Parents, Stop Acting Like What Is Actually A Privilege Is A Necessity

Last week a parent in a private parenting group I'm in on Facebook asked for advice on how to buy a car for their teenage daughter. She wanted to know what other parents were considering when shopping for their teen's first car - how did they find good deals, how much did they spend or plan to spend, how much the teen contributed to the purchase, how did they shop with confidence the history of the car, etc.
Some of the commenters gave great advice and pointed to a few car buying websites where you could get a full history of a car and even do all of the negotiations online. Some discussed how their teenagers had a savings account, and when they bought the car or a job, helped pay back part of it to mom and dad, or cover monthly gasoline and insurance costs.
But a couple of parents came over to say that they had bought their child a really nice car and were not asking anything in return from the child. Parents would buy new or almost new cars for their teenagers, sometimes take a whole extra car payment, pay extra insurance and gasoline, and not charge the child to help out because "school comes first" or "they are." too busy. "One mother said she bought her child a car and had to spend $ 12,000 because there was no way she could get anything cheaper and trust that it was safe enough.
Look, I try not to judge the way other parents raise their children and to really turn myself off when your family is doing this and you are reasonably sure that you are not raising a sociopathic fool. You do you boo. But ... it is this last comment that deals with safety that started my problems, especially since few other parents came over to agree - you just can't get a safe car for less than $ 10,000. There is no way they would let their child drive an older model car. So dangerous!
Do these parents even hear each other?
The car I drive is likely worth about $ 5,000 at this point. I bought it almost new 11 years ago and plan to use it until it shrinks and dies on the side of the road because I love not paying for a car. Plus, it's going great because I've taken care of it. Not that I knock someone who has a car payment or pays shit for a car. Whatever. It's your money, of course, spend it how you want. But ... my car is not safe? Isn't it good enough to drive around my kids? My teen is still a year away from their license, but am I a bad parent for not moving up? Don't I love my children or worry about their safety as much as these parents who think it's absolutely necessary to spend at least $ 12,000 on a car for a 16 year old? I guarantee that none of my children will drive a car that is worth more than everything I drive. But according to the logic of these parents, I am not concerned about their safety, or at least not as concerned as they are.
These one-percenter parents have gotten themselves into the idea that they “may not” expose their children to an unacceptably dangerous situation. They present this oversized fear for the safety of their children as if it is the most obvious, normal fear in the world that simply needs to be alleviated. It's a small price to pay for my child's safety, they insist, probably with their hands clasped over their chests, as if the other 99% of the population didn't just have to choose the most affordable option and hope for the best.
Fellow parents, if you have the money to get the most out of all of these things, please understand that this is a privilege. Even a luxury. It is not a necessity like food, water and shelter. Realize that. If you were to tell a group of parents with mixed financial means that many of them may not be able to afford a car for their child at all, and may not even be able to afford a car, you wouldn't dare any less than Spending ten grand for your tender angel baby, because "security" sounds like incentives and privileged AF.
Seriously, get your kid the car you want and spend all you want. But don't throw "safety" into the conversation to confirm your spending, as if other parents who can't afford to spend that much aren't also concerned about the safety of their children. All parents worry about the safety of their children, but not all parents can drop several thousand extra dollars to increase the likelihood of that security. If you are paying extra to keep your child safe, but don't talk about it as if it were a necessity, like you need to love your child more than other parents because you are "willing" to think about the extra money. Not everyone has extra money. Parents do their best with the resources available to them.
Whether it's the best snowshoes to keep your children's feet dry in winter, the most expensive violin to give your child that extra swing for those youth symphony auditions, or expensive tutoring to make sure a child is safe Algebra II exists - all of this is fantastic if you can afford it, but each of these things is a privilege and a luxury, not even near a necessity. Please do not present them as one. It is disgusting. Other parents who care about their children's success and safety feel just like trash. If you can afford the extras that will give your child a leg up, it's these - the extras that will give your child a leg up. Does not need. No proof that you care enough or more than other parents.
Seriously, do what you want. But have a little bit of confidence talking about this stuff or you will look like an unsuspecting, insensitive idiot.
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