General Question

Jane2003's avatar

Should my son be allowed to sell his things to his friends?

Asked by Jane2003 (33points) February 11th, 2013

Hi everyone,
My son is 10 and he loves Pokemon cards very much. We spent quite some money for his Pokemon card collection. He often trades Pokemon cards with his friends or other kids, which I have no issue with. Today he told me that he sold some of his Pokemon cards for 100 dollars cash to his friend (The $100 is part of his friend’s allowance). The trade itself is a fair trade, because some of the cards he sold to his friend are expensive. However I just don’t know if I should let him do this. His friend told my son that he will keep this trade secret from his mom. Now what should I do? Should I let my son give the dollars back to his friend and get back his cards or should I just let them be or should I tell his friend’s mom about this? I would like to know what do you think.
Please excuse my English. As English is my second language, I’m still trying to improve it.

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30 Answers

jerv's avatar

A mutually consensual sale for fair market prices is really nothing to worry about. It’s not like your son took advantage of his friend.

As for how the friend got $100… well, at that age I had occasionally saved up such sums, and that was decades ago when $100 was actually enough to feed a family for a month.

I say that there is no issue so long as your son remains ethical about his business practices. Besides, it’s not your duty to raise his friends.

Also, your English is better than that of many Americans.

YARNLADY's avatar

I would consider getting a parent involved.

rooeytoo's avatar

The fact that the other kid is going to keep it a secret from his mom would make me nervous. Obviously she would not approve or he would not be so secretive. I would tell my son he can’t make the sale unless the buyer’s mother approves.

DrBill's avatar

I would allow it, but I would also stop buying him stuff to sell.

woodcutter's avatar

You need to get a small cut if you bought the original “merchandise.” Thats how life works. If he’s a budding wheeler -dealer he will learn this soon enough. What does he want a 100 bucks for?

jerv's avatar

@DrBill I suppose that also means no allowance ever and taking any earnings from stuff like mowing lawns (or whatever kids do these days for money)?

@rooeytoo My wife doesn’t know where all my money goes either. She also does not approve of all of my purchases, like my tobacco habit. Or are kids basically automaton clones of their parents, considered property rather than humans until emancipated?

@woodcutter Gaming consoles are not cheap, nor are the games for them; if he loves Pokemon, he may be after a 3DS. Collectible card games are a pricey hobby (one reason I no longer play Magic) anyways. Maybe a new set came out and he wants to buy some rares from it before the price skyrockets.
That is a legitimate question, but I can think of a lot of innocent answers without even leaving the realm of Pokemon. This coming from a guy who once saved up a year’s paper route money for a hobby-grade R/C car.

rooeytoo's avatar

@jerv – I am assuming you are older than 10. When this kid is your age, he can do what his wife will allow. But seriously, if children are not considered property until they hit 16 or 18 then why are parents responsible for their health, care, feeding, schooling etc.??? Property is a strange term, I think it is more appropriate to say parents are responsible for their children until they reach the legal age.

SamandMax's avatar

@jerv a year’s paper route money?! What were you gettin paid? Peanuts?

whitenoise's avatar

You should contact your kids friend’s parents.

In my opinion a 10 year old should not be trading his stuff with his friends at these price levels without prior consent from you and his friend’s parents.

At that age they are not independent economic actors, nor should they be.

Even if he were grown up, I would expect him to check with you before selling any of your gifts to him. True… that would then have to be based on his choice. At 10, however, it should be done because he still is a child.

SamandMax's avatar

I would be very concerned about why the other kid needs to keep such trading under wraps from his own parents. I would be careful here because I’m not too sure if there are likely to be unpleasant repercussions to your own child on this one if the parents were to know.
I think if anything, you should be asking your child to ask why this needs to be kept secret from the parents.
As for wanting a small cut from the proceeds, I disagree. Wanting monetary donations from your child should really only start when they have a real job and are still living with you.

