Every parent is going to make a few mistakes along the way. Although children think their parents are superheroes, they are not. They are regular people, who make mistakes every day. However, some parents are just outright bad people. Whether they don’t care about their children, or they do and they just care about money more, many parents will try and come up with ways to make money off of their children.
While most encourage the child to go out and get a job, when the time comes, so they can afford their own gas, their own insurance, and whatever else a kid wants to buy, some parents are looking at the money their children make in a very different way. Some people are incredibly greedy, and will sink to unthinkable places just to make some money. In this article, we investigate what those actions are, as a lot of them are accepted in our everyday life.
There are many jobs that an adult is not fit for, as it is not intellectually challenging, or it distills the wrong values, or whatever. However, once a person is of age, they can decide to subject themselves to whatever they want. One of the biggest issues with parents using their kids for money is that the kids cannot really give informed consent; even if they say yes to something, chances are good it’s either to appease the parent or to not get in trouble with the parent, or, in many cases, the parent has tricked the kid into thinking that they actually want the thing, despite how bad it may be for them.
15 Turning Them Into Child Stars
One of the most obvious ways parents have exploited their children is by making them act. There are countless examples of childhood stars that had virtually no say in the career path that had fallen into their laps. It’s unhealthy for anybody to have a spotlight constantly shining on them throughout their daily activities; it’s detrimental to the development of children. There are some examples of babies, like Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, who were put in front of the cameras as babies, therefore they never even had a chance at a normal life.
The evidence that this is bad for kids is so plain that it’s shocking it’s still allowed. Too often when you turn on the news there is a new example of some childhood star who has plummeted into drug addiction, alcoholism, and just general reckless behavior. Even if they decide to stay in the business as their life progresses, they are very rarely able to completely pull it together and it was all in the name of supporting the parents. Oftentimes their decision is based solely on the fact that it’s what they’ve done their entire lives, so they don’t know anything else.
14 Putting Them Through Beauty Pageants
Another way parents have exploited their kids for money is by entering them into beauty pageants. Instead of learning the proper values in life, kids entered into beauty pageants are essentially trained that the highest priority is looking good. Being a good person, having an intelligent inner monologue, and personal development are all thrown out the window in the name of appearing to be the prettiest girl at the ball, so to speak. Their self-worth is wrapped up in their looks.
Many of these children, often girls (boys experience it too, but to a lesser degree) become incredibly vapid, and usually insecure, despite the fact that they have received praise by winning a competition, which is an argument some incredibly misguided parents have used. These kids grow up not really understanding that, to achieve goals you need to work hard, and in their minds you just need to throw on an extra layer of makeup or a pretty dress.
13 Submitting Them To Test Studies
This one is absolutely crazy. Many scientists conduct studies on kids all the time. These studies, often funded by pharmaceutical companies, want a wide variety of people to test things on. One group that they really like to test the safety of things on is children. After all, if it’s safe for a child, it’s safe for an adult right? Two birds with one stone.
Most parents look at these types of people with disgust. Some parents, however, look at this as an opportunity to make some money. It’s also worth noting that minors can’t even sign forms of consent themselves, but the parents are sure allowed too. It’s also difficult to prove if the child was tricked into participating in the study, so it’s often a gray area for law enforcement. It’s also worth noting that children will receive no compensation, and it will all go to the parents.
12 Selling Their Name Rights
This one seems like it’s something a comic book villain would do, but, unfortunately, it’s something real life people do. There have been a few different instances of parents claiming they couldn’t think of a name, so they crowd sourced the idea. There was one couple in 2001 who tried to find a corporate sponsor for their child, and were asking a whopping $500,000. There was another one in 2004 who tried to get $8,000 for the opportunity to choose their son’s middle name. Not even his first name.
It begs the question, do you not care about your child at all? Do you not think it will cause some gossip when your son is named Jack Daniels? Unfortunately, for some parents, the answer to both questions is no. But as bad as those examples are, it is nothing compared to the couple who, in America, gave away the naming rights to their child for a $100 gas card.
11 Putting Them On YouTube
In today’s day and age, many people are making money on the internet. Frankly, with all the opportunities, it would be a little silly to not even try. However, when brainstorming for ideas for the next big video, try to keep your kids out of it. The issue with having kids be in your videos is that they just don’t know any better. To them, yeah, it’s a cool thing, ‘I’m helping out Daddy.’ But in reality, it’s impossible for these kids to give any actual consent, and therefore, it’s exploitation.
