Wow, at that age I don’t see how it’s the schools responsibility to enforce rules about what the kid eats. When I was in high school our cafeteria was cash-only, so if I wanted to get snacks or lunch I had to have some dough on me. So either I packed myself a lunch and snack in the morning, or I spent my allowance on junk food at school. I very quickly learned that I’d rather eat mom and dads food than buy my own.
Money talks to kids that age (usually). Is there any way you can adjust his allowance so he can pay the school lunch bill himself? Then if he goes over budget it’s his responsibility. For most kids that age I would imagine after the first months bill they will adjust their behaviour accordingly.
I think the OP ought to come up with a way to get $6/week from the kid, because imho the issue isn’t one of food (he’s got food at home) but (more likely) because it’s now the cool thing to grab a bagel/donut from the school cafeteria among his friends. And at 15, he’s way old enough to do some real work around the house.
And maybe kids are different nowadays, but I can’t really seem to get behind the mental image of a 15 year-old boy relishing the act of pulling that granola bar out of his backpack while his friends all have Krispy Kremes. I’m just not buying it.
This reminds me of a field trip years ago where I witnessed a mother who gave her son 20.00 (it was the only bill she had) and asked the chaperon to make sure he did not spend more than 10.00 on snacks. The chaperon told her that there were over 20 kids to look after, and he could not monitor how her kid spent the money. She was personally affronted that he would not take the time to do this in the middle of taking care of these other kids.
You are transferring responsibility this matter from you and you child to the school, and that’s no where it belongs. They are there to teach him, not babysit his eating habits. You need to work on his personal discipline issues or do better job of giving him healthy snacks for when he is hungry. Lots of people are not all that hungry right after getting up, and 8-10 AM is when the morning appetite hits. Feed him less at home and give him some snacks he likes for the morning.
Calories in muffins - I aim for around 1500 calories per day - one muffin can be one third of my day’s food. The nutrional value of 1/3 of my day’s food is fat and sugar if I have a big muffin for breakfast. A 15 year old boy can probably handle a lot more calories than I can, but it’s still not a good food choice.
He’s not a little kid who needs his hand held. The best way to deal with this is to teach him about natural consequences. Here’s what you do:
You tell he that he is going to get a set amount of money in his account every week. That money is all he’s going to get for the week. You let him know that he can charge whatever he wants, whenever he wants, but when the money runs out, that’s it. He’s not getting any more until next week. If he wants to eat breakfast on monday and tuesday, he can, but then he can go hungry on thursday and friday. He will not die if he misses a lunch, and he will learn, on his own, how to manage a budget and how to determine the difference between what he wants and what he needs. This is a lesson that will serve him well whenever he leaves home later. This is a golden opporunity to teach him something about responsibility, money management and natural consequences. Seize it.
15?! That’s old enough to make your own food choices and way too old to expect the school to baby sit you. If grabbing breakfast at school is working for him, why wouldn’t you let him do that? $1.25 isn’t exactly busting the bank. I’m sure he has some reason why he prefers to eat there rather than at home.
Unfortunately for all of us, he has a history of lying about things. We’ve been trying very hard for years to instill a sense of honesty in him, and also responsibility (both financial and otherwise) but he is rather immature for his age and it doesn’t always feel like our progress is that fast.
While I agree that I need to work with Dominic on this problem, I also think that the school is wrong to give my son an open-ended line of credit that I will then have to repay. I think it sends absolutely the wrong message to the kids as well as putting me financially on the hook for something that I didn’t agree to.