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Do you clothe your teens?


Suzanne in ABQ
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As a parent who considers it my responsibility to house, feed, and clothe my children until they are grown, I find it interesting that some parents make their teenagers buy all their own clothes.  

 

We buy all our kids basic clothing, and give them the option to "upgrade" at their own expense.  Isn't it our job as parents to clothe our children?

 

I'm curious to hear the reasoning behind parents who require their kids to buy all their own clothes.  And, at what age do you transition?  

 

Our eldest dd is heading off to college in a few weeks.  At what point do we cut the clothing budget?  

 

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I don't pay my kids an allowance.  I don't want my kids working much in highschool and generally discourage babysitting type jobs. So, I buy my kids clothes, including my 19yo.

 

 

DD15 loves clothes like most teen girls, so for school clothes I give dd a set amount and she shops within her budget.  

DS19 couldn't care less about clothes and has be forced to shop.  I spend half of the amount on his clothes.

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I started working when I was 14yo and have had a job ever since. When I was in high school my mom still bought me clothes but I also bought additional clothes I wanted. When I went to college I bought my own clothes and have done so ever since. It was never a "Rule" of any sort... my parents just didn't have a lot of money so I helped out by buying my own clothes.

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I expect to replace basics through college. I suspect dd will stop asking for clothing though. She works and likes to be responsible like that. As it is at 16, she is full grown, I don't expect to replace much of anything.

 

For items that don't wear out so much, I have made a point to say "this is last winter coat I will buy." I ve done that mostly with ds because he had a habit of losing stuff. He's 19. Last winter he didn't seem to have gloves, but I didn't get him any. Eventually he found them.

 

I ask the kids once a year or so about clothing. They have give me what they've grown out of or otherwise can't wear before they new. That's a rule instituted when they were small.

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I'm sending Calvin off to university with all the clothes he will reasonably need for the first term or so.  Up to now he has received basic clothing as necessary and anything a bit special for birthday/Christmas.  From the time he goes to university, he will have to budget for his own clothes from his university loans.  If he wants something special, then birthday/Christmas presents are still an option.  Luckily, he likes shopping in charity shops for vintage pieces.

 

L

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We will fully support our kids financially until they graduate from college.  If they want to get a job and have money of their own then that's certainly fine with us, but it's not something we've encouraged.

 

As far as clothes -- we provide an adequate supply of basic clothes.  DS #1 has rather expensive tastes, so he pays for anything above what we consider reasonable.

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I think some parents feel this is a good area to start transitioning their kids to adult responsibilities.  I've never seen a teen dressed in rags because the parents (who could afford clothes) delegated that responsibility.  It makes sense to me because teen clothing is an area where whatever is "in style" tends to be ridiculously expensive.  And teens' wants tend to vary depending on how much they have to work/plan for things.  Who wants to argue about which jeans to buy?  If they want $100 jeans or shoes, fine and dandy, that's how many hours flipping burgers?  If they don't want to work for it, there's always an affordable basic option out there, or the Salvation Army, which kept me in jeans while I was a teen.  :)

 

My parents did buy my clothes in high school (I graduated at 16 though), but then I was never interested in "style."  As long as the other kids didn't openly laugh at me, I would wear whatever.  But if I had been fussy about clothes, I could see my parents saying "then go get a job and buy your own."  In college, my [modest] clothing budget came out of my student loans.

 

My kid sister had a regular after-school job starting at age 15.  Unlike me, she was not required to pay room and board out of her earnings.  She would save money and periodically buy herself rings - diamond and ruby, diamond and emerald, etc.  My parents kept her in [reasonable] clothes, and she was smart about being stylish without spending a ton.  That's all fine, but for parents whose budgets are tight, I could see asking teens to use their earnings toward some needs instead of just toward wants.

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Mine don't have jobs (limited transportation), but I buy the basics.

 

They get a small allowance that covers the extras and hobbies.

 

When they go to college (not far off), we'll reassess.  They are expected to work some and will pay for their own books and vehicle expenses. 

