Disclosure: this post is sponsored by Amazon but all opinions are my own.
As my kids get older, I look for ways to empower them to take more ownership the day to day admin of their lives. I really believe that it’s my job to assess, at every age, what my kids can handle themselves, and let them take the reins. Whether it’s cutting their own food at the dinner table, learning how to make their own school lunches, or how to fold and put away their own laundry… there’s a time and a place beyond which they should take over. The goal, of course, is that by the time they leave my home and go to university, get a job, or launch the next billion-dollar social network (it could happen!) that they are as capable as they can be at taking care of themselves.
While that all seems logical when I type it out, I know a lot of well-intentioned moms who seem to go out of their way to do things for their children long after they can do for themselves. Every need is anticipated, every task is handled, all in the name of being a doting, caring parent. So much so, in fact, that sometimes it makes me doubt my own game plan— I start to wonder if I’m empowering my kids, or just trying to get things off my plate! Yet another part of motherhood that is disorienting, although comparing yourself to others never helps.
This summer, all this went into overdrive when my oldest got his driver’s license and attended a University program for highschoolers. To prepare him for living on his own in a dorm, we got him his first ATM card, then gave him a crash course in how to withdraw money and check his balance. He did his own laundry, kept his own schedule, and had to feed himself three times a day. When he returned home, we got him a gas card and taught him how to fill his tank and pay his bills. We stressed the importance of maintaining his car and keeping his insurance and registration organized. And of course, having a car, along with the freedom it provides, is a daily lesson in getting himself to school on time, finding his way around safely, and running errands for mom every now and then (bonus!).
When Amazon reached out to me about their new program that gives teens access to Amazon through their own login, I was excited to get my teenager enrolled and test it out. It seemed right in alignment with helping him foster some additional independence while taking care of the shopping. We rely heavily on Amazon to buy everything from household items to cleaning supplies, and even shoes, clothes and groceries. I am the one who does all the buying, however, so it would be great for my son to sign on to share some of the purchasing burden of the everyday things he needs (responsibly!).
Given how much Amazon shopping has become a part of the fabric of our lives, and how critical it is to have early experience with making e-commerce purchases and keeping a budget, I’m all for this program.
How it Works
You invite your teen to your Amazon account by adding him or her to your account as a family member (start here for instructions). You’ll be able to set up the shipping addresses your teen will be able to ship orders to, and which credit card will be charged for your teen’s orders. You’ll also be able to choose how you want to authorize purchases by:
- Choosing your teens spending limit. This allows your teen to order whatever they like under a certain dollar amount that you set. If he needs to spend more, the order requires your approval; or
- Choosing to manually approve all orders. Get an alert whenever your teen makes an order, which you’ll have two days to approve. Orders won’t be charged until they’re approved by you.
With either option, parents will receive itemized confirmations for every order.
They can also attach a note to each purchase to explain, “I need this for science class,” or “These are those cookies I scarfed at my friend’s house,” or just “PLEEEAZE MOM!”
What He Bought
As part of our trial, Spencer was given $100 to spend any way he likes, and the results were an adorable look into his life and interests. His first purchase: A pre-order of the VERY anticipated Mario Odyssey video game, which will be out later this month. No shocker there, he’s a bit of a Nintendo zealot, and he’s been waiting patiently for the right time to approach the subject of ordering it. Lucky guy got his chance.
Super Mario Odyssey
His last purchase was the cutest: A T-Shirt he wants to wear as part of his Halloween costume (he’s going as a LaCroix can). Now all he need is a lid and some “natural flavor” (whatever that is…) and he’ll be set.
Perks for him include getting to take advantage of my Prime Shipping, 2-day delivery on millions of items. He can also use Prime Video: Unlimited access to tens of thousands of movies and TV shows (you can set content restrictions in his account).
All in all, I like the experience — the set-up and settings are easy to understand and put into use, and the flow for approving purchases is simple. I know my daughter is counting down the minutes until she gets her Amazon login, though I may try to stave her off for a while: While my son is a simple guy, my daughter has expensive appetites.
Visit Amazon.com/forteens to get started.
Photographs by Bree McCool
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