EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Marion Swanson and 17-year-old Juliette Brindak, creator of Miss O & Friends (missoandfriends.com), answer your questions every other week. To submit a question or read past questions, visit www.missoandfriends.com.
Q: My aunt has a 2-year-old and just had triplets. I baby-sit at least once a day. I enjoy helping her but she insists on paying me. I don’t want the money but she won’t let me refuse it. What should I do? — Lisa, 14, Michigan
Dr. Marion’s response: Your aunt is lucky to have your help and to have a niece as kind as you. Even though you enjoy it, she obviously feels like she wants to do something for you, to show you how grateful she is. If you really don’t want the money, you could save it to give back to her as a gift for her children someday. Your parents can help you talk to people at the bank about the best way to save it — the bank will give you extra money (called "interest") for putting your money in the bank, so definitely go there. Then, someday in the future when the time seems right, you can give it back to your aunt as a special gift that you want her to have.
Juliette’s response: It is a very big undertaking for your aunt and that is awesome that you are helping out. It’s hard to take money from people when you do not want it. If your aunt insists that you take it, but you don’t feel comfortable spending it, I suggest that you donate it to your favorite charity. Keep the money in an envelope and every week send it. Also, you could keep the money in a special place and use it for birthday presents for your cousins at some point. However, don’t feel guilty about having the money. Clearly you are really helping out and your aunt is just trying to show you some gratitude.