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Keep it equitable between kids?
Old 09-23-2021, 01:43 PM   #1
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Keep it equitable between kids?

In need of advice - DW, youngest child (15), and I started a new hobby, SCUBA, and we're loving it so far. Oldest child (17) has no interest at all in learning SCUBA. I'm quickly learning just how pricey this new activity can be.
In our house, I preach FIE (Fair Isn't Equal). However, this is kind of a unique situation and I really don't want to cause a sibling rift right before the oldest leaves for college. It's never been an issue before as they've both participated in the same activities.

I considered averaging the cost of the classes & gear per person and giving the same to the oldest to pursue an educational hobby / or open a custodial and let him invest that amount? Any other ideas? Am I overthinking?
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Old 09-23-2021, 01:49 PM   #2
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It's been a long time, so maybe you could tell us what scuba costs now to start. I'm thinking $2K.

I can see why being preachy can backfire (Fair Isn't Equal)

How about asking the kid going to college what they think they might need or let them know you will pay for $2K worth of computer/books etc. Of course this won't work if you were planning to pay for those for both anyhow.
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Old 09-23-2021, 02:02 PM   #3
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I quickly found out that PADI means Put another dollar in.
I treat my sons equally, but only one had children, so I set up 529 accounts for them. I have given an equivalent amount to the other son.
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Old 09-23-2021, 02:16 PM   #4
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Wait till they want to come golfing with you !!!!!!!!!

round of golf is not cheap and price of clubs is lots.
But it does make me smile when DD cusses like a sailor on golf course. She learned it all from me ;-)
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Old 09-23-2021, 02:25 PM   #5
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WD40, I would say you're over thinking it. Is this the FIRST time that one son hasn't participated in the same equal cost activity that the other son did? If so, that is amazing!
When my daughters were growing up, one was a dancer and the other was a club soccer player. Both involved a certain amount of costs but we never tried to "keep it equitable" in terms of $ spent.
Today, the dancer daughter has two girls, one who is a gymnast and the other does dancing and by far, the gymnast costs much more with private lessons in addition to the regular classes, etc.
If the older son has a particular hobby or activity he would rather do than Scuba, then by all means, pay for it, but I wouldn't think it has to be of equal value necessarily.
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Old 09-23-2021, 02:26 PM   #6
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It's been a long time, so maybe you could tell us what scuba costs now to start. I'm thinking $2K.

I can see why being preachy can backfire (Fair Isn't Equal)

How about asking the kid going to college what they think they might need or let them know you will pay for $2K worth of computer/books etc. Of course this won't work if you were planning to pay for those for both anyhow.
$2k is about what I'm estimating per person.

Preachy was probably the wrong word choice - when the "dad" voice has to come out It rarely happens as they're both great kids (take after Momma)

529's / scholarships should have college covered.
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Old 09-23-2021, 02:55 PM   #7
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OP - I understand where you’re coming from. It’s one thing to miss a dinner out with the rest of the family. This is a bit different.

Even if the kids have a fantastic relationship with each other and you, in my experience this is one of those things that can get mentally filed away by the children.

If the dollars are significant, as one of the other posters mentioned perhaps some sort of financial assistance in another area makes sense. It sounds like something DW and I would have done.

Best of luck in your decision…
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Old 09-23-2021, 03:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WD40 or duct tape View Post
In need of advice - DW, youngest child (15), and I started a new hobby, SCUBA, and we're loving it so far. Oldest child (17) has no interest at all in learning SCUBA. I'm quickly learning just how pricey this new activity can be.
In our house, I preach FIE (Fair Isn't Equal). However, this is kind of a unique situation and I really don't want to cause a sibling rift right before the oldest leaves for college. It's never been an issue before as they've both participated in the same activities.

I considered averaging the cost of the classes & gear per person and giving the same to the oldest to pursue an educational hobby / or open a custodial and let him invest that amount? Any other ideas? Am I overthinking?
You gave both of them the opportunity to learn to SCUBA and participate... that is equal.... the fact that one chose to participate and the other didn't is on them, not on you.

