A few years ago I found a great artist, and he's been my favorite artist, and a huge inspiration for me ever since then. I was only 10 when that happened, so I obviously wasn’t old enough to commission art from anyone at the time. I’m 13 now, and now that I'm old enough to get money here and there from whatever extra work I can do around the house, and I'm comfortable with my fursona (I haven't changed him in forever and I don’t plan to because I'm really happy with him), I feel like it’s about time to commission him. I saved up enough money, and asked my parents as soon as I noticed I had enough, but they said no? They've always been supportive when it comes to me being a furry, and an artist, and liking other people's art and stuff like that, but they said that buying art from him would be a waste of money. When I asked why they said because "you can't do anything with it but look at it (because it's digital art)". I tried explaining to them why people buy art of their characters, and how long I had been wanting to commission him, but they continued to say it was a waste of money. I then said it wasn't fair since I earned the money myself, but they said it was basically their money, since they paid it to me and I'm still a kid. I'm really upset, and confused on what to do. Should I keep trying to help them understand, or just wait till I'm old enough to have a real job? Or do something else? Thank you!!
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This is an excellent letter, and thanks for sending it (and sorry for the slow reply). Okay, so what we are dealing with here is, essentially, a verbal contract between you and your parents in which they pay you some money to do some chores around the house, and they agreed that the money is yours. However, they then apparently are under the impression that they can tell you how to spend it or not to spend it.
*Buzzer noise* Wrong-o! That is SUCH the wrong message to teach your child, which is essentially saying “We let you hold the money but it’s really still ours.” Sheesh. There are a number of articles online you can reference (for example, this one from KidsHealth) about how to handle allowances, which is basically what you are doing. Some parents give kids an allowance without asking anything in return; others pay an allowance for the kids doing chores around the house.
Now, what is the purpose of an allowance in exchange for chores? It should be for a couple of things, mostly as an instructional tool:
What I would suggest to you, then, is that you approach your parents and tell them you would like them to help you learn how to save and spend money wisely and that you would like to open an account at your local bank. Many banks have what is called a “teen bank account.” You will have to have a minimum deposit, but usually it is quite low, such as $25. Now, don’t let your parents fool you: in most cases, you do NOT need them to have their names on your account. Insist that the account be in YOUR name and your name only. BUT! Be completely open with the account. Promise them they can see your statements any time they wish. Do not hide your spending and saving habits from them as this will develop mistrust on their part, and you don’t want that. Finally, it must be understood by them that, once they give you money in exchange for chores as agreed upon, it is YOUR money, not theirs.
Next, talk to them about budgeting. Agree to a sensible plan in which you save a percentage of the money you make each year, BUT you also are allowed a certain percentage for discretionary spending. This means buying anything you wish that is fun. After all, part of the fun of having money is spending on toys, right? You can’t tell me your parents never spend money on something frivolous.
This brings us to the example of the art you wish to buy. They say you are wasting money on art because, “You can't do anything with it but look at it (because it's digital art).” I guess if that’s your attitude then a Picasso or a Monet is also a waste of money because you can only look at it. That’s just plain stupid. So it’s digital art? So what? If you wish, you could print it out on some nice photo-quality paper and frame it. Would that make it more legitimate? Plus, once you have this artwork of your fursona, you can use it over and over again: as a badge, as a shirt (you can print things easily on shirts these days, or anything else that matter, such as a phone case or an ornament), you can use it as an avatar, and on and on. Endless uses for the art. And, most importantly, it makes you happy. If they are truly supportive of you being a furry, then they should be made to understand that an avatar of your fursona is very important.
If you are still having problems with this, then I would suggest you find an income from another source, such as raking lawns, shoveling snow, doing odd jobs for your neighbors, and so on. Then they definitely cannot pull the “it’s really our money” baloney on you.
Hope that helps.
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