Parenting & Family

How to Help a Shopaholic brother?

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  • Feb 11th, 2018 11:13 am
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Jul 25, 2008
753 posts
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Toronto
I kind of have a spending problem, but its from buying extrememly discounted toys for my son... maybe to compensate for the lack of toys I had when I was a child. I never buy anything at full price...but I think its okay for me because I have kept all of the packaging and intend to resell after he outgrows them. Its also okay because I’m kind of financially well off? Lol, but I admit, I have a problem and its mostly due to Amazon and RFD.
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Oct 6, 2017
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He is 16 and working 56 hours? Doesn't he have school?
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Mar 9, 2012
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Counut wrote:
Dec 29th, 2017 10:23 pm
He is 16 and working 56 hours? Doesn't he have school?
Apparently he does do school, he's just not acing anything. Since he's 16, employment laws in Manitoba don't prevent him from working excessive hours.
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Sep 21, 2007
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Should teach him how to invest the money he's making..
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Mok122cobra wrote:
Dec 28th, 2017 2:33 pm
Both of my parent have been asking him to save his money. Before he got his debit card, my parents made him promise to get permission for the expensive things he buys until he turns 18 years old. That promise has since been broken.

This Black Friday he purchased a microphone for $200 without permission. My parents found out and asked him to return it. He did return it, but he sneakily went and re-purchased the same item on Amazon using a $450 pre-paid Mastercard that he claimed he won in a lottery.

My parents also told him to return the Google Home that he bought this Boxing Day. He said ok, but when my parents left the house he quickly tore the packaging open and ripped up the receipt.

He also took a pair of scissors to his old pair of Jaybirds and cut them in half and claimed he got the new one from "warranty".

He bought a diamond necklace from the jewellers for a girl he just met on snapchat. Neither me or my parents know who this girl even is or what her name is.

He bought around $400 worth of new release xbox one games before he realized he didn't own an Xbox One.

My brother and I previously had a long engaging conversation on how overpriced gym shark clothing was and how I got the same quality stuff from Sportcheck for $8. Next thing I know he has spent $300 on a couple gymshark t-shirts, and he doesn't even go to the gym. This just an example and something similar has happened at least five times on different occasions. I just feels so fake talking to him now.

My parents are in the same situation as me, they are tired of lecturing him and just decided to give up. My mom is in Vancouver currently decided to give him a call to ask him how we was doing and also talk about his spending habits. My brother hung up on her while she was talking. My parents have been difficulty saving up for many years to pay for his entire university education and they also are in talks of purchasing him a condo unit for him to live in once he goes to university, so his spending habits probably won't change too much once he gets into university.
If it makes you feel any better...
I know this one guy who had a cousin. He spent all his money just like your bro. Except he spent it on crack.

He also did messed up stuff like fake a home robbery and sold all his families stuff. They found out bc they saw the same stuff on kijiji...
He even sold his mom's wedding ring.
And another time he held a knife to his brothers neck bc he wouldnt give him more drug money.

Guy overdosed on fentanyl and died.
I guess the moral of the story is that at least you got a bro. Some people have no bro's at all... and some have bro's that threaten to slice their neck open for more crack.
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Oct 1, 2011
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OP, you sound way too obsessed about the details of your 16-year old brother's spending habits and other hobbies. I do take the side that currently, it IS money he has earned, so he should be allowed to spend it the way he wants. Forcing him to ask permission to use his own money just sounds like bad parenting.

I really think you and your parents should stop trying to control and dictate everything he does. You can be around to talk about money or anything else, other life skills, etc. but it sounds like you and the parents just want him to do as he's told, without respecting him as a person, without having come to an understanding of why he does these things, without having taught him much.

Stealing is unacceptable but a lot of his behavior sounds like a reaction to the strange parenting style and suffocating/naggy sibling.

