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To tell 3 teenage DCs that I am cancelling their various activities.

(66 Posts)
Jynxed Sat 01-Nov-14 23:15:21

Have been trying to work out where all our money goes and why we are always in poverty the last week before payday. Added up the cost of all the kids activities and it comes to £350 a month on average! This is for 2 x weekly guitar lessons, a fortnightly piano lesson, fortnightly riding lesson, weekly French tuition, and sporadic driving lesson for the eldest (we have booked 10 but she never seems to be arsed to actually book them).

Have cancelled riding for youngest, guitar for middle one and driving for the eldest, based on which activity each one seemed least interested in. This leaves DS with no activity at all, and DDs having one music lesson each. It also leaves DD1 with extra French tuition which she will need to get through her A level.

Eldest is outraged to lose the driving, DS is complaining bitterly that he loves guitar (despite never picking the bloody thing up between lessons) & youngest is weeping about the riding, although she always moans when it is time to no up yo the stables.

DH thinks I am being unreasonable because it is good for the kids to learn these skills. I think they are not actually learning anything and wasting money we cannot afford.

Am I being mean?

DoJo Sat 01-Nov-14 23:24:10

I would probably have given them fair warning of my intentions, but I don't think it's unreasonable to cancel classes that they do not engage with fully. My husband has a few music students and he won't keep them on if they don't practice because there's only so much you can do in an hour a week and if they don't practice it's a waste of time. Are you prepared to reinstate them if they show some self-motivated willingness to keep them up? ANd does your husband realise that they aren't actually learning skills if they never take the lessons or practice in between?

HansieLove Sat 01-Nov-14 23:25:34

Well, they do not seem to value the activities, until they have lost them. I'm sure the activities will seem more special now.

bobbyjoe Sat 01-Nov-14 23:26:04

Bit drastic. You could have cut the 2 guitar lessons down to 1 a week or 1 a fortnight. Presumably 1 DD is still having a fortnightly piano lesson so fair to let the DS have one guitar lesson on the proviso he practices in between lessons. Or, if they're hourly lessons, cut down to half an hour.

The oldest DD well French lessons out side school are presumably more of a necessity than a luxury while why start on the car lessons if you can't afford them? perhaps give them as a birthday or Xmas present.

wobblyweebles Sat 01-Nov-14 23:30:57

That's a lot of expensive activities. I'd look for some cheaper ones or suggest they get jobs to help pay for them.

Jynxed Sat 01-Nov-14 23:44:28

The guitar lessons were one each for two children, not two a week for one. DoJo is spot on - DD has practised and progressed well over the last two years, so I have left her lesson in place. DS says he practices but after 2 years I have never heard him play and he is clearly not learning anything. I have had to give a half terms notice, so I suppose I could say if he pulls his finger out he could continue after Xmas.

I just feel that none of them appreciate that this is real money we are spending and that if they could not be bothered to put effort into learning why should we struggle to pay. DD1 moans that I am nagging her to book her driving lessons and learn her Highway Code, and she doesn't have the time, what with all the texting and FB she has to do. So, why am I bothering if she is not. I paid for my own lessons in my 20s and made an effort because I was paying for them. I think she will have to do the same.

I suppose I am also pissed off because all three have lazed around the house for half term, doing nothing to contribute, whilst their Dad and I have been out working to afford their leisure activities. We are going very wrong somewhere.

cozietoesie Sat 01-Nov-14 23:49:43

Just wait until they expect you to fund First Car and First Car Insurance - then DH will know what pain really is!

bobbyjoe Sat 01-Nov-14 23:51:20

Well, after the extra info why you posting in AIBU? Either continue paying or don't, it's pretty black and white. If DS is keen to continue tell him to practice or otherwise it's being cancelled. It's all fairly easy decisions, not sure why you need confirmation about what to do.

SwearySwearyQuiteContrary Sat 01-Nov-14 23:52:39

I completely agree with you.

butterfliesinmytummy Sat 01-Nov-14 23:57:13

I assume that the guitar player has books to learn from and there's YouTube for lessons. Could the rider earn some lessons in return for mucking out at stables? If they're really keen, they'll find a way....

lemonpuffbiscuit Sun 02-Nov-14 00:00:38

How old are they OP ? Old enough to have a paper round or a Saturday job or babysit to be able to pay for extra clubs?

Alternatively they could ask for money towards lessons/clubs for Xmas and birthdays if they were super keen

Jynxed Sun 02-Nov-14 00:02:03

Bobby - because DH thinks I am unreasonable and I don't, so I am putting it out to other opinions. Straight forward question - am I bring unreasonable (to currently think my teenagers are lazy arsed parasites who think we owe them anything they briefly desire). I may of course be putting my own view point across more strongly here, so feel free to substitute am I bring unreasonable to stifle future talented musician / rider / trucker if you prefer.

tazzle22 Sun 02-Nov-14 00:02:42

I would feel feel pissed off too in your place.... if lessons are for leisure and learners truly interested then they will practice without needing reminders. I think most people value things more if it has to be earned one way or another. .. whether thats by time practicing or earning the money to pay for it. If child not motivated to practice then I agree lessons stop. Maybe with notice which could be revised.