 

I paid for my own clothing in college, and paid almost all of my tuition, etc. for the last three years of school.  I was really tight and had just a few outfits.  

 

When I graduated I had almost nothing for work and very little for an apartment.  That's another time in life when they may need help.  

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From about 13 I was given an amount a week to buy clothes, toiletries etc. I think it was $12 which in 1980's NZ bought about half of the cheapest sweatshirt or jeans available. I could get more clothes for $20 now due to market deregulation. My parents bought my school uniform and books and may have given me some extra to help with presents.

 

Not sure i would do things that way.

 

But i would make sure my teens didn't go about unclothed.

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DS 17 just bought a pair of boots on ebay that are usually over $200 for less than $100.  He is working full time and wanted them, so he bought them.

 

If he was not working, he would not have even asked us for them, and if he did, he would have offered to do extra work around the yard and house to earn them.

I still buy him clothes and shoes.

 

 

DD14 is another ball of wax! She loves to shop and loves brand names.  I take her 2-3 times a year to Plato's Closet.

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I don't know of many (in fact, probably none) parents who make their teens buy all their own clothes.  Parents of teens that I know still buy the essentials for their teens;  it's the "extras" where they differ.  I think most parents generally encourage their teens to buy the extras if they can -- things they'd like but certainly don't need.  As far as how much and when, it all depends on a number of circumstances.

 

Our kids have all had part-time jobs since about age 14 or 15 and have enjoyed the independence of buying their own "extra" items when they can.  I like that they have learned to save for something they really want, and they enjoy shopping at thrift stores.  Sometimes for special occasions I'll help out, or if I see a good sale on something that strikes my fancy.  I do that even for my grown up and married daughter because she is still a full-time university student and they are living on a very tight budget.

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Most people I know whose kids buy their own clothes have jobs.  Or, the parents give an allowance adequate to cover clothing and have their kids buy it on their own.  In the latter case, I'd say the parents are still buying the clothes but helping the kids learn to spend wisely, etc.  I think that's a good idea that I should implement someday.  :-)

 

My son doesn't have a source of income; my daughter does some babysitting so she has extra money.  The boy's clothing cost is very low and he couldn't care less about style, so I buy his clothes.  I also buy  my daughter's basics and she and I will negotiate beyond that.  Sometimes I'll split the cost of, say, a cute dress that I think is too expensive.  So, if something costs $15 and I would spend $10 on it, she'll pony up the $5 or pass it by.  I do spend more on her than on him but I think that's typical of a girl anyway.

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We buy everything until about grade 11.  By then they're mostly done growing and can wear some things such as coats and boots multiple years.  Then we give a set amount ($500) yearly so they can purchase their own clothes through high school.  And they sometimes get extras such as the extra dress shirts they needed for a trip this week.  The guys are not fussy about their clothes.

 

In university, dd was generally responsible for her own clothes, but we sometimes would get her items.

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I buy my kids their clothes.  My oldest has started buying some things on her own, but that's been her choice.  I still get her stuff.  Mostly I've been buying the pricer things.  She's a piano/vocal major and needs performance dresses and shoes.  

 

I've had friends give their kids a set budget for clothes; handing them the money and telling them that they are now responsible to purchase their own stuff.  But that's so the kids learn how to budget and how to make good choices.

 

I also know a few families where the kids do work and purchase their own clothes, but that is out of necessity.  The parents would love to be able to buy the child whatever he/she needs but is honestly unable to do so.  

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I buy a lot of their clothes (well all of ds'). Dd wasn't really into fashion until the last year or two. She has quite a bit of money given to her every year by family members. As she started wanting more than is necessary, I felt she should be buying some of it herself. I'll buy socks, underwear, a few pants, shirts, etc., a year. I just bought her 2 pair of pants yesterday, but they were at Walmart and not high priced.

 

 

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I pay for my kids' clothing and will for a long time.  I have one son with some special needs so I will care for him as long as he needs it.  I do expect him to be able to become independent at some point.

