How long do we help our children?

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine seeking some advice on how to handle a situation with his son and daughter in law. Both are 26 years old, and my buddy Bruce is frustrated with both of them, and its all over finances!

Bruce is in the process of closing on his new house, a big step for him and his wife. When Bruce and his wife decided to buy this house, they felt that offering their old house to the kids would be great for them and investment for the kids future . His son and daughter in law have a 8 month old baby and this is Bruce and his wife’s first grandchild. Here is the problem, and its a big one.

The house that Bruce is offering is worth $200,000 the payment on this property is $1,250 a month. Bruce wants $750 from the kids and will pay the additional $400 towards the mortgage. Average rent in this area is over $1,100. Its a great deal for the kids, and Bruce is helping his son and his daughter in law.

The daughter in law, is now insisting on moving to a town home with payments in the $1,350 range. What turned the daughter in law against buying the house was the cost of remodeling. There is nothing wrong structurally wrong with the house. The cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom could be updated and maybe the carpets could be updated as well. The house really doesn’t need any major home improvements whatsoever.

The problem is this, the daughter in law had a friend of her family who was in the remodeling business take a look at the property. In his opinion there was major remodeling that was needed to be done. This has caused an uproar in my friends house. The parents are offering a wonderful opportunity to invest, and the daughter in law is resisting. So, what would you recommend that the dad do and how should the son handle this situation? Please give your opinions on this weeks blog.

Bruce called me and wanted advice on what to do, I am leaving many details out of this story because of privacy issues. I told him that he should have a meeting with the kids and all three of them sit down and decide what needs to happen. I suggested that he doesn’t sit on this very long and give them a dead line as what has to happen. If the dead line passes and the kids do nothing, then list the house or rent it. Children at 26 are not children, they are adults! They must be responsible for their actions. You must hold them accountable.

When I was growing up, my parents didn’t help me buy a home, they expected me to have saved money for a down payment. It wasn’t easy back then. Our parents didn’t have the extra income to help. Most homes only had one parent working. Parents did the best they could to support the family.

What ever happened to parents teaching children how the Real World works? That in order to have the things you want, you have to work very, very hard to get the things you want. That you may have to work two jobs instead of one, all the while going to college, or being on your own? Many young adults, some who now have children of their own, believe their parents somehow “owe them “financial assistance”, to rescue them from the burden of their own poor money-management habits! Are you doing this to your children?

Let me see if I get this straight. Young adults, married or living together, that are working full-time jobs, with or without a child to support, choose to spend their money frivolously rather than ensuring they are living within their means, and when they run into financial trouble and can’t pay their bills, the parents OWE it to their children to rescue them?! Sometimes even expected to “help” many, many times over? Huh?! Parents, listen very carefully: There is a big difference between helping and enabling adult children, and if you don’t figure it out now and put an immediate stop to the enabling, it will never end.

If you need coaching in helping adult children to take care of themselves you can contact Dr. Mike by phone or his website. Here are some questions that might help you decide if you need additional coaching. Do you have adult children constantly asking you for money? Do you have adult children living with you? Are you loaning any of your adult children your car for extended periods of time? Are you giving cash for food to your adult children? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should call for an appointment.