My Teenage Daughter Wants a Car?

Dear Crabby,

My daughter just turned 16 and she really wants a car. She tells us her friends all have cars and she wants us to buy her one too. I just don’t know what to do, Help me?

Sincerely, Loving Pushover Dad

Dear Loving Pushover Dad,

Ah yes, the ever famous “Daddy buy me a car” question from your little princess. Dads always romanticize the relationship they have with their little girls, but let me tell you what happens in a couple years. The little girls marry some duffous that ultimately end up sitting across a table from you arguing about politics or something. But, I guess you will have to deal with that when it happens. For now, let me tell you how I handle situations like this. When our daughter first turned 16 and even started to broach the topic of us buying her a car I started right in on the stories of the Great Depression. Of course I wasn’t there since I was born in the 1940’s, but these teens aren’t bright enough to figure that out yet- something about “new math” and all. Anyway, about the time I was telling her how we ate the cantaloupe rinds and the grasshoppers for dessert she had forgotten all about asking me for some ridiculous request for a car. Then about a day or two later I would say something like, “Hey, wouldn’t it be grand to have your own car?”  Her little face would light up with that expectant wonder. Then I would say, “I think Reynold’s Hardware is hiring, and after only 12 months you could buy a pretty nice one.” Call me evil, but that puzzled look turning into the “stare of realization,” as I call it, was totally worth the 7 months she put her mother and I through that trumpet playing phase.

Don’t get me wrong – ultimately we did help our little girl with her first set of wheels, but we made her learn the value of  a dollar and earn the first half. I think this would be a good time for you to teach your young ones some facts of life – “stuff costs money and money ain’t free.” Let them work a little and earn some of their keep.  This will really help them as they move on to the next step. If I were you, I’d pay more attention to the duffous she brings home on her date! Remember the grandkids will probably look something like him too!

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