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I haven’t done a new parenting post in a while.  I witnessed an intriguing conversation that popped up in my Facebook feed on this topic.  Since I have a newly adult child (my youngest just turned 18), I thought it was time to talk about it.  

This woman was complaining about her 19-year-old daughter.  It’s a fairly common story – not working, not going to school, not pulling her weight around the house, etc.  She was paying the daughter’s cell phone bill to the tune of several hundred dollars and letting her use the family car, even when she would leave it empty of gas and full of garbage.  She even said the daughter would call her ugly names and refuse to cooperate in any fashion.

Frankly, it sounded like a pretty awful way to live.  I don’t blame her for being upset, but this is going to be a tough problem to sort out.  I’m sure this child’s bad behavior has been tolerated for many years.  It will take a long time and considerable drama to sort it out.

What do we OWE our Adult Children? Interesting thought - are we giving them too much or too little?

On the other hand, my son has a friend who is just 17 years old who got kicked out of his house.  I don’t know all the details, but from what I understand, he “came out” to his family.  He was immediately evicted from his family home.  He is fortunately able to sleep on a friend’s couch – for a while….

I’m trying not to be judgmental about these parents, because I don’t know the whole story, but it seems to me that each of them is doing major harm to their child.  I can’t imagine that the girl is suddenly going to turn into a great roommate, wife, employee, or whatever.  Did these parents teach her the basics of showing consideration for others, carrying her own weight, and acting like a responsible adult?  Probably not and 19 is a bit late to begin teaching those lessons.

The boy, I can’t even imagine.  A 17-year-old has no real ability to support himself and now he has been suddenly deprived of the basics of food, his belongings, the family relationship, or even a safe place to sleep at night.  That is probably the most severe punishment a family can hand out.  To my mind, this should be reserved for a kid who is absolutely out of control, and even then I think there should be a path to reconciliation with his family.  I just can’t imagine turning your back on your child like that.

CLICK NEXT to see what we really DO owe our adult children

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3 Comments on What Do We OWE Our Adult Children?

  1. I borrowed money from my parents when I first got out of college. I used it pay the first and last month’s rent and security deposit, and then they supplemented me about $100 a month because the rent was expensive (NYC metro area….) I appreciated and needed their help, but I did pay back every penny because it was important to me. As a parent, I can see that they preferred to help me out rather than have me live in a location they felt was unsafe for a young, single female. They never asked me to pay it back. To this day, I’m so glad I did!

    • That’s exactly how I felt and I’m always surprised when others don’t feel that way. I agree with your folks about wanting you in a safe place. I lived in some very seedy areas growing up and even all these years later, I still feel very uncomfortable going into bad parts of town. I would rather have a tiny home in a safe neighborhood than a much larger house in a rough neighborhood.

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