Parents seek a way out – Baltimore Sun
Dear Amy: Recently, our adult daughter “Clare” asked us for $4,000 to help her daughter attend an extremely expensive college ($75,000 per year) on the east coast. We had just given Clare $5,000 (for another cause) and we offered tuition and housing for the community college. She declined.
My husband and I are retired public school teachers. We sent all three children to universities. They ended up debt free.
Our monthly expenses exceed our teachers’ pensions, but we have some savings and a small income. Things are tight.
Clare didn’t manage her money well. When she was in college, we sent her $500 a month and she immediately quit her part-time job. She literally squandered millions on expensive plans and expensive homes. She is now divorced and almost penniless – yet she refuses to find a job and relies on our help.
Now her daughter is making similar decisions.
Clare and her daughter were neither close nor friendly to us and never reached out on the rare times we asked for physical assistance.
Both have lied about our dealings with them and have ridiculed our gifts and lives on numerous occasions.
I feel taken advantage of when they ask for financial help. Nevertheless, I feel obliged! How do we say, “This isn’t the kind of help we can just pass on?”
How do we say “no”?
– Out-of-the-box teachers
Dear Tapped Out: If you and your husband saw a child in your classroom whose parents would always barge in to do his homework, you would see how destructive this behavior is and how it affects the child’s ability to deal with challenges.
YOU have the spending problem.
Her lifelong practice of empowering “Clare” helped create a entitled, incompetent, needy, angry adult who lacks basic judgment – and now she’s passing that on to the next generation.
You are allowing her, because you are too anxious or overly anxious, to face the discomfort you would feel if you stopped.
And then there’s this: Clare isn’t even nice to you!
She’s not nice to you when you give, and she won’t be nice to you if you don’t.
You have guided all three of your children to debt-free adulthood. That’s more than many parents can do, and you did it.
Your duty at this stage of life is to take responsible care of yourself. (Will Clare take you in when there’s nothing left?)
All requests should be met with, “We’re not going to give you any more money. You can solve your problems yourself – we believe in you!”
Do not provide excuses or explanations.
Dear Amy: I call my sister several times a week. We usually call each other spontaneously.
Lately she’s been doing multiple tasks more and more frequently while we’re talking, either making and eating a snack, driving the car, etc.
The problem is that these activities generate a lot of noise, some of which are quite distracting or even crunch through the phone.
When she’s driving, the call often drops.
She even called me at a coffee shop and then asked me to wait while she ordered or paid.
If I’m busy with something when she calls, I’ll ask her if I can call her back in a few minutes.
When I call, if I notice that she’s multitasking, I’ll offer to call back later, but she usually says no and gets on with what she’s doing.
What is accepted modern telephone etiquette?
– Hanging on a leash
Dear trailer: It’s not necessarily “modern,” but basic good manners mean don’t speak with your mouth full, start a conversation when you’re in the middle of a transaction (or vice versa), or choose to reach out to someone when you can don’t pay close attention.
Don’t offer a call back. Ask your sister if she could call you back when there isn’t that much background noise.
Dear Amy: I applaud your response to Regrettable the gentleman who has been divorced from his first wife for many years and wishes to apologize.
I wholeheartedly agree with your encouragement regarding this apology.
When my first husband and I had been divorced for 34 years, he called out of the blue and apologized for everything.
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I didn’t know I needed to hear this, but I did.
He died very unexpectedly six weeks later. I am grateful that he passed with a clear heart.
Dear Judy: “A clear heart.” That’s what we should all strive for.
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