The Teenage Brain Never Ceases to Amaze

SaveKidsFromThemselvesWe’ve been touting the praises of the Visa Buxx card for a while now.  We moved our kids over to the prepaid debit card as a way to more easily give them their allowance each month now that they had mastered their cash and envelopes budgeting system.  We decided it was the next step in teaching kids about money.

This month, we found another advantage to the Buxx card when our 15 year old son decided to spend his allowance buying an expensive gift for a friend –  we have the ability to shut the card off.


Let me be clear.  We normally allow our kids the right to spend – or misspend – their allowance as long as they are able to balance their budget at the end of the month, it’s the way we teach our kids to manage money.  At Christmas, when the same kid decided to buy all of his buddies individual presents based on things they really wanted, we didn’t say much.  This time, however, the price and scope of the present he was about to buy made us feel it was time to step in.   Not only was it too generous, it also likely would have made the other parents uncomfortable at the amount he planned to spend.

Teenage brains are not fully developed.  We all know a teen who has made a stupid decision or two.  I may have even made more than that in my day.   We also know this particular kid and the fact that he normally would never make such a rash decision.  So, after a brief discussion, Bret and I decided he was not spending his resources in a way that demonstrated good judgment and cut off access to his funds.

It didn’t even take a day for him to come to his senses.  He found a better way to come up with a gift (he’s going to make it), and realized that he’d almost blown his opportunity to use that money this summer to fix up an old truck he’s had his eye on.

Even though it’s important to let our kids occasionally fail and learn from their mistakes, it’s also important to know when we still need to step in and be parents to save our kids from themselves.

Thankfully, we don’t have to do it very often.

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  • I totally agree with you. Yes, we can let our kids make decisions for themselves and sometimes they do need to make mistakes in order for them to learn from them, but I also see that there is a need for parents sometimes to step in.