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My ds14 (will be 15 this summer-my oldest) is umpiring this year. He plays baseball and loves all things baseball except umpiring. He thinks coaches and parents yell too much. However, he makes $50 a game and most games are right around 2 hours. I told him he needs to do 20 games this summer and make $1000 to put in savings for a car or college or something.

He keeps saying it isn’t worth the money and he wants to quit. He thinks he will get scholarships to college and won’t really want a car. So, how to talk to this kid, lol. He really is a good reasonable kid most of the time. Should I maybe tell him he is going to start paying for his new baseball equipment and fees? Or just say I’m the parent and you will umpire? 

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There are literally no other options for him to earn money, it's umpire or nothing? And there's no compromise you can make where, say, he does more work at home so you or your husband can earn more money at your jobs?

I think "The work environment is extremely unpleasant" is a plenty good reason to find another source of income, especially since, I presume, he can't simply eject misbehaving parents and coaches from the premises.

 

Edited by Tanaqui
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I don't know. My teens haven't started paid work before age 16. If he hates it, I don't think I would require him to do it. And if I did require it, I think 20 games sounds like a lot of time doing something he dislikes.

I have required some financial things of my older daughter -- she has to put earnings into a Roth IRA, for example. So I don't think having requirements are wrong. Maybe you could brainstorm with him some other ways to make money. Some fast food places around us will hire under age 16. Or he could make money mowing lawns.

Saving $1000 is a fabulous goal, but hopefully it could happen in a way that he would find more pleasant and that would not give him reason to resent you.

Edited by Storygirl
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Personally, I would never tell a teen that he or she had to take a particular job.  I especially would not tell them they had to take a job and had to use the money in a way that I decided.  

If there were items that I did not want to pay for, I would say that I would not pay for them, and if he wants them that he needs to get a job to pay for them.  Or, if I wanted to encourage work and savings, I would offer something like, "If you work and save the money for a car, I will match 50cents for each dollar you save."  Or, "If you work and save money for a car, when it comes to buy a car, will match what you have by 25%."  But, I would know full well that I was offering encouragement-but the child could take or leave the offer.  

If the reason I wanted a child to work was to develop leadership skills, responsibiilty, make contacts for future referecnes, or some other reason, I would say that they child must find a job or volunteer X number of hours (that would also be gaining the same nonpecuniary benefits).  But, I would not say exactly what the job/volunteer opportunity must be.  

 

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So, you want him to umpire and save the money but he really doesn’t like umpiring and doesn’t care about the money?  Is that right?

Why do you want him to umpire?  I think we would have a discussion revolving around that, and I’d explain why I thought this was an important life choice.  

Or if you just want him to work, then I’d help him figure out how to look for a job that he likes. Or a volunteer opportunity.

I taught horseback riding at 14, but I didn’t require either of our older boys to work at 14.  My thing was because I wanted more time at the stable with friends, and less time in our own barn, ha, not because of money or a parental push.  But in our case, with our kids, I’m not pushing for early jobs.  But I realize that’s a privilege, that we don’t need the extra income.  If the income is needed to pay for his baseball, then I’d help him find something he likes.

YMMV

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I think your reasoning is faulty, and a fourteen year old will certainly notice.  He has to work to accumulate savings, but if he doesn’t want to then you’ll make him pay for things so that he has to work but still doesn’t accumulate savings. 
 

What’s your actual goal here?

 

 

 

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My DH wouldn’t want to put up with the screaming overbearing parents. I wouldn’t subject a 14 year old to it. 

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Would he be more enthusiastic if you weren’t expecting him it save it?  My 14 has been doing some work and he’s fairly keen even though it’s hard work.  But I didn’t make him save for anything I did encourage him to think about dividing up his money into spend and save and he basically did that.  He’s spent the first bit on a couple of things he wanted then been saving for a phone (which he needs due to the unpredictable work hours).  I have also pointed out the benefits of having people to provide a reference for him as well seeing as he doesn’t have school teachers. 
 

Having said that I don’t think he’d deal well with a conflict situation type job like umpiring very well.  Is there anything else available for you?

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Unless there was some emergency, I would not require a kid that age to seek out or hold a job.

