Annie’s Mailbox for May 19, 2011: Parents are enabling daughter’s financial dependence
May 19, 2011
Dear Annie: I have been trying to teach my 20-year-old daughter the value of saving money and staying within a budget. Meanwhile, my parents give her money every time she asks.
I am newly divorced and feel it is important for my daughter to learn to live within her means. I have had several conversations with my parents about this, but it hasn’t made any difference. I am concerned that if they do not stop enabling my daughter’s profligacy, her future will be ruined and she will be dependent on others for the rest of her life.
I want her to be able to support herself. My parents taught me this when I was small, and I can stretch the almighty dollar very far. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t learned this, and I want the same for my child.
At the moment, I am not speaking to my parents. I don’t know how else to make them see how much they are hurting their granddaughter. Maybe if they see this in print, it will sink in.
— Undermined in Lewiston, N.Y.
Dear Lewiston: Probably not. Grandparents have been known to indulge their grandchildren, but overdoing it is a form of selfishness. It makes the givers feel good, so they continue, even if the consequences are damaging.
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How much bailing out is going on? If your daughter is behind with her bills and your parents are helping to support her, they are enabling. This largesse won’t last forever. However, if your parents give her money because she occasionally wants something special that she can’t afford, we’d leave it alone. Your daughter recognizes those purchases as gifts and doesn’t count on them to pay the rent.
Dear Annie: My daughter recently passed away after a lengthy illness. We are blessed to have had lots of support from friends and family, but I am bothered by the lack of response from her doctor.
We have had the same physician for 17 years. I understand that he and his colleagues and office staff might not have been able to come to the funeral, but is it too much to ask for a condolence card? Is there some medical ethic that prohibits this?
It will be difficult to go into his office for my next visit. I don’t want to stop seeing a competent doctor, but this situation has me very upset.
— Crying in California
Dear Crying: It used to be a fairly common practice for doctors to send a condolence card when a patient died, but this is no longer the case, and we don’t know exactly why. Unfortunately, the lack of a personal touch can give the impression that the patient was unimportant, and this is quite hurtful to the family. It might help you be more forgiving if you clear the air and tell the doctor how you feel. It might help him, too.
Dear Annie: Although I agree with your answer to “Worried Stepmom” regarding the equal distribution of the annual cash gifts, there is a channel Dad can take to help 33-year-old “Clark” from simply waiting for the money. For a minimal fee, an attorney can draw up stipulations for how and when the money can be used.
I have three sons. Two are driven, motivated and have direction in their lives. Our third has always fought depression and, like Clark, would rather watch TV and surf the Internet all day, with no care about his future.
Our directives indicate that the receivers of any inheritance continue their education to at least a four-year degree in any field and be employed. (An exception is made if he loses his job.) It could also stipulate mental health assistance, because a 33-year-old does not hang around his parents’ home with no direction unless he is depressed or mentally incapable.
— Living It in Louisville