Teenagers & young adults, tell me if this is ok?

This is the scenario. Chap is 15 years old, very independent, groomed to look after the house and younger siblings when needed to, taught the value of money, did not spend much on clothes, free music from the internet, not keen to get an iPod as birthday present even when we offered.

They (kids) have their angpow money in the safe. Only eldest and atm know how to open the safe. (robbers will kill me if they come) As you all know, teenagers aren’t speaking in the same wavelength as parents. He did say about getting a handphone and we go yeah, yeah, yeah. So, he probably took the yeah, yeah, yeah as ‘go ahead’.

We did give him one when he was younger but he lost it at the internet cafe (before we have broadband we did allow him to go). Actually, I prefer him to have a handphone because I feel ‘safer’ knowing I can nag him anytime I want. But he had decided not to get one after that because the school did not allow handphone (it will be confiscated).

So, when he camed back one day with a RM400 Nokia, we did these:
1) Lectured and showed disappointed face.
and after the initial cool down,

2) Father said he could have bought it cheaper from his vendor.
3) Mother said, “Cis, you should have told me earlier, then I give you my SE630 and I get to buy a new one. Here, enter your number for me. Then I can sms you to buy laksa and pohpiah whenever I want.”

The adult in me screamed : You should whack the daylight out of him.

The teenager in me shushed : It is time they start stepping out on their own, making mistakes and learning from it. You never set a money value limit to things for him. If he bought a RM40 thing, you wouldn’t have bothered right?

So, did I do right or wrong?

25 Replies to “Teenagers & young adults, tell me if this is ok?”

  1. i don’t think it’s a right or wrong issue here…but rather relationship concerns.

    it was a significant purchase, so he should have consulted you first instead of assuming that you’re okay with it.

    but then again, he may have thought the “yeah, yeah” means okay, and since he did have one before and also that you proposed the idea to him before, he probably thought it would be alright with you.

    there’s no easy answer to this one, but basically it boils down to respect. he should have told you before buying it since it involves quite a large amount.

    but the puzzling thing is why he decided to purchase one coz the school doesn’t allow it, which is strange, considering most schools do nowadays, since its a useful communications device and promotes safety and parent-child communication.

    one thing is certain though – at least he did respect the bounds and bought a reasoably priced one instead of slurpging thousands on the latest model. he exercised restrain that shows that he does think about the repercussions as well.

    IMHO, that’s something to be proud of, considering teenagers that age are generally rebellious.

  2. In fact, I’m also a money waster. I usually take my pocket money to spend on mamak stall, extra food… but when it comes to something expensice, I have to make a desicion. In fact, I was laughed by my friends for still being holding a Nokia 2100, second hand, and with the buttons which are difficult to press.

    Take it easy, when you buy a shirt from a pasar malam, mast of the woman will walk from the head to the tail, to see which is the cheapest. But if you buy a coat for your husband, you’ll go to a supermarket to get any one without bother the price. What I’m telling you is, when a person is buying something cheap, he’ll select for the most reasonable stuff. When he is buying something expensive, the price doesn’t mean important to him. Sometimes, as the Chinese says, “Cheap stuff is not a good stuff, Good stuff is not a cheap stuff. maybe he thinks that the model is suitable for him.

    Anyway, let him be lah. You won’t jaga him until will select him a wife, right?

  3. At least he told u that he bought it better than not telling u at all.
    I did so many things behind my parents’ back and not tell them so many things.
    Your son is a good son. He tells u stuff and he shares stuff with u.
    I’ve 2 handphones with me now and I didn’t tell my parents how much it costs.
    So just be consoled that he told u. Don’t scold him. In fact, encourage him to keep on telling and not keep any secrets from u and my husband.
    Because my mum always scold me whenever I did something wrong…I decided not tell anything to her…whether good things or bad things unless I know for sure she won’t shout at me.

  4. nyeheh! haha yeah there’s no right and wrong in this.. but to me, it’s better if you let them make mistakes and learn from em.. he already did it.. so no point telling what he should’ve done blablabla in a strict tone or sumtin..

    have u tot why he didn’t tell you guys about the fon?
    haha my school doesn’t allow handphones but ALOT of ppl do.. haha ;p even me.. lalalaa ;p just ask your son to be careful abit at school. i kena kantoi a few times adi :X

  5. I agree with sixth seal that in some way you should be proud. He is 15 anyway, and like many people here said, atleast he didn’t hide it from you.

    In fact, what I suggest you do is turn the things around and instead encourage him in the aspects of RESPONSIBILITIES. Tell him it’s ok to buy, but he should be responsible to upkeep and safeguard it. Many kids nowadays are too dependent on their parents to provide them with things and hence they don’t know how to be responsible towards it.

    That’s the way I see it.

  6. hahaha lilian, I like yr number 3.

    I genuinely think if he earned that money to get himself that hp than it’s OK (you know say like working part time). As long as you know they have to earn the money to get something extravagant.

    If he had spent the allowance that you had given him on that hp, then I guess he deserves the scolding. Because he could have used the money for other essentials, to last the month or whatever duration it is meant to last for.

