it out. The money issue is between him and whoever is dumb enough to loan it to him.

mm1970

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2015, 11:19:23 AM »
I think you are kind of being a jerk, sorry. If you want to help, help. If you don't, just say so and stay out of it.

It seems like you want to try to teach him some lesson by jerking him around, but that isn't your place.

I see a bit of this.   It is similar to what my wife has been saying about me helping my daughter replace her car.  She thinks I'm somehow enabling. Daughter is a very hard worker,  dedicated to her job.   She is beginning to make her way in the world without a HS diploma.   It has been great to see her struggle but I do help when needed and I can.  So yeah,  I'm cosigning a loan to a kid I love.  Just having a job shows motivation and believe me it is nearly impossible to save money when you work for low wages in shitty jobs. 

In your case try to be respectful and tolerant.   Kids at 18 are really only half grown and they know even less about the world.  They don't understand money or work or people or anything in general.   They need adult help.   Shit he isn't even smart enough to drink a beer according to the government. 

People need mentors  --- it is the number one reason for people's success. 

Perhaps you could be a mentor?   Perhaps that relationship starts with the car process.    Perhaps you encourage him to attend classes in a field he would be successful in?  (HVAC?)  Perhaps it is a 20 year process with ups and downs and no guarantee of success.   Perhaps you have time in you life to understand this young man. 

Course you're not obligated to ----- but it appears that people that know you think that maybe you are a pretty good dude?
I was going to write this long-ish post about youngsters and how they think and need help and...

Well, Bob just did it.

thurston howell iv

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2015, 11:44:59 AM »
Pigeon:  I think you are misunderstanding...

Not my kid, not my money. Family is loaning the money.  Family and kid are in another state far away from me. NO one in the family knows anything about cars and the budget is around $2k.... Not sure about your own skills in finding a great used car for that sort of money but, I can tell you it's not easy.

As you can see, I cannot go car shopping with him. I can only provide guidance via phone and email and he doesn't like to read and is too busy to call. When we do talk he goes on and on about all the things he wants in a car which I listen to and appreciate. Unfortunately, his idea of what he wants and what he can afford are nowhere in the same universe... 

He does shop around and suggest cars but all of them are at the top of the budget with no room or consideration for possible repairs, not to mention registration, etc...  (I have mentioned this on multiple occasions)

Teaching lessons?  I hardly think so. I can barely get him to track on the same page with me. If we have a budget we need to factor in all of the potential costs.  As for resenting helping him, not a chance.  I'm a gear head through and through. I've been waiting for these kids to grow up so we could build cars together or so I could at least teach them the basics...  Although I'm far away, I make every effort to answer any call or text whenever they should need me as soon as possible- I am happy to provide guidance and advice- even just a sounding board, anything. (I just won't loan money).

Not sure how you perceive my frustration with jerking him around.

Zamboni

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2015, 02:14:42 PM »
Thank you for the additional information.

Obviously you are trying to help him out. I think continuing to talk through the pros and cons of potential car listings he sends you is the best you can do given the specifics of the situation.  If you like to look for cars (kind of sounds like you do), then go ahead and keep looking because it is fun for you. Maybe you will luck out and find something just right before he blows the money on a souped up money pit.  But don't be surprised if he ends up buying something you think is idiotic.  Good news is that you can't really be on the hook for fixing it since you are so far away.

He is not the only one who might need to learn a lesson here. Whichever relative loaned him $2K also needs to learn an important lesson. It seems like a simple one to me: do not provide auto loan money to someone who has already proven to be completely irresponsible about 1) keeping his job and 2) car care. Regardless of what words come out of his mouth, the kid really views this $2K from a family member as a gift, not a loan. The car will stop running, he will lose this job, and that will become his rationalization for not paying it back . . . ever.

Okay, I'll throw the velvet cloth back over my crystal ball now.

CaveDweller

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2015, 08:27:31 AM »
Agreed, thanks Thurston for this additional info. It seems like you really are doing your best to help your young relative.

Care to share with us a progress update?

LeRainDrop

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Re: Dealing with teenagers?
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2015, 12:05:04 PM »
Honestly, I think you seem like a pretty cool uncle.  I would have appreciated the sort of help you are offering.  I think where people may be getting the "kinda jerky" sense is this -- Kid has other relative tell him, "I will loan you the money.  Cool Uncle will help you find a car that you like that fits that budget."  Then Kid calls you for the help he was told to expect, and you're like, "What's your back-up plan?  What if you lose your job?  How about a bicycle?"

The Kid's expectations were set up poorly, and that's totally not your fault.  I think you were put in a pretty awkward position because the Kid was promised the dollars and the help, but he is getting his "dreams" pushed back and so you end up with the blame.  Not fair, but it appears to be how it was set up by others.  Please, I hope you are reading this thread still and give us an update on what happened!
« Last Edit: June 27, 2015, 12:07:28 PM by LeRainDrop »