Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Young Adult Credit Card Debt

Skills: Ownership of the Problem. Remembering NOT to Rescure. Natural Consequences Teach Valuable Lessons

A couple I know recently listened to their young adult child as he worried about his credit card debt. They were proud of how he'd been managing school and work after a serious period of being somewhat irresponsible earlier n adolescence. He didn't ask but they had "thought about" paying off his $2000 debt in full so that he would be relieved of the pressure of that burden. First though, they decided to ask a casual question. "When you get your credit card debt paid off in full, will you stop using credit and start living on a cash basis?"

His reply was, "You know credit cards are good for emergencies and help you establish a credit history." The Mom couldn't resist slipping in some sort of story so she said, "Your Dad and I always made the commitmernt to pay off anything we charged as soon as the bill came in. If we knew we couldn't do that, then we didn't charge it. We waited or went without. That helped us avoid paying interest and allowed us to save for emergencies."

The son's eye rolling response indicated that he thought that was a rather simplistic approach to life and there was nothing wrong with credit card debt. Realizing that if they paid off his debt he could potentially go on a spending spree (at least up to that $500 limit he mentioned), they decided not to make the offer. They think maybe the small burden of debt he has to pay off now might be a good thing for him to struggle with and figure out on his own. Not solving his $2000 problem may lead him to avoid a $20,000 problem down the road. Rescuing him would not be good for him in the long run. Because they'd recently taken Love and Logic, they decided NOT to OWN his problem and not to rescue him.

Note: This couple started using Love and Logic late in the teen years and saw an amazing difference in the amount of conflict in their home and in the level of responsbility they saw in their children. It's never too late. Maya Angelou said it well, "I did the best I could and when I knew better, I did better."

To check out the official Love and Logic website go to http://www.loveandlogic.com/

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