(I would be willing to stop buying things certain for him if they were difficult to afford, or if I didn't think they were worth the cost, or if I wasn't supportive of the activity -- but at that point, I would also need be okay with him not buying them either. Are you hoping that he doesn't continue in baseball? Are the baseball expenses getting to be too much for your family? Those would be fine reasons to shift the burden of payment to a teen, I think.)

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7 minutes ago, Katy said:

My DH wouldn’t want to put up with the screaming overbearing parents. I wouldn’t subject a 14 year old to it. 

Exactly this. That is a tough job that involves a lot of abuse from adults behaving badly. Dh and I have both coached in the past, and based on our experience,  I would never want my 14 y.o. kid to be an ump.

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As an adult would you take a job where verbal abuse is the norm?   Why do you want your child to take this job?

I am all for teens saving money to help pay for college, but not 100% of earnings.  Have you considered that good grades and volunteering have the potential to earn him far more money in scholarships and merit aid than a summer job at age 15?  If your view is that he must work, at least let him choose the job.

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I have been around baseball a lot on all different levels and I would never expect (or want) my 14 yo to umpire. 20 games sounds like a lot to me so I can only imagine how much it sounds like to a 14 yo.

At one point my then 17 yo was looking into umpiring and I wasn’t crazy about it even at 17. 

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I think it sounds awesome for a kid that age to earn that much and save for the future, so I would probably feel similar to you in wanting him to continue.

On the other hand, I can’t imagine doing such a job...the pressure and stress from contentious parents and coaches would really bother me. So if he has said as much, I think he has a right to not continue.

At that age, our teens are either mowing a few lawns a week or babysitting to save money. I’d say he needed to spend a specific number of hours either working or volunteering....money may not be the main purpose, but in my mind the goal is having a responsibility, commitment, using time wisely, etc.

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Can't help but chime in. 

Long story short, our future son-in-law was a baseball umpire at 20 years old.
When I learned that, my respect for him grew so quickly that I knew he could handle being our daughter's husband.

He is an EXPERT at negotiations, at managing a bunch of engineers (now, at 30yo), even dealing kindly with me.  😉

But I would NEVER want to be an umpire myself.  It's so much more than knowing the rules, calling balls/strikes.

It's tough.  I would describe it as an adult job, even for T-ball. 
I would likely be the one telling your son to turn down the job!  😉

I actually think that his age would be a quick disadvantage, as the angry coaches & parents will be tempted to disparage his decisions.

Edited by Beth S
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8 minutes ago, alisoncooks said:

I wouldn't force it but I'd point out that the rate of pay is very high compared to other jobs he's likely to get. I'm college educated and I don't make $50/hr. 

$50 per game, not per hour.

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I don't think this is the way to go. 

Requiring teen to find some work to pay for extras? Ok by me. Basically what I (empathetically) suggested to ds from that age when he wanted 'stuff'. 

But that job should be something they are happy to do - or at least willing to do. 

14 is also too far away from college, imo, for the saving goal to be meaningful. At that age, I think the habit of saving is best motivated by a shorter term goal - saving for a piece of coveted tech or fashion or experience. It needs to be a reachable goal that reinforces utility of the habit through happy experience. 

Adding my voice to the chorus of those who wouldn't want their 14 yr old umpiring. That's a 16yr + job, I reckon. 

 

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My DS got his first job at the age of 15.  With his first few paychecks he saved a little and spent a little and had a grand time buying all the things that he'd been wanting for so long, and then he buckled down and started saving in earnest.  A year later he had enough to pay cash for his first car.  But I never once told him that he had to save for anything.  That was all him.  

He loves his job though, and when customers are rude to him (yes, he's been close to tears several times due to rude people) there is always someone that he can call on to take over the situation.  Who is overseeing an umpire? I just see so many ways that angry parents vs. 14 year old ump can go wrong.  It would make me very nervous to let my kid do that even if he wanted to. Teenagers should not have to deal with grown adults berating them for anything.  I certainly would not want my DS taking a job as an umpire for baseball.  He sounds like a smart kid, and if it's important to you that he have some kind of income, I would help him to find something else that he can do where he isn't subject to all that toxicity.  More and more places will hire 14 and 15 year olds these days, and if not, maybe there's something else he can do.  DS used to pet-sit from time to time and people always paid very handsomly for that!

