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justmakingthebest's picture

Ok ladies and gents, this one is about OSS19. For those who don't remember he is Austic, Bipolar, ADHD (like a mofo) and has general anxiety disorder. He is medicated and functions basically like what you would expect from a 12 yr old. He is a good kid and I have very few issues with him, he is a preteen in a tall body so that is where I keep my expectations. 

Over the last few weeks he has really been screwing up. DH is military and the other night he was on base for one of his 24 hr shifts so it was just me and SS. SS was staying up later than I was so I said will you please walk the dog before you go to bed and put her in her crate. Well, I was dying of thirst for some reason at 3 am so I got up to get a bottle of water. Every light in the house was on, THE BACK DOOR WAS OPEN- not just unlocked but OPEN. I was like 110 that day and I know over night stayed in the mid 90's. So my electric is going to be freaking awesome next month!

Then, he borrowed my car. Scratched the hell out of the front corner panel and didn't mention it to me until DH saw it a few days later. He admitted that he probably knew it happened but didn't check, but he heard "something scraping". We talked about omissions of truth and hiding things being versions of lies. I don't tolerate liars. 

He has been terrible about his chores lately- even after he "cleaned" the bathroom the sink was gross, didn't clean the toilet... etc., he is supposed to do the dishes at night but he isn't scraping plates so the food filter is full and gross and they have to be rewashed and that is if he even does it. I would say he is only doing them 2-3 times a week now. Just stupid things that are getting old. 

Well, last night takes the cake. I let him use my car to go to work (about 1/2 mile away) and he asked to go to the store on the way home (across the street from his work and no major roads). I said sure. Well, he walks in the door and goes "I'm pissed! There is a dent in your car!" Then he tosses me a little note with a guy's name, address and phone number. DH and I go look and sure enough my back corner panel is crushed! We assume that someone hit my parked car. Right? That's what any rational person would think??

Nope, after about an hour and me on the phone with my insurance, do we find out that he backed into someone. That person wasn't worried about it, they had a truck and it barely even made a scratch. So at least I won't have an accident claim. However, I still don't know the cost that it will be to fix. I am more mad about the deceitfulness behind the whole thing than the accident itself. 

DH is having SS pay for all damages, so it's not even the cost. However, ee do think that we have been far to easy on him. He doesn't have any "bills", he doesn't have any real responsibility (other than cleaning a bathroom once a month- all 3 kids rotate) and dishes at night. He has no pressure on him. We have been just way too easy on him.

Our big problem is his punnishment "currency", I know my kids but DH and even his ex could never find SS's. BUT I think I found it! Instead of taking away things, because he doesn't care- we are going to add things. Outside manual labor- He is going to clean the gutters, mow the lawn, I am going to get a truck load of mulch dropped in the driveway for him to dispurse. He is going to FEEL it, in the heat. Outside- the place he hates.

We are also going to start making him pay bills- he wasn't on our insurance because we didn't have a car or him and didn't know if he would get a license in our state (he can't pass the test- I know how stupid it was to let him drive but he did get a license from KS and where is goes is just down one back road and no stoplights, just a turn into the resturant he works at). However, he is going to be added and we are making him pay that difference in our auto policy. We  are also thinking, depending on how much that is going to cost, adding- Rent, food, utilities. We are going to put it in a savings account for him but he won't know that. 

He makes about $850 a month. So, to make him "feel" it, how much should we take? How much fun money should we leave him? 

Comments

Cbarton12's picture

Rule of thumb is rent should cost you no more than 30% of your income. So I'd use that rule of thumb. 

Maybe make him pay 1/3 of utilities or 1 utility bill. 

ITB2012's picture

Adding things instead of taking away. Are you both on board with the extra work it will be for you to keep after him? What if he doesn’t do the chore? 

Oooh, maybe he does chores to keep his “rent” low?

Personally I would find an apartment that is $1000 a month, and take him to see it. Then show him a spreadsheet of how much it would cost to live there with all the crap he has now. Show him a huge number then tell him that you’re only gonna charge him half (and that’s magically $850). But he can do chores to get that down to $600 ( but no less).

I knew someone who had a kid who had no currency. It wasn’t until he had to go live on his own and reality hit him square in the face that he got a clue and stepped up. 

Step lightly's picture

I like the idea of an optional chore credit, it incentivizes initiative. 

I would choose extra big chores for it though. My only issue with using chores as a bargaining chip is that it leads them to feel entitled for a reward for everyday work to keep a household running. 

justmakingthebest's picture

Maybe I can say that I will just use him instead of hiring a lawn service. I would be paying about $60 every other week to have my yard done, so I can give him that "credit". If he doesn't fulfill that obligation, he needs to pay up.

I don't give allowance for the very reason you stated. We all live in the house and kids shouldn't get money for doing basic family chores. However, for big things, like you said, I will give extra $$. 

justmakingthebest's picture

I like the idea of a chore credit too! Great call!!

