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Mom's Attempt To Teach Absent-Minded Daughter A Lesson Doesn't Go As Planned

mother and daughter at odds

After losing various items and racking up a hefty loss of wasted money, a mom decided to try and instill some sense of responsibility in her 9-year-old daughter.

She claimed that her daughter very often loses small things. Typically, she shrugs it off, saying that she feels like most kids are like this judging by the lost and founds she often finds herself in.

However, after losing her towels, swim goggles, caps, and shampoo, she also lost her swimsuit. So, her mom decided that enough was enough, and tried to teach her a lesson in responsibility.

The mom asked her 9-year-old daughter for $10 toward a new swimsuit after losing hers.

“She said she didn’t have $10 and she didn’t want to give me her tooth fairy money,” she explained in her post on the "r/Parenting" subreddit.

mom tries to make daughter pay $10 for a swimsuit she lostPhoto: Reddit

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“I said, no rush. You pay me $2 each month. Nope. Didn’t agree. Then said, I’ll do chores. I said okay. That works. Then she came back saying I’ll make her pick up trash for neighbors. I said no. She said I can’t clean up toys and all. She didn’t want to do chores,” the mom continued.

To clarify, she wasn’t just asking any random, broke-because-they’re-9-years-old child. Her daughter had around $200 to her name. She had her tooth fairy money as well as some money that was sent as a gift from her grandparents.

She could fully pay the $10, but as her mom put it, “I realized I haven’t taught her any responsibilities.” She cried and threw a tantrum, claiming that she didn’t have the money to give her mom, but that was far from true.

“She argued with me for 2 hours. Constantly saying she didn’t have enough money. Then she called me greedy. Then she said I’ll snoop and get it from her purse while she’s at school. The argument ended only because I dropped her at her dance class,” she added. “Even on the way there, she asked me not to pick her up so I can save money on gas, since money is more important.”

The mom is now questioning her decision. As a result of her daughter’s reaction, she’s unsure if asking her for $10 was the right way to teach her responsibility. At the same time, she’s unsure of what she should do and how to teach her daughter that sense of accountability.

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It’s completely normal for kids to lose things, as they haven’t yet developed longer attention spans.

Calgary child psychologist, Cheryl Gilbert MacLeod, claims that it’s normal for kids to lose their things. “Kids this age tend to be focused on lots of things, and their goals are still very ‘me-oriented,’” she told Today’s Parent in August 2022. “When they’re running out the door to play at the end of the day, remembering to put their water bottles in their bags isn’t always a priority.”

Additionally, Merrill Edge, a capital market company, suggests that children, from a young age, should be taught how to budget themselves. Many parents opt for the tactic of providing kids with their allowances or ways to “earn” money — whether it’s by doing chores or odd jobs around the house.

“An allowance can be a great first step in showing your kids how to manage money,” they wrote. “Gradually spreading out the timing will help your children understand the need to manage their spending.”

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If this 9-year-old girl doesn’t have a steady stream of income, she may feel as though those $200 are all that she has — and she’s right, but that’s because she doesn’t have any other money coming in.

As for teaching her how to be more responsible and not lose things, Parent.com suggests that instead of replacing these items with similarly expensive ones, replace them with cheap, maybe even worn-down things.

That will ensure that they learn the value of the item they lost and take better care of their things in the future.

Not only that, but if they want to upgrade to the same quality of the item they had previously — or even more — then parents should let them know that it will have to come out of their allowances.

What this mom did wasn’t entirely wrong, but as a completely new concept, her daughter had been taken aback. She had never faced consequences for losing things before, so why now?

Implementing these strategies could go a long way for this mom in teaching her daughter how to be financially responsible and understand the value of her possessions.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor for YourTango who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.