Parenting quandary(s) Need input

Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by pygmalion, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    And while we're discussing random child and money related questions, what do y'all think about college expenses?


    Just curious. The ex and I used to have this argument all the time. (Don't worry. I argued with him because I hated his guts. I have much affection for DFers. No sweat. I won't argue with you. :lol: )

    The ex thinks that, when it's time for college, he and I should write checks to cover everything. To the ex, a college education is an inalienable right and the key to success just as much as food, clothing and shelter. Parents should pay.

    I think that DS should be encouraged to get excellent grades, apply himself, and do whatever it takes to cover as much of his own education expenses as he can, via scholarships and (if/when feasible) an honest day's work. And then I'll kick in the rest. I really don't want him burdened with student loans.

    My college education philosophy is similar to the car example above (and draws on the China's requirement that people work a couple years before going to uni.) I think DS will value his education more if he has to work to help pay for it.

    I realize that there are a billion permutations, here, but I am curious. Who do you think should pay for college and why?

    No judgment. Just an honest question. :cool:
     
  2. Lioness

    Lioness Well-Known Member

    With the rent thing...I think it's on the basis that now that I'm earning ~$200 a week, I could move out if I wanted, or I could pay for my own food. She's still feeding me, paying for internet, electricity, water, etc. that I use in the house. When I was younger, I didn't have an option to move out. Now I make the choice to use the amount of internet, electricity, water etc. that I use.

    I don't mind it at all. I wouldn't want to grow up in a house where parents buy food, clothes, movies, cars, and other luxuries (When I say clothes, I mean clothes beyond the essential. Mum will still buy my jeans if I've outgrown my old pair, but if I want 5 different pairs of jeans in different styles and cuts, then I've gotta pay for most of it). It'd be a massive shock moving from everything being paid for to paying everything myself.

    With Uni and stuff, we haven't really discussed it. There is the government subsidised education I've mentioned elsewhere - if you're an Australian citizen, the government pays for it, and you pay them back as part of your tax when you start earning enough. However, you get a discount if you pay some of it upfront. Mum mentioned me not having to pay for everything myself, so I guess she's going to contribute something.

    I guess that's why scholarships were never a big deal...my full time job wasn't to get good grades. But I was expected to maintain good grades because that was just what mum wanted me to do. I could take on as many extra-curricular activities as I wanted, but as soon as I started getting stressed, losing sleep, dropping grades, etc., I had to stop thing. I quit archery, I cut down work shifts, and I stopped spending as much time on the internet. During exam time I stopped having to do housework as well.

    But yeah, definitely not dissing anyone's parenting decisions...the system I've grown up under has worked, but so do a lot of others. Every household, and every child is different. We don't have a lot of money (single parent, three kids), so allowances weren't large, we don't have luxuries, we shop at op shops, etc. Works for us.
     
  3. ChaChaMama

    ChaChaMama Well-Known Member

    I do not think there is one correct answer for every family, however I do plan to pay for every dime of Child's college education and make as big a contribution to graduate/professional school as we can.

    My parents paid for my college in full, and believe me, I took it seriously and valued it. My husband's parents did the same for him. We only have one child and we can do this.

    We currently have about 60K saved in a 529, and Child's grandfather also opened a 529 for her which I think may have another 20K. So we're making pretty good progress. We put in $450/mo.

    I also work at private college and we have tuition exchange with 600+ schools, which means Child could potentially get the tuition part for free, BUT I do not want her to be constrained by this list at all. While there are plenty of great schools on the list, if she wants to go somewhere else, I will be more than happy to write that check.

    http://www.tuitionexchange.org/schools.cfm
     
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes. I see your point of view, CCM. I've also seen more than a few friends struggle with kids who got that check and didn't value it at all.

    One close friend of mine paid for her son to go to undergrad for engineering. When, five years later, he had changed majors twice (or maybe three times) and was nowhere near an actual college diploma, she agreed to pay for one more year of tuition then she cut him off.

    One year after Mom-subsidized tuition disappeared, he finally graduated with a BA in I-can't-remember. Seven years to get a four year degree. And this is just one of many, many examples I could name.

    I do think that a lot depends on the kid, though. Some get it. Some don't.
     
