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Q. How much money do kids really need? My 16-year-old is always asking for cash to spend with friends, even when they're just meeting at the park. If we don't give it to him, he stays home.
A. I have the distinct feeling that you're being played. Far too many teens have no idea how hard parents work to make ends meet. By 16, your son should be earning his own money or getting an allowance based on completing chores around the house.
So sit down and show him a list of family expenses, including what it costs to take care of him. Then explain how much allowance you'll give him and what he has to do to get it (empty the dishwasher; take out the trash; walk the dog). Then the next time he asks, "Can I have 10 bucks?" smile and say, "I don't know, what's in your wallet?"
Originally published in the January 2009 issue of Family Circle magazine.