:::: MENU ::::

Saying No is Hard


Do you ever get over saying “No” to your kids? Especially when it comes to things that are traditionally a right of passage? I’ve had to do that several times lately. And not only does it ache when I do it, but it continues to twinge a bit when it comes up again.

The two most recent examples are a class ring and a letterman’s jacket for Princess. I said “No” to both. I looked at my bank account and my own experience having received both items when I was younger.

First, they are both very expensive for what they are…the rings started at $300 and went up from there. And the jackets, the same. Even just one of them was more than I thought was worth it, let alone both.

Second, I looked back at my experience…I stopped wearing the jacket the minute winter was over my senior year of high school. And my ring…I have no idea where it went after high school. The next expensive jewelry piece I received was my engagement ring.

The combination of this evaluation led to a resounding “No.” But I can’t help but feel bad when I hear about the other kids getting their rings this week or seeing them wearing their jackets when I drop Princess off.

Financially, I KNOW this was the right decision. These are both items with a very short “life expectancy” as far as items go. I decided some years ago that I would much rather spend $$ on experiences versus stuff. But the reality is, I know Princess would really enjoy these items. I have found myself justifying expenses for Princess with “she works so hard and asks for so little.” It’s hard not to feel a twinge.

But I am standing strong. And continuing to try to make better financial decision, despite the heartache it may occasionally cause.





  • Reply JP |

    Yes, and I have another problem. Have you ever said yes to your kids when it went against everything you believe? Mine asked for $150 airpods, which we can afford. I tried everything to get her mind off of them, and finally succumbed(for Christmas). I do not believe these are worth the money but they were all she wanted. I think it sends a bad signal when perfectly fine earbuds are available for $10 with a cord. Plus I really think the kids want these for the wrong reason – as a status symbol.

    • Reply Margann34 |

      My daughter recently asked for a Fit bit. When I asked which functions she wanted, she really did not have an answer. She just said she wants one “because they are cool”. Needless to say, we are NOT buying her one. But she may end up getting one for Christmas from her cousin. I usually suggest a cheaper (but less “cool” ) alternative and suggest they buy it themself.

      • Reply JP |

        Good idea! On the airpods no other brand would do(for her anyway). I agree with the concept of letting them save part of the money then matching them – so they have to really prove they want the item. I am most interested in teaching good values, sometimes I’m successful and sometimes not. Peer pressure is real, I get it.

  • Reply Margann34 |

    Have you suggested to her that she save up some money and purchase them herself? Surley she will be receiving some money for Christmas. Don’t feel bad especially since you really cannot afford them. Remind her of all the other expenses you are covering for her like car costs and school expenses. You are doing what is best for her in the long run.

  • Reply ROsie |

    Would a compromise on a ring be a good option? When I was in high school, I thought the normal class rings were hideous and dumb. I knew I would never wear it after high school. I DID however love jewelry and knew I would love a nicer ring than I would get for a birthday or Christmas or something. I asked my parents if we could instead do a regular ring, and I could engrave it on the inside with my initials and graduation year. They agreed and I chose a gorgeous sapphire ring that was cheaper than any ‘regular’ class ring I would have gotten. I still wear it to this day. (Graduated in 2001.) We did the same thing for college (I still wear it), and my sister (who doesn’t wear rings) got a necklace for high school and earrings for college. (She still wears both.) My just thoughts for discussion where you could both be happy.

    I know nothing about letterman jackets… but is buying them used an option? Even goodwill or someone that graduated before and doesn’t wear it anymore. Replace the patches and name and it’s good to go, right? (No idea if that’s how things work….)

    • Reply Cwaltz |

      I actually was thinking the opposite of you. Many students want jackets because they letter in a sport. With princess in volleyball and cheer there is a very real possibility that she might want one because her varsity team members have one. I personally don’t know if she ever found a job to help pay for the really really expensive vehicle. If she did though I might offer her a month of non payment as a gift so she can decide for herself if she wants a ring or a jacket. Making her decide one or the other is a decent way to reach her that when we have money we often face choices and can not have all the things.

  • Reply Walnut |

    Princess seems pretty rational- spending some cash (Christmas/birthday/graduation gift maybe) on a nice coat or piece of jewelry with a longer shelf life might ease the pain of not having the cool thing her classmates have.

