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A Letter to BusyKid, from an overwhelmed parent…


parenting with special needsOn the show “Married at First Sight” counselor Pastor Cal often quips, “Marriage ain’t for sissies.” Most couples know this to be true. Add in parenting and even more resilience is needed. Add in special need parenting and well…give yourself a pat on the back for me if you’re also in this boat. 

Hi, I’m Lizzie. I’m fairly new to the BusyKid family but it’s already been a game changer for my household so I wanted to share our experience. I’m an entrepreneur with a bustling home and life. My partner is a service writer at a shop specializing in European cars and together we have three children ages 10, eight, and seven. 

Our eldest is diagnosed with Oppositional defiant disorder, Obsessive compulsive disorder, and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This means a lot of different things, but some of the more significant issues are having little control over compulsion, going against authority figures, having trouble staying cool when sensory input is too much, inability to get along with others, and remaining focused on tasks.

In my attempt to start teaching the kids about managing finances and also relating it to household responsibilities, I first created star charts for each. The stickers were doled out for chore completion, good behavior, and performance in school. The kids made lists of what they wanted to “cash” their stickers in for. It could be literal cash, a date with mom, candy, etc. There were several problems managing this system. 

  1. It didn’t provide an equitable visual. Our child who has a harder time with behavior, no interest in completing chores, and a difficult time working toward a long-term prize was not motivated and his chart showed it. 
  2. I’m busy! I would forget stickers and then the positive reinforcement that is so important in our home was ineffective. 
  3. We have the challenge of our son stealing as part of his ODD. 

I can’t even tell you what he has stolen at this point, it’s likely up to $70. We have had to take away his wallet, search his pockets, and keep all sweets locked away in our bedroom. I have woken up in the morning to find my baking almond bark shoved between couch cushions because he wants to get into something he’s not supposed to have so bad! His therapist advised us that it is critical to praise him when he does the right thing and bestow the positive reinforcement as timely as possible. 

It was just so tough to find those moments sometimes, I’ll be honest. I really needed help, I just needed something to be easier in our life. That’s when I started researching spending cards, I thought if we have a debit card instead of cash it will squelch the stealing. But as I started to look into our financial institutions, they didn’t have options for children outside of a savings account. That’s not really what I wanted because we live in a cashless society, and it didn’t seem too early in my mind at all to start teaching my kids about how to use a card. 

As I examined other options, I found a good variety but BusyKid really stood above the rest. Not only were the fees the most reasonable but BusyKid offered the best features with the ability to educate my children about spending, saving, donating, and investing. Plus, with the compensation for chores I could throw the star charts in the trash. 

It’s working so well for all our children. They’re excited to contribute to the maintenance of our home and even ask for extra chores to earn. They are empowered to make purchase decisions and also more careful about what they choose to spend their money on. They have researched some of the nonprofits on BusyKid and made contributions without me even asking them to. 

Timely positive reinforcement has become easier because they’re interested in the app and know how it works. After they’ve completed a chore, they come to me and select the “I did it!” button proudly. We have had no incidents of funds being stolen. And guess who has the most money on his card? Our oldest. 

I’m not saying we are rid of all challenges. My partner and I are often reduced to tears with how tough this can be, and we need professional support to help. My best piece of advice for any parent, but especially parents who have children who are atypical, is to embrace the concept of acceptance. In the hardest moments where my mind thinks “AH! This is too much! I didn’t ask for this!” He didn’t ask for this either. And I accept him and love him for who he naturally is. 

Despite any diagnosis, my son is still held accountable to rules and working toward personal growth. I’m grateful to BusyKid for making our life a bit easier and his growth possible. Their product is beneficial for every member of our family and the impact is more meaningful than one might think. So thank you BusyKid, from my heart.

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