Financial bullying among kids comes in many forms. Some blatant, some more subtle.
- An aggressive kid threatens a beating unless your child hands over money.
- A manipulative kid “befriends” your special needs child in exchange for financial favors. (Yes, this happens. Sadly.)
- A social clique “accepts” your introverted child as long as your kid’s picking up the tab for outings.
These can be tough situations for parents to detect. Financially bullied kids can be too intimidated, naive, or embarrassed to let Mom or Dad know.
Here's how you can shore up your kid's defense:
- Give your kid a prepaid or bank debit card, not cash. Bullies like cash for the same reason criminals do — no audit trail. Don’t make your kid an easy target.
- Limit the amount on the card. Keep a modest balance on the card. Transfer funds onto the card only as needed. That protects your kid from being cajoled into a big one-time purchase.
- Turn on real time transaction alerts. Get a card that allows you to receive text alerts whenever there’s activity on your child’s account.
- Review the transaction history. Sit down with your child and review the week’s transactions. That’s a good habit whether your kid’s being bullied or not.
With these measures, you can help your kid change the dialog in the confrontation:
“Hand over your money kid!”
“I don’t carry any cash.”
“Then buy me something with your card!”
“Are you sure? My parents get an alert every time I make a purchase.”
“Do it anyway!”
“I’d like to, but I only have $5 loaded on my card. Sorry.”
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