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The Ps and Qs of Friends, Family and Money

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  • The Situation: The parents of your son's best friend offer to take him to an amusement park, without bringing up who's paying.

    "I would always offer to pay your child's way," says Rowley. "If they refuse, send money with him to the outing—sometimes it will come back unspent, and other times it will be spent." If you can't afford to pay, then offer to reciprocate in another way. For example, you can have their kid over for a sleepover so his parents can go out for dinner (often the gift of time is even more appreciated than money). And if your first thought is to feel offended, then look at the bigger picture: Maybe the friend's parents work long hours and want to reciprocate for all the time their child spends at your house, or perhaps they have an only child who doesn't have any siblings to share the amusement park experience with.

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The Ps and Qs of Friends, Family and Money
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