  5. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    dh and I both agreed that our children had demonstrated appreciation for their academics well before college and that one thing we would never want would be for them to be saddled down with loans...while we expected them to do their best to procure merit based assistance, they also knew/know that we will make whatever they want to have happen, happen...absent their becoming exceedingly idiotic along the way...it has worked well thusfar....I expect it to continue to work well...but they have know all along what various consequences would be if they took various forms of a "stupid pill"
     
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Exactly. DS will not be burdened with loans. That I guarantee. Everything else depends on how he shapes up in the next year or two. If I had to sum up my view, I'd say that my goal is to be prepared to write a check, however large or small, to cover tuition expenses. But I'm expecting DS to step up and carry a reasonable share of the load, with demonstrated academic engagement and emotional maturity.
     
  7. ChaChaMama

    ChaChaMama Well-Known Member

    Exactly.

    I would also draw corollaries:
    1) For a lot of the kids who do not get it, it has very little to do with who is paying. It has to do with what values were or were not inculcated throughout life.

    2) Parents have to be good at listening to their children. I have had some high-ability, mediocre-performing students whom I have sat down for a little one-on-one chat. I explain to him (usually a him) that he is probably going to pass my course, but that it's a little disappointing that he is just passing when he obviously could be excelling. And sometimes, such a student will tell me that he didn't really feel ready for college, but that Mom and Dad insisted he go right out of high school. I think parents should let the kid work for a year or more if that is what the kid wants to do. Let them taste the "real world" without a college degree first. If it turns out said child has the ability to earn a fantastic living without a degree and has no interest in college, fine. If it turns out--as it usually does--that a taste of working full-time gets that child more interested and motivated for college, also great.
     
  8. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Sometimes it takes awhile for a college student to find themselves. All three of my kids have / had clear ideas for their college-career path, but I can understand where sometimes a kid is a little lost or pressured into a major by family or realizes they don't have the capability to do well in their original major. So it might take them some time to get on the right road. I mean how many adults have switched careers multiple times?

    Of course, that has to be tempered with not providing funds forever.

    +1 on CCM's comments. And as an aside, we still need plumbers and carpenters and even garbage collectors. Not everybody is or should be an MBA, pushing spreadsheets around all day. (No offense - I'm an MBA myself and currently teaching post-secondary kids in a vocational college.)
     
  9. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    our daughter, who deserves to go to any school on the planet that she desires...and I mean that...has been very pro-active in applying for any scholarship big or small that might be avaialable....she spent time yesterday mailing off pages and pages of her compositions to various wrintg scholarship commitees...we will pay for Northwestern in ful if we have to, but it will be a crunch...so we appreciate whatever she can do...and we are hoping that national merit wil come through as well...we will see...we have the boy waiting in the wings for law school and he knows that dtr's bachelors is the priority, but his eyes were open to what the peace corps offers in graduate opppotunites from the get go...I think alot of problems are resolved by casual conversations w/the kids over our own possible limits, expectations and concerns,,,but the fly in your ointment is that you are not a united front...and that may well put a wrinkle in things...you can only discuss what you hope and plan...
     
  10. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Ah. All my kids have been told that they are on their own 100% for grad school. DS1 paid his own way through Southern Cal Law. (and is still paying off his loans, I imagine...)
     
  11. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    our boy had a mid college crisis...key was his understanding that while he was finding himself, grieving his grandmother, and breaking up with a GF, I wouldn't be paying for the re-take of any failed classes so he needed to find a way to be in crisis while passing...and he managed...dh had to do an extra year for similar reasons on his own dime, so son knew at the outset to save his crisis for summer or not in class time, or to at least only blow off to getting a C, not lower...he had an underwhelming year, he pulled it together...alot there was again managed by regular ongoing conversations that were allowed to be real about what was really happening...he always knew that I would prefer he drop out than waste my money...but dropping out was not on his list of what was acceptable...he rallied...
     
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    they know it is not guaranteed, as a bachelor's pretty much was...but because they have thusfar managed to find us some money for their bachelor's, they know that we will do what we can to help them with Grad school...they know it isn't an auto-free ride...
     
  13. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    See, and in our family (well, Dad's side) there's the tradition of the "Buck and a Breeze" when you turn 21. It's your last dollar from mom and dad, and a breeze to blow you on your way. As in, you're an adult now. My father still has the silver dollar and the balsa wood fan (the breeze) he was given when he turned 21. I have mine, my brother has his.

