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Does your teenage stepchild have a Saturday job?

(47 Posts)
LittleLionMansMummy Fri 05-Jun-15 09:07:45

Dsd is 15.5yo. She's lovely, our relationship is great - always has been. Known her for 12 years, no issues or problems. We see her most weekends and she's a proper part of our family.

But. We think she's quite indulged and materialistic. Not dissimilar to many teenagers, but we had an eye opening chat with her last weekend.

It started with her saying that if she doesn't go to university her mum has said she'll buy her a car. Her mum has also told dh she expects him to help her financially through uni. We asked her if she plans to get a Saturday job. Firstly she told us she's not old enough. I told her she is, but she insisted she needs to be 16. In the next breath she said she wants to enjoy the summer with her friends, not work.

Now i know this probably isn't unusual. The trouble is we stop paying maintenance for dh's other daughter in July (who we have not seen for 4 years and is almost 18). Dh doesn't want to be seen to be pocketing the money (which comes to about £50) so has said that as we've been unable to afford to give dsd pocket money over the years he'll start giving her an allowance each month. Dsd also already gets £50 per month from her mum. At that age all my 'income' was from a Saturday job.

We don't want to encourage her to be lazy - dh has always refused to be a Disney dad. Also, she always has the latest iphone, wants an ipad, wears clothes and makeup i can only dream of affording! I love her to bits, but in view of her attitude to work I do wonder if dh will be doing the right thing.

Dh's ex has already also indicated that if dsd goes to 6th form college (20 miles from home) she'll be expecting him to help with travel costs for the bus she'll be taking. Dh has never shirked responsibility, but we both firmly believe that a strong work ethic and understanding of the value of money is really important. We both had jobs at her age and will expect similar from our ds. But this is clearly not being encouraged by her mum.

What would you do? Do your teenage stepchildren have Saturday jobs? Do they get an allowance? What are the financial expectations from you if they decide to go to university?

Maybe83 Fri 05-Jun-15 09:21:04

No mine doesn't were we live has high unemployment so jobs that teenagers use to take are no longer really available. It's extremely difficult for them to get one with no experience on CV. In fact the age group 18-24 has the highest unemployment rates. As such the employment service is currently running course such as handling money using tills and stocktaking to try and get them to have some sort of experience to put on CVs.

My SS has a CV done and has sent it to loads of places as he s leaving school in a few weeks. He hasn't even had an interview request. So we do give him an allowance.

To be honest I don't mind and had he decided to go to college I wouldn't have been to fussed if he had a job in first year.

I worked part time from 14 all the way through school and I wouldn't actually encourage it for any of my children. I d prefer they concentrate on school/exams. I think a good worth ethic doesn't have to only be instilled by working. Contributing to family jobs put in place if they want new items etc. Commitment to school and learning to be independent and focused is enough for me.

LittleLionMansMummy Fri 05-Jun-15 09:29:17

Hmmm, she's not particularly academic though, hence the question mark over whether or not she'll decide to stay on into further education. She lives in a large village close to the outskirts of a city with many McDonalds, other takeaways and shops. She's shopping here most weekends! I don't think the teenage employment rate is an issue here...

I suppose there are things she could do to earn her allowance by helping us though. She loves spending time with her brother and in many ways is quite responsible, so maybe a bit of babysitting.

slkk Fri 05-Jun-15 09:37:17

My eldest dsd did work as a teenager and little jobs through uni. She likes expensive things so knows she needs to work, though is quite fussy about what work she will do. I guess she's been quite lucky with jobs . My youngest is 14 and has just started working a few hours a week for dh. She is delighted as her allowance was only £1 a week. I agree with op that a good work ethic is important but they sometimes have to focus on school as a priority and have time to have fun.

Maybe83 Fri 05-Jun-15 09:37:38

My ss isn't particularly academic but he s worked hard and stayed in school to complete his exams and managed to stay on a good path. He lives in a very deprived area. School drop out rate is high and teenage anti social behaviour is rife. So maybe that's why we are happy with how things are going for him. He s probably going to look towards an apprenticeship which is great.

Bellebella Fri 05-Jun-15 09:44:55

I never had a job at 16, neither did my sister and my brother is not expected to(he turns 16 in 2 weeks). We all worked hard at school. My brother in particulary has just done 12 GCSEs all expected to be the top grades so there was never any pressure on us to work in the summer between school and sixth form. Mind you he does hire himself out doing magic and probably earns more than I do! My sister went to collage. We do all have a good work ethic, both me and my sister have been working since we were 18. As for the support during university, your oh will be asked to go on her student loan forms. If his income is too high for her to get student grants, then surely he will help her out a little alongside a part time job. I got all the grants and loans but if my father was alive, then I wouldn't because he was a high earner. I think it really depends on what she is doing next.

tabulahrasa Fri 05-Jun-15 09:49:27

It's pretty unnusual for under 16s to have jobs bar paper rounds tbh, I only know a couple that do, between 16 and 18 it's a bit higher.