Edited by Lady Marmalade
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Being a ref/umpire is a really hard job for anyone much less a teen who is still learning how to deal with different people, and he is only 15. I tried to be a referee for youth soccer when I was 16 and I lasted 2 games. 

I think a more reasonable expectation is that he needs to save half of whatever he earns. If your family really needs for h8m to be making a set amount of money at his age, I would help him find a less stressful job.

 

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you are both right.

 

There is a reason that youth sports has started paying people in the first place.  Its because there aren't enough people volunteering to deal with that crap for no pay.

 

ALLLLLLLlllll youth activities are that way.  Anyone who gets paid to officiate is lucky because the group they are with takes in enough to pay them.  In general the whole purpose of such a job is NOT about money....it's about supporting the youth league.  Such awful nasty adults have always and will always exist.   It's not right....but it's fact.

 

You are right to require your child to do a job "in the trenches" as it were.  If it wasn't youth sports, it would be McDs drive thru, where some person would cuss him out because it was 10:42 and not 10:29 when the menu switches from breakfast to lunch (BTDT) Or it would be at Menards where people blow smoke in your face at the contractor desk in spite of the no smoking sign (dd25 BTDT)   Or working at Dollar Tree where someone buying fake flower stems at a dollar a pop wants to argue about a 50% off sticker that was obviously in the wrong spot (witnessed when I was grocery shopping Friday. 

 

IOW....people who work with the public have to deal with butt nuggets.  It's a fact of life.  And requiring your child work a job where he learns that experience isn't an awful thing.

 

Having said that...if your child can find a way to work "smarter rather than harder" and can earn the money without having to deal with butt nuggets....then I would say your child has had a successful economics course.  But....he's not likely to get scholarships and depending on location, he will probably wish he had a car.  So in those regards....how much do you want him to learn about things being hard, vs how much do you want to make them less hard.

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My ds works in a grocery store. They hire 15 yos as baggers and treat them very age appropriately. It’s a good first job. Doesn’t pay as well as umpiring of course but it is more age appropriate. 
 

You said this your oldest child. We sometimes have a tendency to see our oldest children as older and more mature than they really are. Then we go in the opposite direction and can baby the baby of the family more than necessary. I suspect a lot of people telling you that 15 is too young for this have older kids now and see 15 yos as really young for that setting. My oldest is 22 now and I sometimes cringe at what I expected from him. Though he is the one I still didn’t want umping at almost 18. 

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The only way I would have allowed one of our boys to umpire at that age would have been if we were starving and needed the money for food. Otherwise--no way, no how. DH coached some, both boys played, all our nephews played. We've spent many hundreds of hours at ball fields. Just . . . no. Too many nutter coaches and parents.

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1 minute ago, happysmileylady said:

There is a reason that youth sports has started paying people in the first place.  Its because there aren't enough people volunteering to deal with that crap for no pay.

There has been a (paid) ref/ump shortage in our area for the past 10 years or so. Very few people want the job anymore because of the parents. 

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I would say the difference between dealing with the public in a fast food place or store is that the interaction is unlikely to last an hour. If a rude customer berates a 15 yo for an hour in another setting a manager will step in. And it is unlikely to have an entire group of people berating the lone drive thru guy.

The scenario that scared me about my own ds umpiring was being physically confronted post game or having parents waiting for him at his car. Because I have seen that. 

Edited by teachermom2834
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4 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

I would say the difference between dealing with the public in a fast food place or store is that the interaction is unlikely to last an hour. If a rude customer berates a 15 yo for an hour in another setting a manager will step in. And it is unlikely to have an entire group of people berating the lone drive thru guy.

The scenario that’s scared me about my own ds umpiring was being physically confronted post game or having parents waiting for him at his car. Because I have seen that. 

Individually, you are correct....

collectively....dang it that hour between 10am and 11am.......yeah it was a thing lol.

 

It doesn't require one entire group berating to make a 6hr shift at a McDs just off a freeway exit seem like a cray cray situation.....especially if the ice cream machine breaks down again on field trip day. 

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Just now, happysmileylady said:

Individually, you are correct....

collectively....dang it that hour between 10am and 11am.......yeah it was a thing lol.

 

It doesn't require one entire group berating to make a 6hr shift at a McDs just off a freeway exit seem like a cray cray situation.....especially if the ice cream machine breaks down again on field trip day. 

