You are here

What's the right consequence here?

ksmom14's picture

SS17 got a job about 9 months ago, it's been really great for him in that he's finally learned some responsibility for himself and it's helped him come out of his shell a bit. The downside is he's been working A LOT of hours, it's gotten up to a scheduled 30 hours a week, working about 6 days a week. DH kept telling him to make sure it wasn't interferring with his school work, as that is the priority, but SS has liked the bigger paychecks and has not reduced his hours. 

DH has checked SS's grades a few times, and they were terrible, even made SS skip some work shifts to finish the make up work for school. DH's final threat was "if you fail any classes you will have to quit the job". Tomorrow is the last day of finals for SS, so we'll see pretty soon here if he actually failed any classes.

Also, we recently just sold SS my old car, he still has about $2,000 left to pay it off, not to mention the next insurance payment for it will be due in August.

My question is, what's the right consequence in this situation? I understand making him quit the job since failing a class would show he hasn't been able to manage school and work, but maybe we should make him quit before the new school year instead of right away? It seems silly to make him quit a job that is needed to pay us for the car when it's just going to allow him to sit around all summer on XBOX. But also, if he does fail a class, I assume he'll be in summer school, which then would give him SOMETHING to do, but that's for a very small portion of the summer, just a few weeks a beleive and only a few hours a day.


Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

I wouldn't count on summer school for a 17 year old.

Your partner should not have made the threat. If you don't make him quit then it shows you don't follow through but as you pointed out making him quit during summer is useless.

The biggest issue I see is that your partner was aware that the boy was struggling and didn't truly do anything about it. He's waited till now when the problem could have been fixed all along. The boy is 17 which means school isn't that big of a deal. One year and he can drop out if he wants.

lieutenant_dad's picture

I think, if he is failing classes, that he needs to work 40 hours a week over the summer PLUS start paying you all rent/upkeep. Show him that the job he is forgoing education for will not stretch when it's the ONLY job he'll be able to get if he can't graduate school.

Then, once the school year starts, he can choose to cut down his hours and improve his schoolwork or work 40 hours PLUS go to school PLUS continue paying you rent.

Basically, if he wants to make adult decisions, they come with adult consequences. Show him what the consequences are for not finishing high school by making him pay out his piddly check to you all and see just how far it doesn't go.

tog redux's picture

Yes, I agree. Failing school means you are going to have to pay us rent and pay for your insurance for your car, and for your phone, too.  If you want to give up on school, get ready for the real world.

Don't make him quit his job, it's good that he's a hard worker. Just make sure he knows the extra money goes to bills, etc, if he's not going to focus on school, too. 

ndc's picture

If the hours on the job affected his grades, the consequence that makes sense is no working during the school year.  It seems easy enough to translate what your partner said to mean that. The other alternative is to make him quit now and take back the car if he can't make the payments. Having him not work AND keep the car makes no sense.  I would choose the former. And frankly, I would have imposed a consequence if his grades slipped, not just for failing.  But I think school is a teen's most important job and needs to take priority.

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

i kind of feel like you’ve set the kid up for failure on this. He’s 17. He hasn’t had years of experience to find a good work/life balance and he’s been thrown a lot of conflicting responsibilities covered in the pressure of a threat. 

On one hand he owes you 2k for his car and is paying his own fuel and car insurance, which can’t be cheap. I’m in my 40s and he has almost as much car debt as I do. If he doesn’t have a paycheck he will lose driving privileges because of insurance and you might repossess the vehicle.

On the other hand, he is in high school with all the crap work that comes with it. I worked full time in college but only had 3-4 teachers a semester giving me projects. They were also sensitive to the fact that they were teaching adults with jobs and children and whatever. It’s been my experience that high school teachers don’t give a rat’s butt what other teachers assign or what the students’ other responsibilities are.

one of the mistakes my dad made when I was young was telling me what needed to be done but not explaining how to do it. I did a lot of stumbling around in the dark until I finally figured stuff out. Looking back, I must have seemed like a complete idiot to most people. “How do I open a bank account?” “How do I get car insurance?” “What do you mean I need to talk to a counselor??” 

Perhaps it’s time for your DH to sit down with Jr and help him come up with a better time management plan that won’t burn the kid out.


Chmmy's picture

Good answer!! Show our kids how to adult!! My sons are so successful in so many ways but they graduated college and werent sure how to write a check. My SD20 can write checks(cant manage money very well though) but she cant figure out how to get through a semester of college without dropping or failing classes.

I felt bad when my soooo"smart" kids werent sure how to address an envelope. 

futurobrillante99's picture

Bingo!! We have a winner!!

Don't punish him for not knowing how to juggle both. TEACH him how to manage his time. TEACH him how to talk to his boss and let his boss know that he needs time to bring his grades up.

advice.only2's picture

I would be looking into other ways he can make up the classes and let him know that he needs to cut his hours down until school is out. Once summer starts he can work the max amount of hours the place will allow him...knowing that once school starts back up he needs to cut his hours back down again.

I see so many people on here who complain about their lazy skids who don't work, don't go to school, etc. I would say it's good he's working, it's teaching him way more than what he's going to ever learn from school in my honest opinion.

ESMOD's picture

I think that the "quitting job" is something that would be in effect during the school year.  Unless the kid is also "full time" in summer school.. he needs to go ahead and work through the summer.. BUT.. I would enforce saving of his money (even if it means that your DH manages his paychecks as a condition of him being employed... to pay for his car expenses during the school year.

Also.. maybe it's not "quit" job.. but he has to limit to 20 hours a week or something in order to be allowed to work.

ksmom14's picture

Yes, I agree with a lot of y'all in that DH should have done something BEFORE SS failed the classes, and I did mention this to DH many many times, but you know how well these fathers like to listen!

Also, I think a major issue here is that SS will come home from work at 930pm then go straight to the XBOX and stay on that until who knows when before going to bed, instead of doing homework. Again, this is something I've told DH is an issue, but he doesn't want to manage it so whatever, not my problem.

Very frustrating overall....I just hope DH stands by his word that he will not allow any skid to stay at our home unless they're doing something productive (going to school or working with a move out date set). DH doesn't seem to have much patience for people being lazy so I'm inclined to think he will actually kick SS out (knowing full well BM or even my MIL will surely take him in).

futurobrillante99's picture

It sounds like your DH needs to experience the consequences. This is a parenting fail on HIS part, not your SS.

Jlbfinch's picture

Summer school is the consequence for failing the classes, I don’t think anything else is needed.  I’d have an empathetic attitude.  “Oh man, you have to go to summer school?  That’s so unfortunate, what a drag.  I’m sure you’re feeling pretty bad about it since you’ve always been a pretty responsible student.  Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you manage your time so you don’t have to go through this again.”