Been there got the t shirt lol. I think its good to try various activities but some they stick with some they dont...

Jynxed Sun 02-Nov-14 00:05:14

They are 13, 15 & 17. Eldest has a zero hours contract job which brings in some money in good months, and the other two are too lazy and too young in that order.

titchy Sun 02-Nov-14 00:10:05

Fantastic parenting well done you!

If eldest wants driving lessons that much she can finance them. If ds wants to learn guitar YouTube is a click away and if the other one wants riding lessons that much they can spend Saturdays mucking out.

If they do all of the above you'll review at Easter.

In the meantime enjoy the extra cash.

Haggisfish Sun 02-Nov-14 00:16:08

Can eldest dd not get extra French at school for an hour? I provide an after school revision class fir my a level groups.

5Foot5 Sun 02-Nov-14 00:22:01

Yanbu if the eldest is old enough to drive she is old enough to have a job and at the very least make a contribution to the cost of lessons

ReallyTired Sun 02-Nov-14 00:26:42

It seems a little unfair that you ds has no activity at all when the girls have an activity each. However guitar lessons are waste of money if a child does not practice.

NormaStits Sun 02-Nov-14 00:42:07

Put it to them in monetary terms - you simply can't afford it. Tell them to pay their own way, especially the elder one.

If your husband has objections, ask what solutions he has to the cash flow problem.

bobbyjoe Sun 02-Nov-14 00:55:15

Thing is it's not their fault you didn't set the ground rules well before this - i.e. if this is what you wanted - made them get Saturday jobs to help pay for the extras - or just refused them as soon as they asked you to pay for these things. You offered, they accepted, now at 15 and 17 (when it's much too late as they'll be leaving home soon enough) you're moaning that they're "lazy arsed parasites". What a disgusting thing to say about your own kids when you facilitated it! If you didn't want them doing extra curricular activities then you shouldn't have started them off on them. You should have just said no or made them get Saturday jobs to fund them. I never understand people that have 3 kids then moan about how much they cost. They're not doing anything extraordinary - none of those activities are outrageously high-cost hobbies. Why have 3 kids if you can't give them more than the basics of clothes on their back and food?

Yes, I think YABU. Don't like how you've spoken about them either. If you didn't want "lazy arsed parasites", not that I think they are based on anything you've said about a couple of hobbies they do, perhaps you should done something about it years ago. Also, if you worked through your 20s for your driving lessons why give them to your DD in the first place? I don't get your upset about this?

If the fact remains you can't afford these activities, then you can't afford them. Just sit them down calmly and say so - sorry DS you don't seem interested in the guitar so we have to cancel it as you're not practising. Or do you think you can get a Saturday job to help out? DD we'll carry on with your French as it's important for A levels but we're strapped for the car lessons. Do you think too you could get a Saturday job?

Reach a compromise with your DH on the lessons - savings could be made - half hour lessons rather than one hour or every fortnight rather than every week, extras like driving lessons for Xmas presents only.

championnibbler Sun 02-Nov-14 00:59:20

YANBU. You have done the right thing.
Especially as your kids have not really been enthusiastic or fully engaged in these activities. it is a lot of money you have been spending and would be better spent on essentials. if the kids want to do these activities there's nothing stopping the older ones getting jobs, which might also teach them the value of money.

Viviennemary Sun 02-Nov-14 01:03:15

It was a bit drastic cutting them all at once. But I see your point if you don't think they were appreciated. Allow each child to do one activity. Or decide on how much you want to spend per child.

TooMuchCantBreathe Sun 02-Nov-14 01:21:23

Well you're not wrong that your efforts are under appreciated but you may want to dig about for the whys. Of course it's very difficult to claw back from a handing on a plate situation to a reward and appreciate situation without getting tough.

Cutting things out of hand is pretty harsh but then learning to earn what you want can also be pretty harsh. I'd suggest you work out a way they can earn these things back. None of them are too young, 13 is old enough for a paper round/chores list. Be realistic of course, if they earn x you'll contribute y if they also contribute to the house without performance. A good chores rota works in my house. Unfortunately the whinging is just part and parcel, even the most appreciative teens whine grin

overslept Sun 02-Nov-14 01:22:13

I have some ideas.

Lots of stables do riding in exchange for mucking out and doing chores at the yard. I did this when I was younger as my mum couldn't afford for me to have lessons. Would you be able to find a place that may do this for DD? How old is she? If you can't find a yard that will allow it sometimes people advertise for help on preloved etc, riding in exchange for work. I've done this in the past when I didn't have time to get to my horse every day.

As for the driving, I can't drive as I never had the money when I was still living at my mums and now I don't have the money because I have my own bills to pay (catch 22 eh?) and it does make things difficult for me. Could you offer to take the oldest out with you in the car so she can carry on practicing then hopefully she won't forget everything or need loads more expensive lessons before she can pass her test? I'm not sure what it would do to your insurance as I won't drive but perhaps be worth looking into?

As for the guitar lessons, you can get some great online tutorials. Loads of videos showing you what to do on youtube etc. Tabs for any song you can imagine as well.

Any of those sound feasible?

I think it's unfair that your son has now been left with nothing. I assume, because you have cut so much there is no room for him to find something else either?

That's not really on when the girls still have something each

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