Well- I have been the worker in the fast food situation with broken ice cream machine and busses pulling in continuously and I’ve spent many hours on the ballfield and I’d put my 15 yo in the fast food restaurant everytime. It’s very different to me but I’m glad some people prefer to ump. Someone needs to do it for sure and happy for the kid that has the personality to do that and get paid well. 

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9 minutes ago, Selkie said:

There has been a (paid) ref/ump shortage in our area for the past 10 years or so. Very few people want the job anymore because of the parents. 

Yep

 

I am not sure how much is a result of a change in behavior vs a change in tolerance of behavior.  I am quite sure that in the 70s....parents were yelling things like "what are you a P***y?" at little league games.    It just was more acceptable then.  I am not saying that such things should be acceptable, only that, because these things are less acceptable, it's no wonder it's harder to find people to enforce it for little to no pay. 

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6 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

Well- I have been the worker in the fast food situation with broken ice cream machine and busses pulling in continuously and I’ve spent many hours on the ballfield and I’d put my 15 yo in the fast food restaurant everytime. It’s very different to me but I’m glad some people prefer to ump. Someone needs to do it for sure and happy for the kid that has the personality to do that and get paid well. 

I am only saying....I don't see much of a difference.  To me, it's all just different flavors of the same old crap.  I don't see much difference between cussing out a 15yr old because its 10:29 vs cussing out a 15yr old because a person thinks their kid crossed home plate before the ball got there.

Edited by happysmileylady
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I also would not require it if they didn't want. I would have a conversation about his reasons for not wanting to ump - if it's truly the yelling parents, I'd consider that enough. I would point out the rate of pay is very good for a summer job but allow him to make the final decision, because it's also important that our children learn how to walk away from toxic work environments. 

I know very few people who at that age are focused enough to save all their money. The outlier I can remember from my days of youth went on to become a physician and worked for a while with Mother Teresa. She was driven and focused at 14. 

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I would not want my child to work in an environment where he was verbally abused. For me, that's a good reason for quitting. 

I would encourage child to find other employment - mowing yards, dog sitting, bag boy/sacker at a local grocery store (they hire here at age 15), whatever.  

Surely being a ref isn't the only option. 

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Why would you force your kid to do a job he doesn't enjoy?  He's got plenty of years to learn that sometimes you have to work a shit job to pay the bills/feed your family.  Now is not that time.  Now is the time to find an enjoyable job for mostly fun money but also savings.  

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57 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I am only saying....I don't see much of a difference.  To me, it's all just different flavors of the same old crap.  I don't see much difference between cussing out a 15yr old because its 10:29 vs cussing out a 15yr old because a person thinks their kid crossed home plate before the ball got there.

The difference is umpires on a field are frequently physically threatened. I’ve seen angry 300 lb 6’5” dads storm the field screaming at these people. It’s so typical it’s practically normal. If that happens in a fast food restaurant the person is likely to be arrested, the security footage is likely to go viral, and if it’s a slow news week the footage and the charges are likely to hit the second hour of the morning news circuit. And any fast food shift is likely to have a manager over the age of 25 likely to intervene if someone is screaming at a 14 or 15 year old, let alone getting too close physically. 

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I agree with everyone else.  My oldest started working at 15, and my youngest started volunteering at the same place at 14.  (I would have gotten her a work permit at 15, but that was last spring so there was no work available) Both my girls want to work (we didn't even encourage them to get the jobs they have, the manager was given my oldest daughter's name as a good candidate) and they are allowed to spend how they see fit.  We pay for everything except those frivolous Ulta purchases LOL.  Not only would I never force at 14 year old child to work in an abusive situation, I would step in and encourage them to quit. 

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

Given that most youth sports games are about an hour to an hour and a half, not much difference

OP said the games are two hours.  So it’s the difference between $100 per game and $50 per game.  

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My kid was in competitive archery. NO WAY would I tell anyone they should have to subject themselves to the typical obnoxious sports parent. Our coaches had to train the kids how to get a coach from a neighboring team if their coach was out of the area with different team members when parents of competitors were a problem. A kid dealing with an angry coach or competitor's parent? No #*$@%#& way!

If you don't want to pay for some or all of your kid's sportsball costs, then just say so.  The kid can either work in whatever job they can find to cover the rest of the costs or they can stop doing sports.

