The Emotional Consequences of Financial Support

10 Apr

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


I am still working through a dilemma involving a young couple I’ve known for years. Their parents have come upon financial hardships and suggested the idea of moving in with the pair. I think it would have been better if the parents and kids had talked together, in a heartfelt and totally honest discussion about other creative solutions, declared all the challenges and exchanged plan ‘B’ for plan ‘Z’ only after all other resources were exhausted. I realize that the parents are

Plan B

Image via unsuckdcmetro

probably not thinking as clearly as perhaps they are accustomed to due to the pressures of their financial situation and would otherwise not truly want to pass their problems (some part of which was self-made and borderline irresponsible behavior) on to their children. They did, however, and now the kids are forced to take a position.

We could easily say that family is family and should be in both good and bad situations. That is certainly a well-traveled path in most societies, and it is all but impossible to not want to help out a family member. But is it fair to ask our children to have to decide whether to reject us or accept us? In my opinion, that what this boils down to. At least that’s what it feels like to me and after talking to the kids, although it was definItely not intended, it feels that way to them. It was an unusual miscue by a set of loving parents that found themselves in a serious situation and reached out to their children without considering the emotional ramifications of their request. That may not have been fair.

Do you think the parents were justified in asking the couple for help? Can you recall a situation in which you were torn between choosing to help a family member financially and how it affected you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. 

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