Shippy's avatar

Yes, and welcome him to the world of trade and commerce.

marinelife's avatar

I think the transaction is between the friends, and you should stay out of it. What is gained by telling his mom? Presumably it is his money to do with what he wants. 10 Years old is old enough to learn about commerce.

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo Yes; 11. Seriously. And I stand by my use of the word “property” as you imply a lack of sentience. However, that leads into a long debate that I don’t want to get into in a General question

@SamandMax Practically. It was a weekly paper, not a daily.

@marinelife ~Apparently 10 isn’t old enough to learn about anything in the adult world.

burntbonez's avatar

If I had a kid, I would be proud that he was learning about buying and selling. But I’d also be worried that he was taking advantage of another kid and that the parents might find out and disapprove of the sale and want the kid’s money back. I’d just be more comfortable knowing the other kid’s parents were on board with this.

I guess I don’t think it’s right to take advantage of people who are in an inferior position, such as lacking knowledge or having less power. I want a society where people watch out for each other. I do not want to teach our kids to do anything they can in search of money. There are things they should be unwilling to do.

So I’d make sure the parents of the other kid were ok with this sale, and I’d teach my son that while most people think capitalism is about getting as much as you can, I think it is about getting as much as you can with some sense of fairness.

jerv's avatar

@burntbonez I guess it depends on exactly what was sold. Collectible card games have price lists based on card rarity and market demand. I know that if I paid only $100 for an Alpha Black Lotus (a Magic card), I would be taking advantage of the seller. If you don’t believe that Pokemon cards could possibly be worth that much, you might want to do a little research to see what fair market prices forthem really are.

Jane2003's avatar

Thanks Everyone! I think I’m not worry about the fairness of the trade because both my son and his friend play Pokemon cards and they know the Pokemon cards very well. His friend is actually a year older than my son.
My only concern is that his friend keeps this trade secret from his mom. I think they plan this trade for a long time. About two weeks before their trade, my son told me they were going to make this trade. I told my son that I had no problem with this trade as long as his friend also got his mom’s approval.
His friend also told my son that his mom knew he wanted to make this trade, but the mom said:” Please don’t do that.”. Somehow the kids translate the mom’s reaction as “not strongly disagree and they would not be in trouble if they do it”.
My concern is that the mom still does not know they made the trade at the end, no matter if she will agree or slightly disagree or strong disagree with it.
Thanks again for all of your help!

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whitenoise's avatar

Just out of curiosity… how many of the people saying something akin to

“it’s fine… let him go and experience free market” and “he has a right to….”

are actually parents?

Children are not little grown ups, they need guidance and they need to accept that. not to dismiss anyone’s opinions, but I find this “respect their rights to participate unhindered in the free markets” a bit denying the parents responsibility and need to be informed, therefore.

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whitenoise's avatar

@jerv You create a false dichotomy.
Kids are not pets, slaves or property. Nobody in their right mind would view their children that way. They are, however, a parent’s responsibility. Parents have a responsibility towards their children and… towards the world they are responsible for their children and their actions.

This is not so much about whether a child can sell and buy stuff… of course they can. The core of the issue is that this should be done in consensus with their parents. Selling items at price levels of around 100 dollar would in my book not be normal behavior for a ten year old. And obviously not to the OP either, otherwise the question would not have been raised.

The same goes for the child who bought that item.

In my personal opinion, our responsibility also extents to other people’s children. There are good reasons to think that the friend’s parents wouldn’t condone the 100$ transaction. Clearly the boy’s understood that… hence his intent to secrecy. In this case we as have a responsibility to help the other parents to raise their children in a responsible way.

Suppose we limit the question to: “You notice a 10 year old friend of your son buying a 100$ item while wanting to keep that a secret to his parents, what would you do?”
In this case, I would probably say… “A bad situation, but I’ll keep my nose out.”
(Allowing a bad situation to happen.)

In the case at hand, you are actually not just allowing, but through your child you are actively responsible for the situation. That’s why I feel you should reach out to the friend’s parents. Acting to create a bad situation is worse than allowing.