Has your son seen the statistics on the percentage of sports kids who earn scholarships?  It's very low.  I haven't met a teen or young adult yet that didn't want a car if they didn't live near public transportation.

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1 hour ago, alisoncooks said:

I wouldn't force it but I'd point out that the rate of pay is very high compared to other jobs he's likely to get. I'm college educated and I don't make $50/hr. 

I think it's 50 a game, which is still $25/hour, which is a very nice rate.

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

I am only saying....I don't see much of a difference.  To me, it's all just different flavors of the same old crap.  I don't see much difference between cussing out a 15yr old because its 10:29 vs cussing out a 15yr old because a person thinks their kid crossed home plate before the ball got there.

Hopefully the fast food place has a good manager willing to step in.  I am not sure who would step in to defend a 14 year old on the ball field.

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My kids are a similar age and I can see where you're coming from.  I could see myself strongly encouraging but not forcing this (especially if he feels threatened by adults while working).  If he thinks $25/hr isn't worth the money, maybe things are a bit too easy for him, LOL.  I would consider whether he needs to start taking responsibility for some of his own expenses.  Maybe I wouldn't insist on him doing 20 games but maybe settle on 8 or 10.

This year, I've started encouraging my kids to think about the longer-term benefits of taking on responsibilities and well-rounded activities.  Yes, I'm that mom who talks about connections, resumes, references, and applications.  I wish my kids had some low-hanging fruit such as a job for the taking, pay or no pay.  🙂  Is your son mature enough for that kind of talk?

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1 minute ago, LuvToRead said:

Hopefully the fast food place has a good manager willing to step in.  I am not sure who would step in to defend a 14 year old on the ball field.

DH says a coach SHOULD step in, but it often doesn’t work out that way. He umpired 1 game in his life and said he’d never let a kid do it. 

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Posted (edited)

Lots of good thoughts. I mentioned he was my oldest because I try hard to not expect too much of him-but it really is hard to know with your oldest!

He would like umpiring if people weren’t allowed to talk. It really is just the coaches/parents that he doesn’t like. So far he hasn’t had any really bad experiences. I think it is more the constant chirping at him rather than anyone going over the line. 
 

I would like him to umpire because it pays at least $25 an hour. Games are between 1.5 and 2 hours and he gets $50 a game. Also, he can pick his own schedule. He schedules his own games so he doesn’t have to ask off when he has his own baseball games or family activities. Additionally, I think it is a good experience provided everyone behaves. He enjoys baseball and I think he should keep his options open in the future in case professional baseball doesn’t work out for him 😉. We have a friend who refs college football and he thinks we should encourage him to stick it out because it is such a good second job and they need people at higher levels. 
 

As far as what he does with his money-I don’t really care. I just think he has never had any expenses and really doesn’t “want” for much. We are pretty solidly middle class, so we don’t need him to work, but I don’t think  we will be able to get him a car or pay much toward his college. He did four games this weekend and got $200. I just think when he tells me it isn’t worth it, it is because he doesn’t need $200. Which maybe is a reason to not have a job at 14. Or maybe he should have a few expenses.

 

Edited by lovinmyboys
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That is good money and the flexibility of the schedule is a positive as he plays his own ball as a teen. So maybe you should let him pass on it now so he isn’t totally burned out by the time he is old enough to handle it better, work more, and make more money when he needs and/or wants it. Just a thought. 

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

 

I am not sure how much is a result of a change in behavior vs a change in tolerance of behavior.  I am quite sure that in the 70s....parents were yelling things like "what are you a P***y?" at little league games.    It just was more acceptable then.  I am not saying that such things should be acceptable, only that, because these things are less acceptable, it's no wonder it's harder to find people to enforce it for little to no pay. 

In my experience, it is the behavior that has gotten worse (much, much worse). When dh and I were kids here in the 80s, there was one couple who were notorious for being loud and obnoxious at their kids’ sporting events. They were pretty much the talk of the town/school/ballpark because their behavior was considered to be unacceptable and out of line.

Fast forward a few decades, and now that couple would seem downright tame compared to the multitude of parents who mouth off loudly at every single sporting event. Parents in general are much more invested in their kids’ athletics now and that has led to a corresponding increase in ugly behavior.