When I was that age most people had jobs at weekends, but it isn't the same now.

MeridianB Fri 05-Jun-15 10:23:07

I don't think your perspective on this is unreasonable, OP.

I'd be termpted to view maintenance and then any pocket money/part time work/chores as completely separate, though. Would current maintenance cover travel costs to 6th form?

�50 a month spending money sounds a lot to me but I am probably an old bag. Not sure why a 15-year-old would need (as opposed to want) more, especially if they don't do any chores etc. But I am probably out of touch. If her mum wants to fund that then fine. I don't think you are obliged to match or add to it. Same applies to a car. Why do parents feel the need to run out and buy/insure cars for 17 year-olds unless you live miles away from any public transport?

I had a Saturday job from that age and my parents didn't pay for any of my going out/make-up/magazines/driving lessons etc. But again, maybe things are different now and the focus is completely on studying instead or work ethic alongside study at that age.

So in summary, I could be very out of date on the work side but the general idea that 15/16/17 year-olds should have a lot of money and/or cars handed to them is a really unhelpful one and you're right to think carefully about it.

LittleLionMansMummy Fri 05-Jun-15 10:28:19

To be honest, at that age i needed to work Saturdays to fund my social life and didn't have too much trouble managing school work, a few hours of shop work and going out with friends. My grades didn't slip.

I got a grant in my first year at Uni but a loan after that and worked during holidays to top up the money, but not during term time.

Dh earns about £27k and as he won't be paying maintenance at that point is more than happy to help her out as and when she needs it, but his arrangements will be made directly with dsd and not her mum.

LittleLionMansMummy Fri 05-Jun-15 10:39:03

Meridian - yes i think the current maintenance would cover travel costs for 6th form, but that would be on the basis that she stops getting so much 'stuff' bought for her on top of the allowance she gets from her mum. I totally understand that travelling costs are potentially expensive and that dh's ex might need or expect some help - but it all feels a bit obscene when dsd will be getting £100 per month in allowances as well as having everything else paid for by her mum.

ArcheryAnnie Fri 05-Jun-15 10:45:00

I wonder about the teenage work thing, too, as I had tons of jobs as a teenager (back in the Jurassic era), but don't know any who do now.

If your DH doesn't want to "pocket" the money he won't be paying to the elder DSD, has he thought about giving her a nominal amount (say £10) and putting the rest into a savings account for when younger DSD is older? (Or perhaps hold the option open to it being for both of them, if he can imagine having a relationship with his other daughter in the future.)

As for the "materialistic" thing - what about encouraging DSD to join something like St John Ambulance? It's a truly cracking thing to be able to put on a CV, doesn't take too much time out of a school week, and means they have concrete experience of "service" even if they aren't getting paid.

ArcheryAnnie Fri 05-Jun-15 10:46:08

Or, having seen that DH will be expected to fund travel, perhaps the money should go into an account earmarked for that.

LittleLionMansMummy Fri 05-Jun-15 10:56:14

Thanks Archery - they're both things we've considered. We're always encouraging her to do something worthwhile like that, but she has no interest. She's a very sociable girl (one of her loveliest attributes) and just wants to spend time with her friends. I think she thinks those types of activities are for people she wouldn't normally socialise with. I know she sounds shallow but she's really not. She just has quite rigid perceptions that are difficult to shift.

On travel, that's an option we're considering but dh is concerned his ex will imply to dsd that he's being tight.

slkk Fri 05-Jun-15 10:58:04

Yes I think £50 from each of you is way too much. I would save the extra £50 a month for her to put towards uni costs etc or driving lessons or something she will need when she is trying to be a bit independent. I also think jobs around the house shouldn't be paid - they are just part of being in a family. But many other disagree with this and it works well for lots of people.

MeridianB Fri 05-Jun-15 11:28:02

Surely if her mum decides to spend maintenance on DSD's smartphone etc and cash for going out then she cannot demand extra for essentials such as travel costs? Of course, it's up to her what she spends maintenance on but that doesn't mean she can ask for more to make up the difference.

19lottie82 Fri 05-Jun-15 11:33:14

My DSD is 15 and doesn't have a "proper" weekend job. I think this is pretty hard to achieve until you are 16 and have an NI number. Not impossible, but hard.

She does however, clean her Grandparents house for 3 hours every Saturday, and they pay her.

LittleLionMansMummy Fri 05-Jun-15 11:56:58

You would think that Meridian but this is a pattern of behaviour that goes back 12 years. I remember dsd1 losing a jumper at the age of about 8 or 9 while she was with us and her mum demanding we pay to replace it. It actually caused a big argument between dh and his ex with poor dsd1 caught in the middle feeling reaponsible. We did our best to shield her from those arguments but her mum told her everything. We believe this animosity back then was at least partially responsible for her later alienation. Things have improved remarkably with his ex since dsd1 decided to go NC with us and we're conscious of not wanting to return to the old acrimonious relationship as it's us who will ultimately lose out. We don't want to be arses about money because things have generally improved hugely and we don't want to reintroduce that conflict to our lives at the risk of harming our relationship with the remaining dsd. That's why we're agonising over our next move with regard to finances. Dsd2 is a totally different character to dsd1 and i don't think she'd lwt things go that far but it would break dh's heart to lose another daughter.