Another part is that I would not like my children to sell things that they’ve received as gifs, without consulting the one they got it from.

A final part is that I want my children to realize that above a certain level transactions are of a size that they should consult with their parents.

If the question were… “Asked by your child would you allow him to sell a collector card for 100 dollar?” I would likely say yes… good for him.

My kids have been making money already and I wouldn’t stop them. They have been modeling, for instance, making more money per hour than I ever made. that money is theirs and on their account.
Would I allow them to go take a job without my prior consent? No way. (for now)

whitenoise's avatar

@jerv Thanks by the way for understanding that my previous post wasn’t intended to be dismissive. @JLeslie for instance is not a parent and I would turn to her anytime for guidance.

jerv's avatar

@whitenoise I am used to expensive hobbies. Around that age, spending that much on an electronic speed control was not unheard of, and that was back when $100 was actually a lot of money. I am used to things that are given being given free and clear; the giver has no say in what happens after ownership is transferred. I am used to other kids being the responsibility of their parents unless something actually harmful/criminal is going on; something I don’t see going on here unless you consider everyday life to be harmful enough that kids should not engage in it.

whitenoise's avatar

Just imagine how much better you would’ve turned out, had I raised you!

;-) joke

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Jane2003's avatar


I talk to my son about letting his friend’s mom know about the sell. I told him that I’m very proud that he is learning the commerce and very happy that he told me this trade. At the same time I feel sorry for his friend’s mom because I think his friend should have also asked his mom. Can you ask your friend to get his mom’s permission? What if his mom is mad at him?
He said:” Then I’ll trade back with him.”
I asked:” what if his mom know this half year later and he wants to trade back that time. Will you still trade back with him?
He said:” Yes.”
I said:” Then it would be not fair for you.”
He asked:” Why?”
I explain:” It would be a borrowing…....”

At the end he said he will trade back within 2 weeks if his friend wants to, but he said he will not force his friend to tell his mom for two reasons. First of all, both of them want this trade badly. Secondly, his friend will be very mad at him if we told his mom.

I really wish to let his friend’s mom know about this, but at the same time I don’t want to punish my own kid. He didn’t do anything wrong. If I directly talk to the friend’s mom about this without my son’s agreement, I’m sure my son would be mad at me.

Will you suggest me some good approaches to talk my son into letting the mom know about this? Or any suggests that would make situation better?

jerv's avatar

If anyone did anything wrong here, it’s your son’s friend, but that is an issue between him and his mother. Your responsibility is to your son. And whether it’s you or your son that tells his mother, his friend will feel betrayed; possibly moreso if your son does as he is the one that made the promise. There is no way that could end well, so having your son break the news isn’t an option in my mind.

I would say that it’s best to let it go, be thankful that you and your son have a more open and trusting relationship than his friend with his mother, and avoid doing anything to make your son appear dishonorable. I know it’s tough, but I honestly think that letting it stand is less harmful than any well-intended attempt to “fix” it.

whitenoise's avatar

I think your son did something wrong. He entered into an agreement with his friend while he could have known his friend wouldn’t be allowed to do so.

jerv's avatar

@whitenoise In that respect, it’s no different than what happens in the adult world. Last I checked, Pokemon cards were not in the same category as porn, beer, and cigarettes; there is no age requirement to purchase/possess them legally.
Some people don’t understand why people would spend money on gaming stuff; I know I occasionally get seen as a freak because my RPG library cost thousands of dollars to build over the years. For all I know, it wasn’t a lack of permission so much as merely not wanted to be seen as a geek by his mother. Image is important.
In any case, the responsibility lays on the buyer since we are talking about something that can legally be sold to minors and felons. To say otherwise is to say that no child can ever buy anything; maybe their mother doesn’t want them having candy and soda, so those sales are likewise forbidden, as is selling me tobacco (my wife wants me to quit).
Just my opinion.

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