 

Now, they get what they get when it comes to clothing.......want $200 Jordan shoes?  Well, I will provide you with $30 Nikes on sale, if you would like to be picky, then yes, you can buy your own shoes.  Clothing may be thrift store clothing, but they will be clothed!

 

Our home is also always open if they need it.  With that comes food, toiletries, and basic care.

 

 

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Starting with ninth grade, we "give" our teens a set amount of money quarterly they can use to buy clothes. We do buy some basics outside that----undies, socks, school uniforms for the older two, special clothing like Scout uniforms and leotards, athletic shoes, one pair dress shoes per season.

 

If the teen wants to spend more money than the clothing allowance, he/she has to use his/her own money.

 

We will continue this through college graduation.

 

I put "give" in quotes because I keep a running tally of the spending in my planner. If a teen wishes to shop without me or dh, I will give him/her some cash but never the whole amount. My parents used to keep a running tally of our clothing allowance (this was back in the 80s) on their fridge. My sisters and I called it "refrigerator money"---while shopping, we'd say "do I have enough refrigerator money for this?" :lol:

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I am going to respond with a slightly different perspective. My son, recent college grad, is an archaeologist. The most important thing in his wardrobe is his pair of composite toe, waterproof boots. He has tried (and killed) a variety of brands. The best boots are expensive. I plan on buying them for him until he is truly established in his field. I don't want him to compromise for the sake of his budget.

 

That said, my minimalist kid has never spent much on clothes.

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I am going to respond with a slightly different perspective. My son, recent college grad, is an archaeologist. The most important thing in his wardrobe is his pair of composite toe, waterproof boots. He has tried (and killed) a variety of brands. The best boots are expensive. I plan on buying them for him until he is truly established in his field. I don't want him to compromise for the sake of his budget.

 

Yes, I remember being asked to speak at a multi-day international conference with a fancy reception within my first 4 months of employment.  I owned an interview suit, and a couple of nice shirts and slacks that I wore to work, not much else.  I was in a panic because I didn't have much money and was obviously expected to dress better than I could afford.

 

Thankfully an older friend took me on a thrift shop trip, and I bought 2 more suits and an outfit that worked for the reception.  I still remember that because I had only just met her a few months earlier, and she was so kind to help me figure it out.  

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In high school, we buy our kids the basics -- a couple of outfits each season, replace what's worn out, etc. So far, in college they've all started buying their own clothes, not because we've required them to, but just because they want to have more stylish clothes.  We still always give them clothes as gifts for Christmas and birthdays.

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In my house growing up  we all went to work at 14/15 years old it is just what we did.  My sisters and I did buy our own clothes, school lunches, cars, insurance and if cell phones existed back then we would have bought those also.

 

 

DH and I are in completely different situations than my parents and I do buy my kids all their clothes through high school.  

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We have a clothing budget that covers the basics. After that they are free to spend their own money on clothes they want.

 

They learned early that they could have 3 plain shirts for the price of that designer shirt. They got to choose if they really wanted that designer shirt or more clothes to get through the week before doing laundry.

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We get all our "kids" clothes for Christmas and birthdays. The guys get nicer stuff they wouldn't ordinarily buy. Dd gets a few outfits.

 

She gets clothes all year. Starting next year, we will probably give her a clothing allowance (she doesn't work yet or get any other type of allowance), in order to help her learn to budget.

 

When ds was without a permanent residence, having left ours, he often bought clothes because he didn't have a place to wash any. It's a bit of a trigger for me to think about him and clothes. Now he's in a much, much better place, in all manner of speaking, Whenever I answer these "teen" questions, it's just so weird to think back thru all we went thru.

 

Eldest ds is a Walmart shopper. HIs job lets him wear jeans and Ts, and he takes full advantage. When he and my dd were out shopping with me a couple of years ago, she wanted some expensive sneakers (expensive to us). I told her to thank her brother for being happy with $5 Ts, so she could have $50 shoes. Made an impression on her.

