It's OK to Say You Can't Afford Things (How My Teens Taught Me a Lesson) by Dawn Taylor


It's OK to Say You Can't Afford Things (How My Teens Taught Me a Lesson)

Day two of a three-day volleyball tournament and it was time to make dinner plans. Another parent suggested a group of us bring our daughters out somewhere to eat together. It seemed like a good idea, when I was picturing pizza and chicken wings. Very quickly though, other parents started suggesting expensive restaurants. This is when I shut down.

My two daughters could sense something was wrong but I couldn't say anything in front of the other parents, so I whispered, "We can't afford it" and "We have to go back to the hotel and get pizza." We hurried off without explanation.

In the car, I lectured them on money, and the inappropriateness of other parents assumptions that we could afford to eat somewhere nice. I told them how hard it is to say no when everyone else is saying yes. That's when my teens lectured me.

One said, "I tell people all the time I can't do things because we can't afford it. That is just the reality of it." The other one said, "We don't care if we have pizza back at the hotel. You could have just said, ‘We can't afford it.’” Both told me I handled it poorly and just needed to say, "I'm sorry, we just can't afford that."

Of course, they were right.

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Elisa Schmitz
Out of the mouths of babes. Sometimes our kids surprise me with their wisdom. Thank you for sharing this story, Dawn Taylor !
Ann Marie Patitucci
I love this story about your girls, @dawn2. You’ve also highlighted something important: unless we know for sure that everyone can afford x, it’s kinder to suggest something more affordable so all can participate.

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