DH will be on him for the chores, not me. I refuse to have the nagging relationship with him. DH is a great dad and will hold him to his responsibilities. I am just the one with the manual labor idea!

Step lightly's picture

First of all, I love this plan! Kudos to you guys for coming up with it! 

I think, especially since you plan to put the money in a secret savings account for him, you should follow “typical” budget guidelines... like rent, insurance and utilities should come in around 60% and he gets to use the remaining 40% for discretionary spending.

It will help give him the financial literacy to be independent as an adult. It’s a simple enough system that he won’t get bogged down with too much detail. And it’s scalable, so if he gets in the hang of it early he’ll already have good habits when he’s making more money.

justmakingthebest's picture

HAHA! She hasn't had any unsupervised visitation since he was 6 months old. I think she is currently in jail, but who knows. She went on to have 9 other kids and custody of none. She hasn't even seen him in 3 years. Missed his HS graduation because she stole a car, DUI, punched a cop and tried to escape!

BM is not an option. 

justmakingthebest's picture

SS is fine right where he is. He has disabilities but he his mine now. I am not shipping him off. We just need to figure out a good path for him to keep learning, growing and maturing. 

Also- before anyone jumps my butt for calling SS mine now. He is mine. His mom is a pos who hasn't seen him for over 3 years. She has never contributed anything to him other than poor genetics. We are considering Adult adoption for him right now and soon I think he really will be mine in heart and on paper. 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Numero Uno: stop letting him drive. He's 0 for 2, and your insurance rates are going to go up if you don't put a stop to this. Not everyone is cut out to operate a motor vehicle.

I love your idea of making him work outside doing manual labor. Can I borrow him? I need a few yards of mulch hauled and spred. 

tog redux's picture

Yeah, I wondered too - he doesn't seem mature enough to drive. Make him use his money for Uber/Lyft until he grows up some. 

justmakingthebest's picture

Sure! Free labor all around!!! LOL

We have nixed all driving for the time being- we are only adding him to the policy now so that he is covered in an emergency. I think he will probably take another round in driving school and driver improvment class for the classroom portion. 

futurobrillante99's picture

If he works that close to home, it sounds like a bike would be more appropriate.

justmakingthebest's picture

The only issue is he is starting a vocational school that is about 15 miles away. It is night school, which doesn't work for DH's and my schedule since we both have to be up really early (DH 4 am and I get up at 530). We were hoping he would be able to drive it if we prepped him with the driving path (pretty easy to get there and no highway) for when it starts in September but that is off the table now. 

We will drive him there but he will have to Uber home. We are considering a moped or something for work and his little runs that he likes to make to the grocery store or fast food but we have to discuss it more. 

Want2's picture

Great plan. Charge him for reminders too. A landlord sends eviction notices, not paying bills damages your credit. Constant reminders can be costly in the real world. 

justmakingthebest's picture

I like that. I can create a monthly statement for him to pay. If he is late, there are late charges...

I knew I could count on this group!! 

futurobrillante99's picture

He should not have more than 25 to 30% of his income for discretionary spending, and I only say that because he's a kid making $850 a month. For grownups like me, we do with much less. His bills and savings should consume at least 2/3 of his income.

futurobrillante99's picture

And if you charge him rent and save it, never let him know you are saving it and please don't give him the lump sum when he moves out. Have him save his own money and agree to match whatever he saves. He doesn't need to know you're matching it from the slush fund you set up to hold his rent payments. And I promise you that you'll have to cover expenses for him as he gets his start so keep the slush fund for his "emergencies" so your own budget is not impacted

justmakingthebest's picture

We think very much alike! 

Yes, we are saving all of his rent and bills- he will never know it. We would never give it to him outright, but if/when the time comes that he can live on his own (or a garage apartment like our realistic goal for him), he can use that for furnishing it, emergency funds, car repairs, etc. His money, but we hold the key. 

notsurehowtodeal's picture

I so admire you for your take on all of this. Your SS is lucky to have you in your life. It sounds like he is kind of going through a "teen attitude" phase a little late.

justmakingthebest's picture

He is a good one. He tries my patience some days but I love him dearly. 

It would be a different ball game if DH was a different kind of man but he lets me parent without being the bad guy. For the bad guy stuff, we are a team. We talk and have a plan and united front- for all the kids.

 

Harry's picture

How about one of those motor bikes,  low speed ones, or what big now, electric bike,  That will get him to school and back it good weather .   You have to figure out what means something to him, So thaking that away , or limiting that for punishment and reward system 

MoominMama's picture

Functions like a 12 year old but is behind the wheel of a car. Sounds crazy to me. I would not be allowing him to drive my car especially after what happened. He's hardly very responsible. But at least he works. I agree, should be 1/3 of his earnings plus he cleans up after himself, does yard work and dishes in turn.