This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Life after High School - Shopping misadventures

Words of advice. NEVER EVER go "pretend" grocery shopping with: more than one kid, teenagers, a child who is not a teenager and therefore not really interested in teenage stuff, after a long day at school, when 2 have RAD, when ADD/ADHD meds have worn off, when you have different genders so they want to stare at different stuff (cosmetics took forever!), when one child has to be somewhere in an hour (luckily it was the youngest and Hubby came and got him), when you just forced them to really finish their chores (but Mooommmm, I'll do that when I get back. I already did that. I just can't make the broom do it like you did. Grandma says that's OK. No one else did theirs. I'll do this part, but you can't make me do anymore...), when most of them didn't bother to eat snack and now they are STARVING, when they ALL think this is stupid, when one of them is not academically capable of doing her share (and then wanders off while you do all her writing), when you have real grocery shopping to do too...
I spent over $300 because I was too focused on them to pay attention to my shopping, AND we were there almost 3 HOURS! The whining is still ringing in my ears.

So if you decide to try this, and I do still think it's important by the way, here's my recommendation: while they do all need their own list so they can see how much their purchases will cost them individually... for the actual shopping trip use a master list and view this as a "group project." If someone decides to splurge on a more expensive version, they can note that on their individual list. This will save time, energy, fussing at kids wandering off, and you can have another discussion later, much, much later, when they enter the information on their individual sheets.
There were some funny moments.
You should have seen the girls' faces when I told them they had to actually look at the feminine hygeine products (they went to the end of the aisle and looked at toys and made little sidelong glances instead).
I had to remind Ponito that even though he didn't need it now, when he moved out at age 18 he'd be shaving so he needed to price that as well. He attacked that aisle like a research project.
Watching the girls get antsier and antsier at not being allowed to answer their texting friends was pretty hilarious (well, for me anyway). I'd had to forbid cell phones because they spent most of their time texting instead of shopping and the trip was already taking forever.

Even though Bear "already knew" the cost of condoms, I suggested he verify it. He was pushing the cart which had Ponito in it, and tried to talk Ponito into adding condoms to his list. Ponito, being 10, just looked at Bear like he was crazy.
Bear of course got little or nothing out of the trip. He "already knew" how much everything cost. I think I need to find a way to make this project a little more real to get through to him. Suggestions?
At least we still have time. Haven't told Bear that yet though.


Anonymous said...

Honestly it seems like you're stressing out about this a bit more than necessary. Sorry to say that, and I could be totally wrong, but my experience with 3 sons is that once they finally do get a job (grocery store courtesy clerks in our case) the discover how fast they burn through it. Movies, fast food, junk food, crap, more junk food....) ODS bought a whole new wardrobe one summer; every time we turned around he had a new pair of shoes. And yet, never was so much as a dime saved for the "fun money" they'd need at college. OR, if money was set asside, they burned through it their first quarter.

Of course, just getting the job to start with is darned-near impossible these days.

It would be delightful if Bear could graduate and go to "regular college" and live in a dorm, even if only for a few months. It's such a great way for kids to get a taste of independent living without any real independence.

Barring that, I think you should back-burner this "worry" for now and focus on all the other crap you've got going on. You could sit down with Bear some evening and just make a rough list of what monthly expenses would be... say rent, utilities, internet, cable, phone, food and then add a category for "fun" (afore- mentioned junk food) throw in comments like "that doesn't even cover your medications or insurance, and don't even think about a car... that'll add $____ (make up a number) for gas, upkeep, insurance, etc. This won't scare him off the idea, but maybe he'll ponder it more deeply and less casually.

We always told our kids, "If you live at home we'll pay your way, if you are at school we'll help you out, if you're out on your own without going to school, you're ON YOUR OWN!"

Anonymous said...

I generally agree w/ Purplewalls, with the caveat that my son is convinced that he must have fun first, and he'll get what he needs for the rest via gambling.

But you asked for ideas. How about monopoly money and they have to buy items from the cupboards / pantry? Or at least buy things that are locked up.

Well, look. Ponito and Bob will probably learn what they need to through allowances and what the high school tries to teach them and basically real-world lessons.

Kitty and Bob might be able to learn real-world costs via internet browsing. I learned how much cosmetics cost when I pre-spent my woolworth's paycheck on some and then had no pay on payday. Never did that again.

But Bear? I do not think you can teach him this lesson. But I'm jaded and scarred. Concentrate on teaching him about using those condoms (appeal to his not wanting to bring an unwanted child into the world.)