  • Reply Ellen |

    Class rings were a must in my house. There’s actually a Groupon for class rings right now for $55. My daughter brought to my attention because the Josten’s one she was looking at was more than what her dad wanted to spend. Maybe do that instead.

    Also in my kids’ school they had a different options from sweaters to coats for letterman jackets. Maybe there’s a cheaper option? Im on Princess’ side on this one. My ex husband and I wore out jackets all through high school. It was like a right of passage. There was just a sense of pride to it. My kids loved theirs as well and were all smiles everytime I had to pull out my sewing machine to put on a new letter or year patch.

  • Reply Christine Caruso |

    I received my class ring when I graduated from high school. I love mine – it’s far more delicate than typical class rings. I graduated 18 years ago and I still wear mine on occasion. If it’s important to her, she’ll find a way to save the money.

  • Reply Melissa |

    I am just guessing but with her on Volleyball and cheer the other girls will have them. I am inclined to say yes on Jacket and I got a nice ring instead of a class ring and still wear it 30+ years later.

  • Reply Alexandria |

    My parents said no to everything. I Wasn’t happy at the time, but as an adult I appreciate it. I would have no use for a class ring, even if I really really wanted one when I was 16 or 17.

    That said, it doesn’t really come up with my kids. I didn’t want to give them unreasonable “no’s” when they could save up and buy something. (I didn’t want to *always* say no, like my parents did). From age 5, we may mostly say no, but they have always been welcomes to buy whatever they want with their own money. If it’s a class ring that they think was a dumb purchase a few years later, that’s a lesson for them. Better to learn at 5 or 16 than to learn these lessons for the first time as an adult. My kids are now 14/16 and I can’t remember the last time they asked me for anything. They know the drill. If they want it, they need to figure out how to pay for it. I am actually kind of fascinated what a large difference it has made to take the “no” out of the equation. I admit I felt too deprived and didn’t learn a lot of these lessons until adulthood. My kids wouldn’t even be interested in class rings because they have other priorities. For example, they’d rather have a car. All this to say I absolutely agree with the” no”, but at least offer her an option to figure out for herself. This will help her so much in dealing with her finances in the future.

    • Reply Alexandria |

      P.S. There’s probably two outcomes. 1 – She cherishes the ring and is so happy she worked so hard to figure it out. 2 – She regrets the ring and is less likely to make the same decision next time. Either way, it’s a good lesson to learn.

  • Reply Cheryl |

    Instead of working for a car she isn’t driving yet, let her buy the ring or jacket. Need to learn now wants and needs and you can’t have everything you want.

  • Reply Joe |

    Come on, a great financial decision was made (to not buy these two overpriced status symbols) and now it seems most everyone wants to undo it? We are talking about $600+ here, an amount that used wisely will pay for so much more down the line, irrespective of whose pocket it comes from. This is doubly true given that things finally appear to be turning around on the financial front and now is the time to consolidate those gains!

  • Reply SMS |

    I am confused. Don’t kids get rings their senior year? If so, wouldn’t Princess have time to save up money to get a ring and/or jacket if she really wants one? If she does it that way, it would be an exercise that would stand in good stead later. She might find after a while that she doesn’t really want these things.
    In any event, a good financial decision, Hope!

    • Reply Megan |

      We got ours during our Junior year so that we could wear them during all of Senior year I think. I think the tradition varies a bit with every school.

  • Reply Megan |

    One of friends in high school skipped the traditional senior class ring gig and got a nice opal ring that she picked out with her mom instead. She still wears her ring. Mine has been in a box somewhere for a very long time. There are better commemorative items.

  • Reply jj |

    I never wear my university ring. The jacket would be better, but maybe she can offset the cost with any christmas money/job money? Otherwise, they are definitely both frivolous.

  • Reply Laura |

    You’ve said that she was very level headed and hasn’t had any problems with being a have-not at a rich school, but this seems like exactly that issue. She’s a captain on sports teams and was specifically enrolled in the school for these sports, but now she will be ostracized for not having the uniform (yes, a varsity jacket is a social uniform) that it requires. By giving into the private school, the high end uniform, the high end car, the individual drop offs (instead of the bus), you’ve set her up for this situation. She’s been taught she gets what she wants, except if mom personally didn’t value it for herself. It’s set her up to fail.

So, what do you think ?