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Today I will take away the debit card of my teenage boy because he still isn’t getting how it works. We put him on a cash only lifestyle with the goal of teaching him how to watch $50 sit in the checking account as an established minimum for emergency use only. This was the decision after months of frustration watching him blow through his money and keeping no balance in the account and even incurring overdraft charges due to debit emergencies such as hunger and thirst. So we helped him build up the base to $50 and set the goal of just leaving it there. It is money still present because he used restraint and never spent it for everyday needs. Until yesterday.

Yes, I might forgive him for buying a $6 Mother’s Day card with his look-at-but-do-not-use debit card because the sentiment is sweet, and impressively did not address his own certain starvation.

But there will be a new effort to find a way to teach this guy how to use the card, soon, before he leaves us for a year to live in South America learning other lessons we cannot possibly teach him.