Parent bails out adult daughter
September 14, 2012 1:12PM
Updated: October 16, 2012 6:02AM
Dear Annie: When can we stop giving our children money? When is enough enough?
My daughter and her husband are in their mid-30s. They bought a house they could not afford. On top of that, they are in the middle of filing for bankruptcy, as they have been overspending for years.
My daughter works two jobs that provide neither a consistent paycheck nor benefits. Her husband’s job is more stable, but his salary is low.
At one point, we gave her one of our used cars, which she was able to keep running for a couple of years. When that car died, I took money out of my retirement fund to buy her a used car. My son-in-law’s mother just bought them a new oven.
My question is: When does all this stop? I worked for 30 years and never once asked my mother for money. I’m tired of doing and doing for them. At what point can a parent stop taking on the problems of their children?
Dear Parent: Whenever you are willing to let them sink or swim on their own.
When an adult child is having temporary financial difficulties, it is a kindness for a parent to offer to help, provided the parent can afford it and the child uses the assistance to get out from under. But if a parent is constantly bailing out an irresponsible spendthrift, the handouts must stop before parents become impoverished and resentful in a misguided attempt to “save” their children. And these children never learn
to stand on their own two feet. Consider whether you are helping or simply prolonging your daughter’s financial dependence, and act accordingly.
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