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I buy the dc clothing until they start college. When ds1 started last year we set aside a portion of our clothing budget for him; now he's responsible for buying his own clothes. It's not a lot but should cover basics. He's not very interested in being stylish, just clean and neat.

 

 

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Guest inoubliable

I bought clothes for myself as a teen. To go with the clothes my parents bought me. 

I expect to provide basics for my children until they can. I can't imagine having an age or life event as a cut off. I guess there is no hard and fast rule for me. 

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My parents gave me a "clothing allowance" in high school and that worked out really well--  I could shop for deals and have a lot.  I could buy a few really expensive things, then have no money left (lessons learned there).  I could hoard the money and save up for something else :) and not complain about my ratty clothes.

 

It was a huge learning experience as I got ready to head off into financial independence.  Their allowance was enough to have a decent nice wardrobe-maybe $50-$75/month? can't remember--but I would have to save it to have a chunk for back-to-school and things like shoes.

 

My older sister worked a lot in high school and there were some negative effects, so my parents didn't like me to work during the school year in high school, so they covered my clothes and I also got a "regular" allowance.

 

I'll do something similar with my boys (although our budget is much tighter than my parents and there will be more thrift shopping, ha! and a much lower dollar amount, even 30 years later)

 

B

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We pay for ds' clothes as we did for his older brother at this age. We buy basics, not designer clothes. If he wants something special he has to buy it with his money.

 

Ds has a summer job and has been putting some of the money in savings while using some to buy things he's been wanting. He bought a new electric guitar last week. This job isn't going to last and I see no reason why he shouldn't use the money for some fun things while he can. He's being responsible and saving some so the lessons we've taught him over the years have sunk in. 

 

He's going to have a lifetime of expenses and this is that sweet time when he can use his money to buy what he wants rather than what he needs. He knows the difference and that's what matters to me. 

 

 

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DD's dad and I bought all clothing until dd got a job during her first year of college.  She sometimes had some gift money that she chose to spend on clothes, but until she got a job, she had no means to buy her own clothing.  I still buy her clothes here and there, as does her dad, as part of supporting her, as her job is part-time and limited income.  She is a thrifty girl and does not mind cheap or used clothing, though I usually take her to Old Navy and haunt the clearance racks. She is also pretty happy shopping in my closet.  Dd is not a huge clothes horse.  She has always been pretty happy with a few things she likes.  I have far more clothing than she does, even accounting for the professional clothes in my closet.

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In high school, I paid for my kids clothes.

In college, my kids have paid for their own clothes - DS22's uniforms came out of his pay of course. DD19 has always had jobs on winter and summer breaks and buys what she wants.

 

I plan to send DS18 off to college this fall with a full set of clothes. After that, he will need to earn money for his own, though I will certainly do birthday/holiday gifts for special items. Oh, and socks..... I buy socks in bulk a few times a year on sale. Nothing like a Sock Care package from home!

 

By contrast, when I was in high school, I bought all my own clothes. I started working 30-40 hours a week as a freshman and used that money to buy what I needed, including clothes and gas. I didn't want my high schoolers to have to work quite that hard (school is more important).

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I must be the odd one out!  Our kids all started part time jobs at 14, and from then were required to buy their own clothes.  When they earned over a certain amount they were required to pay some board.

 

We are by no means a struggling family, we are self employed and have no debt.  Our point of doing this was not to be cheap, stingy, or because we couldn't afford it, but it was to encourage independence and to learn life skills which have stood them in good stead ever since. 

 

All at 21, 20, and 18 are very savvy people, oldest two are self employed and doing well, youngest is at university, and also about to set up a part-time remedial massage business, so will also be self employed while studying.  All will probably be building their first investment homes in the next six months.  Of course we will be helping by using our equity to provide a deposit for them, but it won't be a cash handout. 

 

We have helped them out in the past by paying an odd unexpected bill when they are stuck, but they always pay us back as soon as they can.  