Some argue that it is not exploitation, and is simply entrepreneurial. However, if you really break it down, fame does not necessarily equate happiness? And more importantly, they are not giving meaningful consent, or sometimes, none at all. Take the video of David after visiting the dentist. That kid was so high on the drugs given to him when he had his wisdom teeth out, he had absolutely no idea what he was saying, it’s an incredibly vulnerable moment. Then, the next thing he knew, everybody knew his face and the ridiculous things he said while still under the influence of anesthesia.
10 Turning Them Into Models
This one is similar to the beauty pageant, but different in the sense that it doesn’t even instill a competitive drive. This one is simply the parents looking at the kid, deciding they are cute, then putting them through the rigorous lifestyle that a model has to endure. Many of them become nutrient deficient, trying to keep up their “figure,” and again, they are learning that the most important value is the aesthetic. Not to mention the fact that it’s literal children being sexualized all in the name of a dollar. I feel it’s important to again point out that minors cannot legally sign a form of consent, and they are also not the ones being compensated for their work.
Many models end up feeling like they lead incredibly empty lives, being taught that they’re thoughts don’t matter as long as they look pretty or handsome or sexy or cute. And the parents just don’t care. In their eyes, their child is producing something of value, when in reality, that something is just an extra puff in the parent’s bank account. These kids can potentially end up shallow, insecure, and obsessed with looks.
9 Marrying Them Off
This one is so insanely wrong. There is one instance in particular that rocked the perception of a lowlife. Krista Kay Keller Stodden decided that, after making her daughter Courtney Stodden participate in modeling activities, and beauty pageants (she was a former Miss Teen Washington USA), she would make her daughter marry a 50-year old man, Doug Hutchinson. Courtney was 16 at the time.
Hutchinson was accused of being a pedophile, and Krista was accused of being insane. The reason for the marriage was for none other than Hutchinson was a wealthy guy. It was obvious Krista didn’t care at all for her daughter’s wellbeing, and was merely interested in the fat checks she would be able to cash in on. Krista was Courtney’s manager until about 2010. Surprising as it is, the two seem to have maintained a happy (but probably not healthy) relationship.
8 Giving Them A Reality Show
While shows like Honey Boo Boo and John and Kate Plus Eight are troubling to say the least. Honey Boo Boo taught that it’s okay for a kid to be insanely disrespectful to any adult figure and to eat whatever she wants. John and Kate plus Eight promoted putting your babies in front of the cameras, which is never a healthy way to exist, especially in adolescence. The worst, however, would probably have to be Kris Jenner.
A publication called The Richest put it the best way, saying that Kris Jenner was a prime example of being a manager before a mother. And this statement could not be closer to the truth. Two of the daughters weren’t even teenagers when Keeping up With the Kardashians started, and they all got famous because she ‘leaked’ a tape of her daughter Kim having sex. Growing up on set, while common for many Hollywood children, isn’t healthy, especially when your own mother is exploiting mistakes from your past just to add fame and fortune to the family name.
7 Exploiting Extraordinary Experiences
In 2003 a boy named Colton Burpo underwent emergency surgery and reportedly went to heaven. The reasons for this belief was that he supposedly saw and described things that he couldn’t have possibly known about. He mentioned an unborn sister of his and described his dead grandfather to a T (according to his father, Todd Burpo, a pastor.) After this surgery, Todd decides that the best thing for his son (more likely for his wallet) would be to write a book about it.
This one disturbs me because it is not only exploiting what his son went through, whether any of it was true or not, but it made him a public figure. When the book came out, Colton, who was ten at the time of the book’s release, went on talk shows and did interviews, and couldn’t go to a lot of places without being recognized. None of this is good for a kid, especially one with a weak heart, and was all clearly in the interest of making some money for Todd. The book has since suffered from much criticism about its message, and the fact that he mentioned seeing Jesus on a horse with wings flying over a rainbow didn't help.
6 Turning Them Into Child Salesmen
This one is as old as money itself. Kids are cute. Kids are innocent. There is no getting around that. Therefore, many people find it is very difficult to say no to kids. Especially kids coming around selling something. Many parents know this. Many parents take advantage of this.