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Re the fact he thinks he is going to get scholarships, I'd assign him to do a little investigation:
- Local state colleges - what scholarships are available? If they are based on test scores, how does any of his current test scores percentage-wise line up? That isn't exact or a guarantee, but it might be enlightening. 
-Has he expressed any interest in any particular college or degree? If so, he should investigate costs. 
-If the scholarships he thinks will be based on some performance thing, have him investigate what the reality of that might be - not only getting it but potential amount. 
-Investigate, in general, what scholarships might be available for a desired degree - and see what all you have to do to apply. So much time went into scholarship applications that senior year. So much time. 

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That is great money for a 14 yo to be making.  But it sounds stressful and I don't know what I would require - you know the situation and your teen best.  I do think it's a great learning opportunity for thinking through decisions, which is something teens need to learn! Our approach in these kind of situations is to give our kids some parameters, but also give them some decision making opportunities within those parameters.  So in this situation, some options might be:

* you require him to umpire, but work together to decide how many games he will do.  Talk about what is good about the job, what is tolerable, what is difficult,  Help him strategize how to handle difficult situations, how to tolerate the bad parts.  Talk about how to know whether earning a lot of money is worth putting up with things you don't like (sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't!).  

* You require him to umpire unless he can find an alternate job.  Help him think about other options, and look around a little bit.  Help him gather information about possible wages, hours, opportunities with other jobs.

* You require him to save a certain percentage of the money he earns, but let him decide what to do with the rest.  Or require that he start paying for some things in his life, like activities with friends, fun/extra snacks, or hobbies.

I think it is a great benefit for teens to earn money and have some financial responsibilities.  It doesn't need to be a lot, but it gives them some agency and opportunity to make decisions.  It also gives you the opportunity to help them learn about finances with real decisions.  We're also found great benefit in our kids having jobs where they learn to answer to a boss, work within the system of their workplace, think through their time priorities, and learn new skills. 

 Also, I just read through you initial post again and saw the "thinks he'll get scholarships and won't want a car".  That's pretty...unrealistic.  He may not necessarily want to keep a job he dislikes based on those long term goals, and that's okay.  But it may be a good time to start talking about some real world numbers to help him understand what kind of expenses he may have in college?  Even if he gets scholarships, they may be partial, and there are still living expenses (unless you plan to pay for everything for him until he's out of college). That doesn't mean he must start saving a lot of money right now, but 14/15 is a good time for teens to start understanding what kind of responsibilities they will need to develop over their high school and college years.

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My 15yo and I are in same situation. I’m disappointed he won’t take IMO easy money. Although for him, over a certain amount of income and he would need to pay self employment taxes on it. 

I think he feels stressed with each game knowing he might have to use first aid and knowing the potential for altercations with parents. I want to hope that volunteer coaches would step in as needed. However, he has seen me pull him from his own soccer game after a head hit, and then fall that broke his eyeglasses. I had to find the glasses lens in the grass and I needed him to sit for concussion checkout. The ref did not stop that game, and thought I was overreacting. I was pretty clear to both coaches and the league board in emails that I was mad. Both coaches said they didn’t see head hit, only the fall to the ground. I barely care about sports scores, but feel strongly about game safety. 

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Welcome to teen parenting.

My best advice is that you've got to start letting go of the reins.  If you want a healthy relationship with your adult child, your role is to start sliding into the background.  You want your 18 year old kid to feel confident making his own decisions, managing his own affairs, and dealing with the consequences of it all. You help provide perspective and information, but you don't rule with an iron hand.

I absolutely would not require my kid to umpire.  Look, even if he earns $1000/summer for the next four summers, that is less than a year at our local community college. It is a pittance against the cost of college education.  You do, however, run the risk of doing some serious relationship damage.  

Be upfront. Let's look at college costs together. Here's how much we are going to be able to help you.  What are your thoughts on how the rest will come together? Let's look at the average awards by parental income level (totally available info, btw). Let's talk to some division 2-3 coaches (if it's athletic scholarships he's aiming for).  BTW---less than 1% of all athletic scholarships are full-ride, btw, and those are mostly for division 1 athletes. What will happen if you don't get the scholarships you anticipate? What are your plans then?  Where might you want to work? What will be your take-home pay after taxes? How will you get there? What kinds of hours might you have?

 

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