I have a similar issue. We paid 4 years of tuition, room & board, etc for DD. DS has, thus far, chosen not to go to college (and is doing fine). A part of me thinks that at some point I should be generous with DS to start to even things up... the other part of me says that they were given the same opportunity so its not on me.

BTW, I periodically remind DS that if he decides to go to college or even just take some classes that we will gladfully pay for it.... academics just isn't his thing.
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Old 09-23-2021, 03:37 PM   #9
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Have you paid for hobbies for the son who doesn’t want to dive? If yes, and he just doesn’t care to join you with the SCUBA, I wouldn’t worry about it. At age 17 he’s old enough to get beyond the “it’s not fair!”

Both of our daughters played multiple “travel” sports. Some years we spent more on one kid, some years more on the other. It depended on how far/often the particular teams traveled. I never added it up but I suspect we spent more on the younger because she played on higher level teams that routinely traveled out of state. But we never had to say “no” to either one due to financial constraints, so it was equal.

A couple of years ago we did make things equal by gifting DD1 and her husband money. We paid for their relatively small wedding, but DD2 followed up 16 months later with a big bash. They each had the type of wedding they wanted and I don’t think the older sister felt cheated, but we felt better making the dollar amount equal.
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Old 09-23-2021, 03:39 PM   #10
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"No one said life was fair, at least no one said it to me" (name the movie and character)

To OP, yes, I think you are overthinking this. Simply ask the older sibling if there is something THEY would want to do, as a family or on their own. You may find they say "No thanks, I'm fine" and really mean it. Or, they may want to sky dive.
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Old 09-23-2021, 03:51 PM   #11
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I'd probably just keep track of the expense, and then, if/when other child asks for something, you are ready. I wouldn't offer up an immediate balancing, but kind of just be ready for when the time comes. You don't want the 17 year old going.. Hmm ok I guess I'll try horseback riding... just because the money is being offered.

Better to have a plan for when there is a need, vs. other kid finding something just to spend the money because it's offered. So, in 18 months or 5 years, when other kid (yes I realize they'll be out of the house then) has a desire you can help with, you step in with an offer.
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Old 09-23-2021, 03:57 PM   #12
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I wouldn't worry about it. Son #1 will be coming after you for money to go to Spring Break soon enough.

It's going to balance out sooner than later with him.
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Old 09-23-2021, 04:01 PM   #13
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I wouldn't worry about it at this time. Son #1 is going off to college, and he'll be coming to you for the money to go on Spring Break.

It's going to balance out sooner than later.

I recently went to the dive shop to get a new mask. I couldn't believe that the prices start at $100 and go up from there.

Last time I went to dive at Cozumel, my BC bladder had rotted and blew up. I just trashed it. It was a good time to throw away my PADI card and retire from the sport permanently.
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Old 09-23-2021, 08:04 PM   #14
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We never did the equal thing. Youngest went to college and grad school, my oldest didn't want to go. I darn sure am not handing him 40k just to even things out ��

I'm also in the "you're overthinking" this group.

My older brother was a professional drummer, as long as I can remember he had some kind of music lesson, I never ever felt any kind of animosity or upset because I didn't get music lesson.

Your kids will be fine.
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Old 09-23-2021, 08:21 PM   #15
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I recently went to the dive shop to get a new mask. I couldn't believe that the prices start at $100 and go up from there.

Last time I went to dive at Cozumel, my BC bladder had rotted and blew up. I just trashed it. It was a good time to throw away my PADI card and retire from the sport permanently.
Retire from diving? Sacrilege! In January I will celebrate 30 years of being an Advanced Open Water diver. Just returned from 13 dives in Roatan. "Diving is life, everything else is just surface interval". Okinawa, Kenya, California and now Roatan. Adding St Croix in November and Bonaire in February.