What a lot of parents will do is pretend to sell magazines, for instance, and have their kids go around collecting subscriptions. Then, after the order forms are filled out and the checks have been cleared, the parents simply throw the sheets away and pocket all the money. They oftentimes have the kids say they are raising money for baseball camp, or space camp, or something along those lines, therefore tugging at the heartstrings of the potential buyers, and perhaps could score some bigger numbers on the subscriptions. A lot of people know this is a scam, but still make small purchases anyways to appease the kids. Small purchases add up, however, and greedy parents know this.
5 Taking Advantage Of Foster Care
This one might seem counter intuitive: aren’t foster parents helping the kids? While this is often the case, unfortunately, many people use this as a way to line their pockets. Foster parents receive a government stipend to help them support the kids. However, these stipends are often small, and many parents end up paying for lots of stuff out of their own pocket. However, on the flip side of this coin, there are many who use the stipend not to support the children, but to support themselves, and then, in addition to stealing from these kids, they put them to work around the house.
Now, there is a difference between kids doing chores, which they of course should do, and straight up taking advantage of them. There are some who live on a ranch, or a farm, or own a business, and have the kids work for free. Not only are they breaking labor laws, they are stealing from these kids, who often come from a rough background.
4 Using Them For Panhandling
This one is similar to the door to door salesman thing, but taken in a different direction. Many people will use their children to go out on the streets and pretend to be homeless, begging for change. They tell them to target tourists, because they don’t necessarily know any better, and they encourage them to look as dirty and hard off as possible. Many people will go for it for the same reasons they buy the fake magazine subscriptions: kids are cute and kids are hard to say no to. Especially a kid who seems to have fallen on hard times.
In addition to the deceit that goes into something like this, it also encourages the kids to keep doing this kind of work, rather than going to school to learn to be something more beneficial to themselves and to society. It also encourages the parents of these kids to not feel as though they have to work particularly hard, and that, since it works, they can keep sending their kids out there to beg for money. Sometimes, though, it’s not even the parents orchestrating this one. Unfortunately, this is often a form of human trafficking.
3 Making Them Work Before They Should
This is one that has been happening regularly in America for many years. Child labor laws, although strict, can be hard to enforce, especially if the kid is working under the table. If they don’t report their income, as far as the government is concerned, they are not working. This is an especially common practice for parents who own their own business.
Say a couple just opened a restaurant, and they haven’t yet been able to turn a profit, but they do have some business. As business grows, to try and save on paying a livable wage to an adult, they decide to just put their kids to work, either in the kitchen, or waiting tables, or whatever needs doing. Even if they give them some money, they often start far too young to be considered ethical, and it takes away from these kids being able to live their lives as kids. We only get to be young once, and as soon as it’s over, it’s over. It’s a shame so many adults feel the need to take that away from their children.
2 Loaning Them Out
This one really turns our stomachs. It is no secret that sex sells. Unfortunately it is also no secret that for some people, children are more attractive than consenting adults. Therefore, the lowest of the low when it comes to parents, sometimes like to combine those two widely known facts.
It is a sad fact that if you want something, and you can afford it, it can be found. Unfortunately, some people want sex with children. And some parents like to facilitate that. It is unthinkable as to how they are presented with their first opportunity and then they go with it. It’s unthinkable that afterwards they keep doing it. Unfortunately, it is a fairly common practice. Like human trafficking, a lot of times these poor kids are just taken off the street. However, a good, horrible portion of the time, it is the parents either outright selling the child, or offering the children for sex so they can collect the money. All in the name of the dollar.
1 Straight Up Selling Them
One of the most disgusting ways parents have made a buck off of their children is by selling them into child trafficking. In China alone, anywhere from 20,000 to 200,000 kids are bought and sold in the black market in one year alone. While a good deal of these children are kidnapped, a surprising number are sold into it by their parents. One suspected cause for this is China’s one child policy.
If a pair of normal parents, who have one normal child, become pregnant again, then they receive a hefty fine. This policy was relaxed in 2013, but it is still somewhat enforced. Therefore, if the parents are in a not so great financial position, they begin looking for alternative options. Instead of being humane about it, however, they decide that, to make a quick dollar, they would simply sell the child once it was born, or, almost more horrifying, sell the first child to help pay for the raising of another child.