| As They Grow |

“Camp Looks Amazing. Also Costs a Fortune”

It does not make sense for you to put yourself out and work beyond your means for your daughter’s pleasure


Baruch Hashem, my life is extremely busy. It feels like there a million balls to juggle at any given minute, and I would say 80 percent of the time, I can keep my head above water. My husband works full-time-plus, I work more than 30 hours a week, we have a large family kein ayin hara, it’s a never-ending cycle of laundry and carpool and Shabbos-Yom Tov-simchah prep — normal frum life.
This year, my daughter has been mentioning that she really wants to go to the camp her friends are attending. It’s a traveling camp for three weeks, and really, it looks amazing. It also costs a fortune. We could probably swing it, if I add some more work at night and cut back on the already minimal cleaning help we have. But should I push myself to do something I’ll resent, and my daughter will will resent it if I don’t?



You and the women like you are the foundation of the world. Seemingly just mothers and wives, but in reality superheroes. You are role models of Torah, avodah, and gemilas chasadim. Relentlessly, with indomitable spirit, you go from task to task, all the while smiling. Your daughter is young and feeling a bit entitled (a subject we’ve dealt with previously in this column). It would be nice if she were looking at you and learning that life does not just hand you things, and that hard work, determination, and dedication enable you to provide for yourself and others.

It does not make sense for you to put yourself out and work beyond your means for your daughter’s pleasure. This is not a trip for her future, her ruchniyus, or her health. Living within our means is part of the responsibility we have in raising a family. Children who see parents living beyond their means do not learn crucial lessons for life. We need to live b’simchah with what we have — and that means completely b’simchah. The message underlying that cannot be, “We are sad that we cannot do certain things”; rather, it must be, “We are grateful and thankful for what we can do.”

You have to take charge of the dialogue. After you research the program and get comfortable with the trip, she needs to see that you are truly interested in her going. Tell her you would love for her to go, but you and your husband are working hard to provide for the family’s needs. Offer to go 50-50 on the camp expenses with her. That way you can help her halfway toward what she wants, while teaching her to take responsibility for the other half.

She has to know that on your end of the bargain, you will be adding hours to your work schedule; and she should know the fact that she will be paying for the other half is worthy of respect. This is true even if you have to help her be creative in determining how she will raise the money for her half. Maybe she can ask her grandparents to help. But it is important that some component of her effort include making some money. She will appreciate her summer so much more once she has taken some responsibility.

You cannot be afraid of her reaction. You are the parents, and you have to control the narrative. The conversation has to be clear — loving but factual. She needs to understand that this is the only way you can make it work. If she gets emotional, you must keep your equanimity; you may not feel guilty, because you are not doing anything wrong. You are helping your daughter get what she wants in a healthy and proper way. You want her to be able to attend the camp, but you do not want to be irresponsible, and you do not want to enable her entitlement.

Instead, empower her and allow her to find her strength and be successful. You will be giving her a gift for life.


When our oldest son bought his house, we were still paying tuition for several of our children, and supporting two of our newly married couples. They asked us for help, but unfortunately, we just didn’t have the money. Now it’s more than ten years later, and baruch Hashem, our financial situation has eased up quite a bit, although we aren’t wealthy. When our younger couples are ready to buy, we will have the money to help. Should we be gifting our older children randomly to make things fair?



Your dedication to your children is magnificent. The late Satmar Rebbe was reported to have said the biggest present-day miracle is how people marry off their children with such limited resources. No doubt part of that miracle is the help Klal Yisrael provides for those in need. Another part is the Hashgachah pratis that comes with every chasunah. Somehow we end up paying for the wedding costs and the many expenses of setting up the couple. In every country and every community, there are different protocols, but each shidduch comes about in some miraculous way.

Your older children had their weddings and made their decisions. They bought homes at a time you could not help them, and now they are managing. Your next children have new hashgachah, under which you are able to help them. If you are parents who feel that this new financial freedom obligates you to set your children up, then the younger children are your first priority. If you can now gift your older children without compromising your responsibilities for the younger children, then you are most certainly allowed to do so. You should let the older ones know how proud you are of them that they managed on their own.

You do not “owe” them that money, because in reality you do not “owe” your children the gift of setting them up. You do not have to make things “fair.” If you have the means, and you feel they will greatly appreciate it, then explain to them that you could not help them at the time but you would like to take the opportunity to lighten their burden, now that you can. It would be a kind and generous gesture.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 999)

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