 

We help the kids out in many ways, but rarely financially.  I just don't think it does any favours to hand out money when they could pay for things themselves.  But they all know that when I go shopping with them, I will treat them to something they see that they like. :laugh:

 

I see our responsibility as parents to give our kids the tools to survive and thrive in life, and we couldn't see that happening if we provided everything for them beyond the age where it was reasonable to expect they were capable of beginning to do that for themselves.  

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My best friend and her brother were always given a clothing budget from the time they were in high school.  It was enough for the basics, but beyond that, they had to use their own money.  I actually think that's a good idea to help kids learn to budget.

 

My parents bought pretty much everything through college.

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I will pay for my kids' clothing until they have graduated from college or have a full-time job, if they forego college.

 

DD18 just got her first job. She also plans to start college in January. I'll be buying her clothes for work this afternoon. She's still my child, still lives in my house, and I'm still financially responsible for her. I have no qualms with that at all.

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My parents would give me a set amount to use for basic clothing in high school and I would pay above and beyond.  Most of the teens I know "paying" for their own clothing have something going like that, where there parents give or they earn at home somehow for their clothing.  Or possibly they have an exceptionally good job for a teen.  That would be exceedingly difficult in my area right now. I think it's good to give teens budgeting practice.  So I guess I don't feel like that is cutting kids loose by any stretch.  I doubt most parents would allow their kids to go naked if it came down to it. 

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You know, my first thought was that of course, duh, who doesn't give their kids clothes or some sort of clothes allowance...  but then I realized, I think outside of birthday/Christmas gifts my parents stopping clothing me around age 15.  So...  Huh.  I did kinda dress in all ratty junk...  but it's hard to distinguish if that was because I didn't have enough money for clothes or because grunge was really hip.

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I can see any number of ways this could play out in a family, depending on budgets and values.

 

When I was 16 my mother decided she was done buying clothes.  And really, it made sense.  I was full grown.  There was no reason on earth that I could 't take care of my stuff and make it last.  As someone no longer growing, the only reason that my clothes should need to be replaced annually was if I was tearing them up.  Also, I was working, so there was no reason that I should have money to spend while she was replacing my clothes if I was tearing them up.

 

With my own 15 year old, I still buy all of his clothes, but I do have expectations of how long they will last.  He doesn't work regularly, but he does some odd jobs and has some money.  If he tears something up needlessly, I make him replace it (just this week he stupidly wore a brand new pair of shorts while painting, if he doesn't get the paint out, I will make him replace them).  But I currently replace everything that is outgrown or worn out (from regular wear).

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My parents bought the basics, if I wanted something that was not from Walmart or Kmart, or a more expensive specific brand then I had to buy it myself. Ex. I like RSVP pens and 5-star notebooks because it wasn't the basic, cheap stuff I had to buy them myself (though my parents did give me the cost of the basic cheap stuff to go towards the more expensive that I wanted)

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He's going to have a lifetime of expenses and this is that sweet time when he can use his money to buy what he wants rather than what he needs. He knows the difference and that's what matters to me. 

 

This got me thinking.  I actually think that when my 15yo is a little older I will be requiring him to pay more, as he can, because I don't want him to have that "sweet time".  I see lots of problems with very young people becoming accustomed to a certain standard of living that they haven't really earned, and this being the path to consumer debt.  The young are supposed to struggle to attain their living.  That struggle teaches them wisdom and restraint.  It also gives them true self respect, the kind that can only be earned.

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Basics were always provided by us until ds moved out, however, if he wanted anything special, he paid for it. Something like:

"Son, you ripped your last pair of Jeans. Let's go to "Cheap Jeans" and get a new pair."
"Mom, I want the fancy pair from "Expensive Fancy Jeans".

"Okay, Son, then I give you what I would have spent at the "Cheap Jeans" place and you make up the difference."

 

We never had problems with this arrangement. Don't know how it would have worked with daughters.

