Teen job and driving woes

December 12th, 2011

© Can't Buy Me Love

As Featured in the December 9, 2011 Ask Daft Daddy column in the The Orange County Register :

My wife Jeni and I are getting ready for our first Christmas with wee Mac. Although wee Mac is only 14 weeks old, soon he’ll be old enough to know Santa Claus isn’t real, reindeer can’t fly, and why there are two bowls of eggnog on the table.

People tell me to enjoy this time, because soon wee Mac won’t be so wee. Soon he’ll be a teenager. Apparently teenagers are similar to cats – neither turn their heads when you call them by name, they both lie on the couch for hours without moving, and although you wait on them hand and foot, nothing is good enough. But for now he’s 14 weeks old, not years, and he thinks I’m the greatest dad in the world.

So without further ado, let me get to the Daft Daddy mail bag:

Dear Daft Daddy: My 14-year-old son is always complaining that he doesn’t have enough money. He gets what I think is a generous allowance for doing certain chores around the house such as doing laundry and mowing the lawn, but his money needs are increasing. Should I make him get a job?

– Doug from Sunset Beach

Dear Doug: Unless you are Kathie Lee Gifford, there are certain child labor laws in the State of California that need to be followed. With a work permit, 14-year-olds can work in the State of California with restrictions.

If you don’t think your son is responsible or mature enough to have a job, there are other ways he can earn money. He can deliver newspapers, babysit, or even mow your neighbor’s lawn. The latter seemed to work out pretty well for Ronald Miller. He even managed to make enough money to make a deal with the most popular girl in school to be his girlfriend for a month so he could break into the cool crowd.

So the next time your son complains about not having enough money, let him know he can legally get a job and make all the money he wants. Who knows – he may be so happy about working that he breaks into song and dance. Just hope the dance he breaks into isn’t the African Anteater Ritual.


Dear Daft Daddy: My daughter turned 16 and has saved enough money to put a down payment on a car. To be honest, the thought of her driving scares me to death. So I gave her a list of rules that I want her to follow with her new car, but she feels I don’t have the right to make any rules because she is the one who is paying for the car. She is calling me unreasonable. Am I?

– Jessie from Dana Point

Dear Jessie: I suppose it depends on what rules you’re setting. If one of your rules is to never get in the way of a car that needs extensive bodywork, I would say you’re fine. If one of your rules is to honk your horn the instant the light turns to green, then that would be bad.

At the end of the day, rules are not unreasonable. Even Cher Horowitz had to follow her dad’s rules, and she was clueless. Your daughter needs to know that you’ve allowed her to have the privilege of owning a car. That’s a big freedom, but it doesn’t mean that there should be no stipulations on it. Everything comes with rules, even for adults.

So would I call you unreasonable? No – not to your face. As if!


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