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QUESTION: I cannot afford groceries for my boyfriend’s teenage son: Advice?
“My boyfriend and I live together with his 15-year-old and my eight and 5-year-olds, all boys. With our arrangement, I buy the groceries; his 15-year-old won’t stop eating, I can’t afford to spend almost $300 a week on groceries. I told him when I bought a box of cereal to eat for breakfast, that it’s for all the kids. Two days later, it’s almost gone! I’ve talked to him multiple times about this, and I talked to my boyfriend about this, and nothing changes.
I just can’t afford all the food he eats! And he just flat out does not listen at all about anything. He even tries to manipulate the little ones into doing something he wants to do that they don’t fully understand, to the point where they almost emptied their piggy banks so the 15-year-old can get a switch. I was able to stop it, but the little ones got mad at me because he said they could “borrow” it from time to time. I just don’t know what to do with this guy. Also, his mom died when he was a young age, so everyone coddled him growing up. Any ideas or suggestions??”
The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.
“Not sure about everyone else, but cereal is not filling. If I give my 13 year old cereal every morning, he will be hungry 30 minutes later. Perhaps make them protein filled breakfasts, such as scrambled eggs maybe?”
“You have not entered the teenage realm of parenting yet so I’ll say this nicely. Feed the boy! You don’t have one single complaint that isn’t something a normal teenager doesn’t do. Your boys will be in the same boat and I’m sure you won’t build any kind of resentment towards them. If you keep this up your relationship will not work with your boyfriend. You may have to mature a bit and love him like your own.”
“In my experience boys seem to be a bottomless pit. More filling meals helps tremendously. Also you can do meal prep methods that help. Like cook extra burgers or hotdogs or basically anything that has a meat base to it for warming up sausage even works for breakfast ideas. As snacks use peanuts or almonds they are more filling but have a more lasting protein base since that is what they are. Also cheese snacks hard cheddar cheese can actually be filling takes longer for them to chew giving the feeling of being satisfied. Good luck after all he is a boy and your own children have yet to be his age.”
“Growing boys need loads of food at that age. Perhaps the cereal is not filling enough. I know when I eat cereal it feels like I’m eating air and could finish a box in a few days if that’s all I had for breakfast.”
“Cheap, filling, healthy snacks to buy in large quantities he can fix himself: microwave baked potato w butter, sour cream (or plain yogurt) or cheese; plain yogurt with honey, syrup or jelly, bananas, oatmeal, pizza kits, soup (homemade, boxed or canned), baked beans, 90-second rice/grain packs on sale, or make a bunch of brown rice & put it in containers to reheat when he’s hungry. Quinoa is quick and easy to fix, is filling, and is a complete protein. Make more vegetarian meals. Teach him (or have someone) teach him to shop & cook economically & have the little ones learn too. They can get dinner on the table periodically. Baked beans, rice & cut-up tofu hot dogs make a good cheap, filling meal & the rice counteracts the grassiness of the beans. Have the boy babysit, mow lawns or do odd jobs for neighbors to earn money & let him use that to buy extra snacks & drinks.”
“Sounds like he needs to be eating more filling meals than just cereal. 15-year-old’s eat a lot going through puberty and with growing bodies that’s to be expected but he needs to eat healthy and filling foods like fruits and veggies and protein.”
“Buy healthy food. After cereal is gone don’t buy any more. My son will eat cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I let him. He’s 12. So once cereal is gone he has no choice but to eat what I make or what we have. Look for deals and coupons on food.”
“Teach him to cook. Make sure he is eating nutritious food that will also get him full & keep him full for longer. Make grocery shopping a family event. Discuss portions prices, comparing prices, shopping around for the best deals. Talk with your partner & re-evaluate your finances – clearly, this arrangement no longer works for you. This is a great teachable experience for your whole family – your other two will get here too, so if you’re prepared now, it’ll be easier then.”
“15-year-old boys need to eat .. as long as he isn’t wasting the food let him eat.. if you’re buying expensive boxed foods change your grocery habits.”
“I’m sorry girl but 15-year-old boys’ stomachs are never-ending pits!!! I have a 15-year-old & an almost 12-year-old, both boys, & the eating is nonstop!! I’m sorry I can’t offer you any help other than this too shall pass, but just try your best to love him!! He needs that desperately. Good luck!!”
“Cereal is not going to fill him up. Buy things like eggs, sandwich supplies, soups, fruits, and veggies. Cook dinner and make enough for leftovers. I have 4 kids and spend about the same a week on groceries.”
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