You can set up the expectation that once he's 18 he will definitely be responsible for his end of chipping in towards shared living expenses such as rent, hydro, etc. And that not all of his schooling expenses (or a freakin' condo) will be paid for. You make him responsible for straightening out his priorities, instead of just trying to boss him around and using anger to get him to comply.
Mok122cobra wrote:
Dec 27th, 2017 7:03 pm
He buys very, very expensive gifts for all of his friends. As an example, he bought his friend Destiny 2 for $90. What did his friend get him? Three boxes of poptarts.
And this comment takes the cake. Are you seriously comparing, and criticizing his fellow teenage friend for buying him boxes of Poptarts?! What if the friend doesn't have the same means to give expensive gifts, it says nothing about whether the friend is a good friend or not.

Something is very strange in the description of the family dynamic here. So much based around money. Little concern or insight as to why he behaves the way he does, maybe he is depressed, maybe there's something that he feels is missing.
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Aug 15, 2015
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What he buys may be junk to you but not to him. From your post, I just feel like you know your brother's habit but maybe you don't understand him.

I would be concerned if he is making all of his purchases on credit card and not paying the full balance each month because interest accumulates so let him know about this concern at least. Speak to him with respect and show that you have a valid concern and that you want to bring it to his awareness in case it is something he does not already know.

To you, he might be buying garbage but he might be investing in equipments that he is using for something that you may not know. At least, he is not spending your parent's money or your money to buy his stuff. Some kids, just swipe their parent's credit card all the time and parents sit with them each month going where did this come from. At least your brother is working.
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Apr 9, 2008
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wat a messed up kid.

Unfortunately, if you pressure him too much, there is a chance he may leave home, get into bad company and start stealing to pay for his expenses and probably even drugs.

May be he needs a good friend who can be a good influence because he aint gonna listen to ya'll.
or even hook him up with some sensible girl who is not a gold digger and can put him on the right track but why would she..

or may be he is doing that to get attention or as a revenge from your parents for something he thinks your parent has done wrong such as giving you more attention than him.
Last edited by titaniumtux on Jan 5th, 2018 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Foul language
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Jun 8, 2008
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Does he live with your parents? Based on what you posted, it sounds like you live with your brother and your parents are living elsewhere. He's clearly irresponsible. If I were his parents, I'd be either telling him to pay for everything on his own (clearly he's making enough money to spend thousands of dollars on crap, may as well pay it on rent) and your parents are absolute idiots for even contemplating buying him his own place.
Newbie
Jan 3, 2018
34 posts
12 upvotes
It's his money so he can spend it the way he wants. Plus he has no dependents to support and no one is starving because he is buying things.
The only minor problem here is the messy room. It's tough to maintain a clean room when you work 56 hours per week and go to school. Make a suggestion in passing for him to consider spending money on a cleaning service. Do not lecture him. Focus & appreciate the positives about him.
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Sep 7, 2004
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I have a friend who is like your brother except in his 30's. The difference is he's jobless but lives the life of someone with a 6 figure salary because his S.O, his friends, and his parents/family constantly bail him out of every financial situation. He racks up thousands of dollars in credit card debt every few months and it's always erased by his parents/brother/sister. He gambles and takes out credit card cash advances and doesn't think twice about the consequences. He doesn't understand the value of money and he never will. He's basically amounted to nothing in his life so far and it's because his parents were so lenient with him as a child and now into his adult years.

Your brother is the youngest right? So is my friend and I'm not saying this is typical for parents but I think that my friends' parents expect him to basically amount to nothing and they are ok with that because his older siblings are wildly successful so they can afford to expect less.

I hope your parents don't buy your brother that condo. With his spending habits he'll get his first credit card when he's 18 and the he'll need to mortgage the condo when he's 20 to pay off his debts, and then he'll lose the condo to the bank by the time he's 25 because he can't control his spending.
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Oct 1, 2011
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wirebound wrote:
Jan 5th, 2018 3:23 pm
If I were his parents, I'd be either telling him to pay for everything on his own (clearly he's making enough money to spend thousands of dollars on crap, may as well pay it on rent)
He is 16, if his parents can afford to contemplate buying him a condo (which I also think they shouldn't), then they shouldn't force him to pay for rent or basic living expenses currently (such as heating, water). I think this would be a very unfair stance to take. However, they can perhaps warn him that when he is 18 they will expect some of that responsibility.

