Tuesday, September 08, 2009

At what point?

My co-worker, P, has a 21 y/o daughter who is completely irresponsible and makes the worst decisions she possibly can. Ok, so maybe there could be some worse decisions, but you get the point. Now, I'm not judging her daughter because she is young and we've all made poor decisions. What I'm questioning is the parental involvement.

P's daughter went to college in NC. She moved down there, met a guy, and moved in with him. She spent tens of thousands of dollars of her student loan money on flat screen t.v.'s, furniture, trips, clothes, pretty much anything she wanted. She ended up cheating on the guy and he kicked her out, not letting her take any of the things she bought. She never did finish college and now owes 96k in student loans. Her parents co-signed on 2 new cars, one for him and one for her. He still has his car and is defaulting on the loan. Her mom got a joint credit card with both her and her daughter's names on the card for her to use in case of emergencies while away in college. She has now completely maxed out that card and is unable to pay the monthly payments because she doesn't have a job. Oh, and she's now pregnant by her boyfriend of 6 months who she's been living with since 4 months ago.

P is constantly giving her money and pays her car payments and car insurance. And it's not like she appreciates it either. She's constantly yelling at her mom, putting her down, and making her feel horrible. Every single time P gets off the phone with her, she's practically in tears and completely stressed out. I'm seriously waiting for her to have a nervous break down.

I keep telling her that she needs to cut her off and let her do things on her own. I understand that as a parent, we need to be there for our children and help them when they're in need. But her daughter takes it to the extreme and completely takes for granted all of the things her parents do and have done for her. She expects them to bail her out, therefore she hasn't learned how to be responsible. She's not responsible with money, with property, or with her life.

I'd like to think that my son would never do these things when he grows up and that he'll be respectful to me and that I'll teach him responsibility. I know that at 15, I was more responsible than this girl is at 21, but I was raised differently. I can sit here and say that P should do this or P should do that because that's what I'd do if I were her, but I just don't know.

So my question is, at what point do you stop and let your kids fall? At what point do you let them make mistakes and learn from them rather than fix them and allow them to keep making the same ones over and over and over again? When do you say no? What do you guys think you would do in this situation? I know some of you don't have kids, but you can still give an opinion.

Deep Throat of the Day: I wish they came with instructions.


f1trey said...

would she consider adopting a son??? i mean...im available....... hehehe

April said...

Trey: I know, right! I always say to her, "I wish you were my mom!"

The Lily said...

Oh my lord. Look, the BEST thing my parents ever did for my brother was kick him out of the house. He learned (after a fashion) to support himself and pay his own debts. My folks still help him out but he's putting himself through college and renting his own place. I've never been prouder of him.

There is obviously nothing else that P can teach her daughter. P has a choice, let the little bird fly, or go down with what is clearly a sinking ship. I vote Boot.

Grant said...

Is her daughter hot? If so, maybe I could be her next big mistake.

I would definitely not be bailing her out at this point. It's one thing to come to the rescue in a crisis, but she's just bankrolling her daughter and allowing her to make more mistakes. She should quit paying her - maybe allow her to move back if she's desperate, but definitely not pay off any loans or put her name on any other credit agreement.

Jim McKee said...


Before I discovered Dave Ramsey, I might've done the same thing. But now...

1. Never co-sign for anyone, for anything. EVER. If so, you are really saying, I will be making the payments when (not "if") my relative screws up.
2. If you are supporting an adult child (even partially), you have the right to condition that support. If the adult child fails to meet those conditions, you have the right to say, I love you, but I don't support your lifestyle choices, so I'm withdrawing my financial support.
3. If the adult child is continually screwing up with money, why give that child more money? Kinda like giving whiskey to an alcoholic.

You are not being kind to an adult child by molly-coddling them. They need to face up to their mistakes, and handle them like an adult. Provide a place to live if necessary, give them food to eat, but that's about it.

f1trey said...

the trick to great goofa me tooble is ....say the right things ....make you weak with need and then ...stop the motion and slowly increase pressure till its just right and hold it....hold it.....hold it.....wait......

April said...

Lilly: I agree. I keep telling her to just cut off the gravy train and let her take responsibility for her actions. She keeps saying, "But you just don't understand. You'll see when Ethan grows up." I'm like, "um, NO! I was not this way at all when I was her age.

Grant: Her daughter is not a bunny, therefore she would not be hot to you. I don't think she's hot for not being a bunny, either.

Jim: Do you do support groups or solo sessions? You MUST speak to my co-worker and talk some sense into her!

Trey: Who knew goofa me tooble could be so erotic? And here I thought it was like giving advice. Boy was I waaaay off! hee hee. =)

Anonymous said...

I should post on this. I agree with Jim except I am and will be much tougher. No free rides here ever. No free rides here.
It seems that every time anyone gets anything free they don't appreciate it.
It is always easy to justify propping people up and always tough to teach people to be responsible for their own actions.

Hubman said...

I wouldn't be surprised if P has been this way with her daughter her entire life, which is why she behaves as she does now. Time for some tough love, but I'm skeptical of that happening...

Kids don't come with an owners manual? Fuck, no wonder I can't find it!

Anonymous said...

P's not being a good mother---she's being an enabler. Our kids are in their 30's, and we still have to step back and let them make their own mistakes.
Our one rule---NEVER co-sign for anything, because it teaches the kids co-dependence, and in most cases, messes with our credit.

Anonymous said...

In the past, I was the kid who failed, and in hindsight I really wish my mother had just said no to the very first loan I wanted. That certainly would have made me a much less attractive victim for the parasite who lied to me and used me just to get at my mother's money.

Now that your friend's daughter is pregnant, and there is an innocent child in the mix, it'll be much harder for your friend to stop enabling, but the longer it goes on, the more the damage will pile up. I wish there was an easy answer.