Melonfool Fri 05-Jun-15 12:59:52

I agree with you OP about work ethic, but I'm afraid I also agree with the people who say teens getting jobs is hard.

Dss [14] sounds pretty similar - mother buys him everything (he has an iphone [albeit we have confiscated it currently], an ipad, a laptop, all designer clothes] then asks us to fund school trips [etc] because she is 'broke'.

Dp gives him £20pm allowance, but we also buy him all the clothes he needs for here (not designer, I might add) and any kit because we go skiing, hiking, climbing etc.

I strongly disapprove of giving kids money for doing chores - we all live in the house, the chores need doing, we all do them, no-one pays anyone for doing them (and no-one needs specially thanking for doing a standard household chore!). He has set jobs and it's a struggle to get him to do those but he wouldn't get paid for doing them nor anything extra.

To be honest, the reason he won't get a job is because he has too much money. He usually gets nearly £200 for his birthday, which added to his allowance is a lot and he doesn't really spend it because he doesn't need anything.

We've tried to encourage him to get a job, paperround (he has several excuses for not doing this), babysitting, offering to do garden chores for people, in the shop, at the garden centre etc but he just won't.

Re the £50 - ds1 isn't losing out because it is stopping, she's had it for longer because she's older.

I would put it in an account for both of them (or half each into two accounts) for when they need it.

To be fair, on £27k, I think your dp is being generous to consider keeping the £50 for them at all, but at least if he sets it aside he has something ready for when they need it.

fedupbutfine Fri 05-Jun-15 13:11:33

Are you aware that for children in education, you need to pay maintenance to the end of August (if you are using the CSA/CMS at least, although if you stop, the CSA/CMS will happily oblige you to pay)?

Would current maintenance cover travel costs to 6th form?
You cannot dictate to the ex what she does/doesn't spend maintenance on. This will be an additional cost. It's not unreasonable that she asks for help in supporting a young person who is legally obliged to be in education. Teenagers are expensive, even the lower maintenance ones!

Surely if her mum decides to spend maintenance on DSD's smartphone etc and cash for going out then she cannot demand extra for essentials such as travel costs?
Legally the obligation is whatever the CSA/CMS says it is. You cannot dictate what the ex spends it on. Assuming maintenance at a legal level is being paid, it is reasonable to not pay anything extra towards travel costs.

You can't force her to get a job, however sensible an idea it may be.

Melonfool Fri 05-Jun-15 13:20:58

I don't think anyone said anything about 'forcing' anyone to get a job - slavery has been abolished anyway.

LittleLionMansMummy Fri 05-Jun-15 13:53:14

Yes fedup maintenance is paid at correct level and has risen in line with cost of living over the years. It is in view of this and the fact that dh has always taken his obligations - both legally and morally - seriously that I do get a bit narked about his ex asking for more at every opportunity. When ds was born dh would have been entitled to reduce maintenance payments but chose not to. In reality it is me who not only pays for our own ds (I am the main earner) but for dsd too - all extras are ultimately paid by me. I think what you're saying is that maintenance should cover everything and it's up to his ex how she cuts her cloth accordingly. That I can see. And yes also aware it will be paid till August.

Melonfool - yes the situation does sound similar! And i know what you mean about pitching in with jobs around the house. As for putting it into a bank account for both girls, we've been treated so appallingly by dsd1 that i think dh would see this as rewarding her for being a total shit. She's made it very clear, very recently, that she likes her life as it is and has no intention of being a part of ours. For our own sanity we've had to draw a line under the past 4 years. She still gets cards and knows the door remains open but that's a bit different to reinforcing her entitled behaviour. She's almost an adult now after all.

Foxeym Fri 05-Jun-15 13:59:17

My DD1 is 16, she has had a receptionist job since she was 15 on a Saturday and does occasional bank holidays etc as required. She loved it when payday rolls around so she can buy all the stuff she loves but I can't afford!

LittleLionMansMummy Fri 05-Jun-15 14:05:02

That's how i always felt Foxeym! I think it helps with self esteem and self confidence too (although to be fair dsd is ok on both these counts!)

minionwithdms Fri 05-Jun-15 14:21:38

As an 18 year old who has been looking for jobs since 15, they can be REALLY hard to come by if you are a teenager (particularly if you're not yet old enough to have an NI number). In my experience, the majority of places were more keen on employing uni students because they could work more flexibly and for longer hours. Some were also unable to hire under 18s because of insurance. The only job I've been able to find was working at my school over the summer holidays.

Melonfool Fri 05-Jun-15 14:27:05

ds1 wouldn't know the money was there, it's more a 'just in case' - she might make moves when she's olde,r when she has her own kids etc.

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