OP, I'm in the over thinking it camp. Don't keep score.
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Old 09-23-2021, 09:49 PM   #16
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I'm in the "keep it reasonably equal" camp.

We're not talking about equalizing tuition at an Ivy League vs. A/C school, this is pure recreation. But with an eye on finding something(s) one can do to stay active and fit for decades.

I would keep a mental tally of what this fun for the younger is costing and encourage the older to explore physical activities they can pursue well into adulthood - cycling, tennis, racquetball come to mind. Make a comparable amount available to him to try a few things. He doesn't need to know the $$ you have earmarked, just encourage him to look at things.

If my parents had done something like this, maybe I wouldn't have sat on my a$$ for years before discovering how much I like riding a bicycle and the physical challenges I can create for myself when in the mood.
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Old 09-23-2021, 10:41 PM   #17
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Retire from diving? Sacrilege! In January I will celebrate 30 years of being an Advanced Open Water diver. Just returned from 13 dives in Roatan. "Diving is life, everything else is just surface interval". Okinawa, Kenya, California and now Roatan. Adding St Croix in November and Bonaire in February.



OP, I'm in the over thinking it camp. Don't keep score.


St. Croix has great diving. If you stay at Cane Bay, there is an awesome wall right offshore you can swim out to and explore at your leisure. We spent two weeks there in 2015 and loved it. The restaurants on STX were a notch up from the other USVI.

Bonaire also has nice diving. We saw seahorses and frogfish there.
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Old 09-23-2021, 11:24 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by WD40 or duct tape View Post
In need of advice - DW, youngest child (15), and I started a new hobby, SCUBA, and we're loving it so far. Oldest child (17) has no interest at all in learning SCUBA. I'm quickly learning just how pricey this new activity can be.
In our house, I preach FIE (Fair Isn't Equal). However, this is kind of a unique situation and I really don't want to cause a sibling rift right before the oldest leaves for college. It's never been an issue before as they've both participated in the same activities.

I considered averaging the cost of the classes & gear per person and giving the same to the oldest to pursue an educational hobby / or open a custodial and let him invest that amount? Any other ideas? Am I overthinking?
You're definitely overthinking this. I am all for being fair, but it's really not practical to try to balance out costs of activities/hobbies spent on each child, as they can have completely different interests and hobbies.

You're already being fair by offering the same recreational opportunity to each child. If a child declines, then that's definitely not on you.

Focus on being fair on the big stuff---funding college education, cars, annual cash gifts, inheritance, etc. A few 100s/1000s difference in costs of activities when they are young won't (and shouldn't) make a difference to kids.
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Old 09-24-2021, 06:20 AM   #19
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Thanks all so much for the input. I'll need to sleep on it a few more times I suppose. The other wrinkle and perhaps why this is bugging me in my gut is the older (not in scuba) has been the chronic "scorekeeper" since childhood. The younger not at all. Although the older is maturing and turning into a good young man, we still catch glimpses of the "playing favorites" attitude.
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Old 09-24-2021, 06:41 AM   #20
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One more point here - the younger son isn't doing scuba on his own, right? he's doing it with the whole fam, minus older sib.

It's not like you're paying for lessons and gear and sending youngest off to scuba school. This is a family activity in which he is partaking. Just comes with a price tag, for everyone. So it's not like...Jimmy got guitar lessons let's put money aside for Joey to get a piano.

I wouldn't openly encourage a sleepy and somewhat less sociable 17 year old to get up and start bike riding or what have you. At this age that's more likely to backfire than not. As a formerly sleepy antisocial 17 year old, I'd have done it for a week to shut you up and never again. So, hold off on that. I mean when did you ever start a physical activity because your parents told you, and it stuck? You'd be in the minority. And the older may read into that.. "I'm trying to throw money at you so you'll be more like Jimmy"

So I'd leave well enough alone if everyone is doing ok otherwise, and just help "Joey" get through this last year and graduate and get off to college or whatever, ready to help out when they express a good idea.
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