Dear Straight Talk: I have two daughters in college. Due to the recession, our economic situation changed drastically since they were in high school, where they enjoyed private schools, lessons, cars, trips abroad, etc. How do I get through to them the duty and joy of pulling their own weight? — Overwhelmed father
Brandon, 20, Mapleton: Many kids of relative affluence go into shock on their own. My parents completely spoiled me through middle school with “whatever-you-want” treatment. I’m happy they weaned me off or I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Some parents think that once college hits, it’s too late to influence their kids. Wrong. The first thing to do is insist they earn money. It’s nice to help with tuition, but don’t instill dependence. Direct them toward work-study, internships, or other part-time jobs that will provide spending money.
Akasha, 18, Los Angeles: My family was also hit hard. Even though I took AP high school classes, I worked 15 hours a week to fund all my simple needs: clothes, makeup, gas, outings. If my mother had hidden our situation, I would’ve felt terrible!
Taylor, 15, Santa Rosa: My parents don’t want to worry me, but I find it more frustrating to be left in the dark when I know we are struggling. My mom has actually told me she doesn’t want me to work. Yet I am bursting to join the workforce. It makes no sense!
Lara, 21, Concord: We never had much, so I was always conditioned to pull my weight. I’m putting myself through a private college, working several jobs, driving a super old car that I bought — oh, and no iPhone.
Dear Overwhelmed: They probably got the “sex talk”. Now they need the “money talk”. Quick, before they catch a case of narcissistic entitlement. Oh, they already caught that? The best cure is to pull back the curtain (see kids, no wizard). They’re big girls, at least that’s what you’re hoping for, and you don’t want them dependent upon a fantasyland male figure anyway.
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