Being Fair as a Parent

5 Apr

{This post is part of a recurring series of thoughts about financial support between families.}


It is not always easy to address an unfair situation, especially between family. In a recent occasion, the parents of a young couple I know volunteered the idea of moving in with them because of financial hardships. What I think is unfair is that the parents asked in the first place. This puts their kids in a very awkward place. If the couple says no in order to retain their current and budding opportunities, they may appear selfish and ungrateful (which they are definitely not). Else they say yes, and quite possibly sacrifice some of the most important life-building experiences of their lives.

Scott's House

Now, nothing is very specific in this situation and there is certainly the possibility that the parents will work out their difficulties and not require support. But merely asking for help puts the kids in a tough situation. Essentially they have to reject or accept the request now since the parents cavalierly brought it up. Maybe it can be done and the kids and parents would have a successful experience together, but it is also possible that the experience fails miserably and all parties go down the chute. That would indeed be sad because the parents’ guilt and the kids’ disappointment would likely dominate the relationship for quite some time. I can’t imagine that anybody would want this. But it is the role of the parents, really, who should be the ones that are thinking more carefully here and should not be putting their kids in this no-win, conflicting situation.

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