You folks with kids know what I mean. Trying to balance responsibility with freedom, trying to explain why you can’t have everything, and how important it is to plan for the future. Sometimes it feels as if you’re talking to a brick wall. Sure they hear you, but do they listen?

Take my son, for example. Heck, hardly a day goes by when we don’t have the eternal discussion regarding money, and what should be done, versus what would be fun. No matter how much money I bring home, no matter how big my paycheck is, we still end up going at it like two sharks fighting over a surfer at Malibu.

For instance, just the other day we got into a real screamer about tickets to see George Strait, and how buying the best seats would mean that we’d have to cut back on our grocery budget. But that wasn’t as bad as the day before when we were yelling at each other as to whether we could meet the car payment AND buy tickets for Ryan Adams and Kylie Minogue. Then there was that time last month when we fought for three days about what was more important – making this month’s mortgage payment, or seeing Cher, Eagles and Pearl Jam. It just never seems to end.

Responsibility. That’s the key to a financially secure home, and sometimes you have to make a decision. I mean, I’ve tried to discuss it with him, asking him what he thinks is more important – tickets for R.E.M. and Kottonmouth Kings or clothing and a college education, but sometimes I feel like I’m just not getting through to him. It just doesn’t seem to sink in. Furthermore… Furthermore… Oh, here he comes now.

“Hey, Dad! I was going over this week’s bank statement and what’s the story on this check made out to Ticketmaster? Didn’t we agree that we couldn’t afford Diana Ross tickets AND pay the insurance on the house? And what about this check that you wrote for GWAR tickets? Weren’t we going to use that money to get Mom’s wedding ring out of hock? And what’s with this withdrawal from the savings account? That was my paper route money. You didn’t spend that money on W.A.S.P. tickets, did you? That money was supposed go towards my college education. Honestly, I just don’t understand your priorities. Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know.”

See what I mean? Looks like I’m going to have another long talk with the boy. Man, it sure is tough being a parent.