Help! My son is always asking for money
Take the time to explain to your son that his negative behaviours will not yield positive results
My son, who is a teenager, has begun asking me for money to ‘fulfil’ his needs. These aren’t small amounts like Dh100 or 200, but Dh500. When I refuse, he shuts himself into a room, threatening not to eat or drink. What can I do? — Ananya
I can see that your son’s behaviour creates a difficult parenting situation for you, because you don’t want to see him harm himself. It sounds like he is trying to hold you hostage with his negative behaviours when he does not get his way. Shutting himself into his room, and threatening not to eat or drink, is emotionally immature. Your son is a teen and needs to learn to communicate his disagreement and issues more appropriately.
Dubai offers many temptations to spend money on material things or entertainment. Your son’s desire to have money is understandable. Not having money can mean that a teen is excluded from activities with peers, which can be an emotionally painful experience.
I suggest you have a family meeting and find out from your son what he needs money for and how much he thinks he needs on a weekly basis. If you are in the financial position to be able to give him pocket money, an appropriate amount can be agreed upon.
You might also want to look at what chores he could do around the house to earn his pocket money. Teach him about budgeting his money and the need to save for something that is more costly. He will learn to delay gratification, which will serve him well in life. I would also find it useful to explore and discuss activities that do not revolve around shopping malls and paid entertainment.
I would also take the time to explain to your son that his negative behaviours will not yield positive results, meaning that you will not give in. Teach him how to use his words to express disagreement, to present a good case for why he might need more money, and to accept when you decline his wish.
(Dr Annette is integrated psychotherapist at CHMC, Dubai. Got a query? Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org)