My son came home from school and told me that he loaned $20 to his friend. This 'friend' lives a couple of doors down from us. I wasn't happy on several different levels. I like the boy to whom he loaned the money but at their age $20 is quite a bit of money. Loaning money to a friend, especially money that took a couple of months to save, can be trying for any friendship. I also found out that the loan was supposed to be a secret. Red flag! Why a secret?
I insisted that we tell his parents. I walked down to their door, and his grandmother pulled up just as I was about to knock. I told his grandmother that I just needed them to know that 'friend' had borrowed the money, because even though I am pretty relaxed as a parent (though they are not) I couldn't in good conscience allow secrets to be kept from the parents.
His mother knocked on my door, she was almost confrontational about it. She was adamant that her son wouldn't borrow money, and that they would be aware immediately if he had $20 because he is never out of their sight. I just calmly suggested that she night wish to ask her son about it.
She came back a few moments later to say that her boy admitted to owing mine the money when she told him that my son had knocked on their door to collect it. She further stated that her son would have to repay the debt on his own. They came back a little bit later with a $15 gift card to a store we don't usually shop at and $5. Granted, she asked my son if it was okay, while stating that the alternative was for him to wait until 'friend' earned enough allowance to pay the rest. My son agreed, mostly because he didn't want his buddy to be in trouble, but, he is bummed about it.
So...a few parenting fails here.
- Lying to your child to catch him/her in a lie...FAIL!
- She might have 'purchased' the gift card from her son, as they do shop there, instead of giving it to my son...FAIL!
- Being rude to another parent who is trying to do the right thing? FAIL.
The buddy used the money his parents had given him to pay for his elective class fees, to buy tickets to an in-school sports event instead. He used the money from my son to pay for his elective. The reason that I wanted his parents to know, was because I had all sorts of crazy stuff going through my head. I worried about the child being bullied, or about him using the money to experiment with drugs, and even about him being afraid to tell his parents that he lost money. I would have wanted to know, so that is why I told the parents. I even made it a point to tell their son that if he needed money for school, I would be happy to loan it to him, or even give to him, just as long as his parents know. I understand being strapped for cash, I've been there. If he ever needs money for a field trip, etc., I will be happy to help if I can. I just don't want secrets.