  7. your “yeah, yeah” obviously is sending the wrong signal; either it’s a sign of approval, or in a mocking way: ‘ “loo-ghee-na-pi” getting a phone?’ you’ve obviously not been listening to him attentively. my 17 yr. old has been pestering us for a phone for the past 2 yrs. ~ peer-pressure: almost every friend has one. he finally got one last year with his ang-pow too, after i told him to do some research on the net, according to his needs (mp3 and java games function)and affordability, and later had him phone up the dealers to check on the market price of the make. then i brought him to my ‘distributor’ friend, and got a better deal. at least, he’s seen to be making his own decision without parental interference, while we merely guide him along. having a phone is one thing; better make sure he understands that you’re just an atm, not the governor of bank negara.

  8. My mom would’ve taken a broomstick and whacked me ’til I can’t stand anymore.

    In my opinion however, letting him know how you feel is probably the best thing to do. Not like yelling and scolding, but telling him that you feel disrespected and frustrated? Hopefully it won’t happen again if he at least understands the impact on you and your ATM.

    I was raised in a family where it was always wrong to voice your dissatisfaction with anything, parents and kids alike. Up ’til now my parents have never ever “talked” to me, only lecture. And they never tell me any reasoning, just that they are right and I am wrong. And I hate that the most.

  9. My 19yo cousin lost her handphone after 1 week studying in kL.

    I have the greatest faith your sons will turn out OK and God-fearing… Parenting is damn tough…

  10. haha…i dunno bout this…cos my dad’s the one who bought me phone (currently using nokia as well)…and I don’t even know how much it cost…=p But I guess u r doing the right thing. since he’s already bought it.. My parents probably kill me if I’d lose my phone. Hehe. RM400 for a phone, not bad. My friends are using phones tht are more than RM 1k… O_o

  11. You did right not to yell. He should be praised that he told you about it. If your hubby feels he can get cheaper , maybe talk to your son when the hooha dies down and show him how to shop and compare. Congratulations on bringing up such an honest teenager.
    2 things though 1) You were pretty vague about that “ok” for the phone ( I’m guilty there too)
    2)He obviously has authority and access over that amount of money for the phone so its implied he has the authority or permission to handle that money. unless you set ceratin rules before hand like he cannot spend more than X amount or not more than 50% in his piggy bank.
    I have a new teen..groan..

  12. Dear mom,

    Thanks for dropping by my blog. 🙂 You have got an interesting blog here. Will spend some time browsing through later. God bless =)

  13. Phew….thanks a lot people. I really, really appreciate that. Parenting teenagers is a whole new game to me. Each day, I am wondering if I am doing this right or what? Now, that I hear from so many of you, I guess I feel a little confident.

  14. I would’ve felt like crap if I got lectured like that but that is to be understood. You have taught them every value he will need in life and you can’t have a hold on him forever as one day he will need to make his own decisions and live with the consequences. Forking out RM400 for a phone is a lot and maybe you got mad because he didn’t consult you beforehand. Before this he has never acted as such so maybe he felt it was needed and justified as he has been thrift, besides many of us nowadays need a handphone. RM400 for one isn’t too much by many standards, my friends usually get those above RM1000. As for me I only buy the cheapest yet functional Nokia 3315, its the cheapest and also the most basic. So right or wrong, not the question. Initial outbursts are expected as we get emotional, try talking to him, ask him why he made the decision, make him justify the purchase and tell him your mind and your views and discuss it. Contrary to many beliefs we teenagers and young adults still like to talk to our parents and value the advise. Just my views ok. P.s. hand me downs especially handphones are nono hehe, after get stuck with a brick XD

  15. Why must show long face leh, its only a 400 dollar nokia what. No need to lecture him, if my mom lecture me because of this, i will be angry instead.

  16. For a 15-yr old, 3-digit value purchases aren’t really encouraged. Even I wasn’t so confident to spend anything over RM100 myself. Well, at least he was honest and didn’t make any effort to hide it from you. Of course, he deserves to be nagged for spending that much without consulting you [parents] first, that I agree.

    I mean, if he was my younger brother I would have nagged him myself. Mana tau if he spend like that and then kena con, what’s he going to do when he knows only so much about the business scenario?

    At least he’s showing signs of independence, which is always good. But at his age, you should let him make his own decisions, but insist that he consult you for advice. He needs encouragement and clear solid facts, good and bad. It’ll help a looooong way.

    Whatever you do or say, try not to imply that you’re making the decisions for him. Hinting is much better.

  17. Man need toys/achievements/yaddayadda to be contents 😉 It doesn’t matter how young or how old they are. And you know, buy your own stuff using own money is another milestone.

    I really admire how 5xMom and 5xDad handle the situation. RM400 sounds a lot but actually not, after inflation all the years. As longs as he is happy with the RM400 phone for 1 years, there is nothing to worry. If he show sign of keep changing phone every 3-5 months, you have a big problem.

    It is a good idea start teaching the importances of financial planning. It is never too early to do that.

  18. yee? your comment board ate my comment kah?
    I think what you do is right lar, anyway the phone already bought, say more also no use lor, if don’t want him to spend like this mah give more clear yes or no lor.

  19. I have changed the comments to go in a different direction. *sheesh* must change back because I myself am lost with the new direction.

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