    Thing is, it's entirely symbolic, and everyone knows it. My parents moved back in with my dad's parents several times. My brother (with and without wife) moved back with them a couple of times. I haven't, but had things gone differently recently I might have had to. Family never turns its back on family. Period.

    But there was still something very significant to me in the idea of "really" becoming an adult...and being expected to act like one and be responsible like one, which is what the Buck and a Breeze conveyed. And the act of receiving those two things, which I grew up hearing about, made it into a rite of passage. Pretty cool.
     
  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    It's a cool rite of passage if it's symbolic and you know you can always go home again. :cool:

    If not, maybe not so much. *shrug* My former coworker was not kidding when she said she planned to put her daughter out at 18. She meant it. She counted the days. And she did. The daughter (who, IMV, was emotionally unready) was out on her own at 18. No questions. No flexibility. No mercy. Brutal.
     
  15. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I agree with you. I certainly don't think it's a right (I think it's got to be earned.) But there is certainly nothing wrong with expecting him to try to get good grades and find scholarships and see if he can contribute.

    I'm on the fence about student loans. On the one hand, I see some of my friends who came out of school without any loans. Some of their parents had saved, some of their parents took loans, some of their parents were able to pay throughout each year...several are trust fund babies. I can see where it is a huge bonus to them that they don't have loans to consider. They don't have that (still) hanging over their heads, and it has made their lives considerably easier.

    OTOH...I came out of school with ~$25k in debt. DH came out with about half that amount. My parents couldn't pay--it was that simple. I turned down any financial aid package that involved them taking out loans, and I deliberately took all of them. I also got scholarships that covered 1/2-1/3 of the total cost of school. Yeah, it sucks to have that hanging over my head. But I also knew that if I didn't keep my grades up I'd lose my loans and scholarship and I couldn't afford to go to school. I knew that once I graduated I had to find a job, because I had obligations waiting for me. I think that was good. I got over that early-20's angst pretty quickly because I had to, and I think that was a good thing.

    Shrug.
     
  16. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Yeah, i knew a couple of kids in high school who were homeless before they graduated for exactly that reason. One girl's mother changed the locks on her one weekend.
     
  17. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes. I think that changing majors is perfectly normal and to be expected in a lot of cases. You're right. A lot of fifty year olds don't know what they want to do with their lives. It's not fair to expect teenagrs to know what their parents might not. But there are also ways to minimize the impact -- by taking general ed courses early on, for example. I can understand an extra semester or even two. But two or three extra years? That sounds to me like a kid who wasn't ready for college.

    There's no harm in working for a couple years before starting undergrad.
     
  18. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    No kids here, as we know, but my policy (and we agree so far ;) ), is that we'll pay for kids college, IF they get some kind of scholarship too. I don't expect it to be anything huge, could just be a couple hundred bucks, but with so many scholarships, grants, etc, availalbe, I want my kid to put in the effort to earn at least one. Even if they end up choosing another school and not using that scholarship. Now, academic, sports, whatever, that part we don't care about. The issue is the emotional/responsibility investment of them knowing they put the work in to earn part of that college education, it's not just floating on parents money.

    That being said, I paid my own way, and am still paying. :p
     
  19. ireniecat

    ireniecat New Member

    I really wish this had been communicated to me when I was in college. My parents paid for all my college, and the result was not me feeling appreciative. Rather, the result was me feeling incredibly guilty, seeing how many of my friends did not get assistance from their parents. I spent my entire college career trying to alleviate that guilt while at the same time making my parents proud, including staying with a major ended up hating so I could still graduate in 4 years.

    That being said, I do think parents should contribute as much as possible to undergrad. But what is and is NOT expected should be clearly communicated, and the child should not made to feel guilty and worthless for accepting that financial assistance.
     
  20. wonderwoman

    wonderwoman Active Member

    I would like to have a college fund for my hypothetical future children, but if they go through high school being as careless I was about my grades, I'm not going to pay to put them through college so they can take a bunch of random classes with an undeclared major and sleep through them anyway. I'll save that money up all the while letting them know it's their choice whether it ends up being their college fund or my dream car/vacation fund.
     

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