I've had 17 and 18 year old teenagers shoved onto me through high school co-ops who had zero practical skills and zero work experiences because they were either babied and/or had absolutely no initiative of their own. These type of adolescents have to be spoonfed what they learn or do, which I think is the worst.

At least OP's 16 year old brother has taken some initiative and seems to be exercising some of his own autonomy which I think is pretty important for teenagers to start developing, but even MORE so for young males. By forcing him to surrender the money he has earned (through his real job experience) or demanding him to ask permission on how to spend it; and totally invalidating his internal motivations (which we still don't completely understand because his own older brother hasn't figured it out)...it would be a form of external punishment or negative reinforcement. Many people in that type of situation would simply stop working. How is that any better for anyone here?
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Jan 2, 2015
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peanutz wrote:
Jan 6th, 2018 2:24 pm
He is 16, if his parents can afford to contemplate buying him a condo.. then they shouldn't force him to pay for rent or basic living expenses currently (such as heating, water). I think this would be a very unfair stance to take. However, they can perhaps warn him that when he is 18 they will expect some of that responsibility.

I've had 17 and 18 year old teenagers shoved onto me through high school co-ops who had zero practical skills and zero work experiences because they were either babied and/or had absolutely no initiative of their own. These type of adolescents have to be spoonfed what they learn or do, which I think is the worst.

At least OP's 16 year old brother has taken some initiative and seems to be exercising some of his own autonomy which I think is pretty important for teenagers to start developing, but even MORE so for young males. By forcing him to surrender the money he has earned (through his real job experience) or demanding him to ask permission on how to spend it; and totally invalidating his internal motivations (which we still don't completely understand because his own older brother hasn't figured it out)...it would be a form of external punishment or negative reinforcement. Many people in that type of situation would simply stop working. How is that any better for anyone here?
I disagree with if they can afford to buy him a condo, that he shouldn’t have to pay for basic expenses. It’s irrelevent if they can afford it or not, it’s not about the money, but rather about teaching him responsibility with money. The 16 year sounds pretty irresponsible with money even for a teenager. He has not learned any lessons yet. Having him pay a small amount for basic expenses would teach a life lesson that one doesn’t get spend everything they make. I wouldn’t make him pay it all, but since nothing is going to savings, then teaching him some mone6 has to go to expenses is fair.

If he was already saving some of his money, then fine, but he isn’t. I used be against having kids pa6 rent, but I am totall6 for it under certain circumstances. My in laws made my now spouse pay rent when he graduated university and was working full time. We thought it was so unfair, as he still had to follow their rules. He was also more responsible than OPs brother as he did save a little money, but blew it on a sport cars. He paid ren5 which was less than 1/2 of what you would find anywhere. It taught him that not all the money goes for his fun, and bills need t9 be paid first. When he was ready to move out, and had enough for a small down payment for his first place, his parents felt he had shown responsibility and gave back the money he had paid. The key was he didn’t know this would happen. My in laws said if he continued blowing his money, he would have been on his own. We plan to d9 this with our kids if they are blowing their money.

In terms of waiting til he is 18, parenting is almost done then. It’s should have been done much sooner for th8s Guy, but they should be reigning him in now while they still have a chance as he is a minor. He needs some boundaries, he has stolen, lied, and has shown irresponsibility.
On a 'smart' device that isn't always so smart. So please forgive the autocorrects and typos. If it brothers you, then don't read my posts, but don't waste my time correcting me. If you can get past the typos, then my posts generally have some value.
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Dec 15, 2015
356 posts
181 upvotes
Toronto
sit him down and explain that if he lets his money work for him he won't have to work 56 hours a week and can buy all the useless crap he wants too.

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