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Not exactly the same, but when I was 14 I was sick of wearing glasses.  My glasses broke and I told my mom I wanted contacts.  My mom said she would foot the bill up to the amount a pair of glasses would cost, and the difference was up to me.  This made perfect sense to me.  I paid my share out of paper route and babysitting money.

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Basics were always provided by us until ds moved out, however, if he wanted anything special, he paid for it. Something like:

"Son, you ripped your last pair of Jeans. Let's go to "Cheap Jeans" and get a new pair."

"Mom, I want the fancy pair from "Expensive Fancy Jeans".

"Okay, Son, then I give you what I would have spent at the "Cheap Jeans" place and you make up the difference."

 

We never had problems with this arrangement. Don't know how it would have worked with daughters.

 

This is pretty much how we handle it with our daughter.  Last summer, dd16 needed a new swimsuit.  I went to the online swim store and found a yellow/green Speedo one piece on sale.  She didn't like the pattern/colors, and wanted the blue one with the lightning print (otherwise identical).  I told her I would pay the on-sale price of the yellow/green suit, and she could pay the extra $20 if the blue lightning was that important to her.  She chose to settle for the yellow/green suit, and has been happy with it for two seasons.  She hates spending money.  :)

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After my girls changed shape at puberty CLARIFICATION: we bought them a new set of clothes to fit their new figures. Then we sat down and figured out about what we spend on clothes for them every year.  We  added in what we give them for allowances. We added what we typically spend on the them for toiletries and cosmetics.  Then we divided that by 24 (or twice a month.) That's what they got, in cash, every two weeks.  If they wanted to spend more than that they had to earn it from outside the house with babysitting, washing cars, painting fences, etc. When they had done that responsibly for about 6 months, then we got them debit cards linked to our account and automatically transferred that amount twice a month.  Their debt cards were set up to not work if they had insufficient funds.  It's worked out beautifully for us for about 5 years now.

I don't have to say, "I think that's too much to spend on jeans."  or "How much use are you really going to get out of sweater here in AZ?"  They make their own decisions and live with the consequences. They like it.  We like it.

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When I was about 14, my mother started giving me a monthly allowance. It was to cover basically everything I needed outside of home. Clothes, school lunches (or I could make my own), entertainment, etc. If I wanted more, it was up to me to earn it. If I used less, it was mine to keep. It worked great because I really wanted the freedom to pick my own clothes. I could get the expensive sweater if I wanted; I just had to save money elsewhere. (On the other hand, I just stopped eating lunch. Not really a healthy decision!)

 

I always assumed I would do something similar with ds but so far he has absolutely zero interest in clothes. As it is I have to drag him to the store. If I left it up to him at this point, I don't think he would ever buy clothes.

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My original thought is clothed is better than nekkid.

 

Deeper reflection, and I'm sure many will disagree, but our oldest is 18.  We would certainly allow (her choice) her to get a job, but she's more valuable to me at home, and I mean that in a fiscal sense as well.  She tutors our next two in Barton (saving me time and/or $$), she gives free piano lessons, and she got a full academic scholarship that we really want her to study and KEEP!  It paid for her tuition, her books, and some of her upcoming gas expenses.  So, being frank, her time spent home helping and studying is more valuable than a  part time minimum wage job so she can buy clothes.  Nope, we pay for the car she drives, the insurance, the phone, the clothes, everything.  Now, that said, she is possibly the LEAST demanding human ever put on this earth.  She was gifted a fair bit for graduation from family and she hasn't really bought herself a thing except maybe a book or two and her laptop for college.   But, it would be a different deal entirely if I had a kiddo living at home, working, and not going to school, or even going to school but not studying the way they ought.

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Yes, I clothe my almost 13 year old. Yes, we plan to continue to clothe her - perhaps well into her adulthood, assuming she is attending college full time, or paying off loans, etc.

 

My parents clothed me until into my 20's. Although I could buy my own clothes at that time, shopping for me was something my stepmother enjoyed, lol.

 

I have never, before this board, heard of parents making their teenagers buy their own clothing. Never.

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