First the way I was brought up we had things that were required of us.These things were expected and required before an privleges like driving,going out on a date etc were given.
I was not given a car,I worked my way into a hand-me-down,key word here is WORKED,taking self incentive and painting the house,mowing the grass etc without being asked or otherwise provoked inabled this to happen.
My parents did im the begining pay the insurance,but in exchange maintence on ALL of the family vehicles fell to me as my responsibity,they bought the parts,I did the labor.
As for college,I didn't go,but my brothers did,they went through on scholorships and work,my parents did provide them with co-signature on a car.
As far as college is concerned,if your kid scores low on the exams or is otherwise a screw up,do us and them a favor and don't send them to college until they spend a few semisters in the school of hard knocks.Otherwise its a waste of money to send them to college.
I live at home with my folks,some people frown on this,but in times past children didn't leave home,they stayed home and took care of their parents when they got old.Like it or not we will all find ourselves in this situation.My parents will be 70 next year,it is my and my brothers responsibility to take care of them,not the government.I contribute to the household and share the burden of the work load,so will my wife if I should marry.
If you find one of your kids living at home remember the "whats expected" part of the formula.
As for the cell phone,they are okay for girls,boys should be able to fend for themselves.either way they should remember it is a mode of communication,not entertainment period.Plus there is no substitute for them being responsible,if you call them on their cell phone are they really at the library?
Down payment on a house?Never,they can have yours when you kick the bucket.Otherwise introduce them to the hard realities of life.After all at some point in time they WILL have to fend for themselves.If they don't learn they will live on welfare education or not.
I just need one more tool,just one!