Recently I received an email from a distraught mother. She was desperate to find out what she can do to get her children to stop asking her for money. Her email broke my heart because I could understand what she was going through. I have three children of my own and I would do anything for them.
I want to share our emails with you to get my advice on the situation. I have changed this woman’s name to protect her identity. I wanted to share this information because it could be extremely valuable to others.
Here is the email I received from Samantha:
Do we need a financial adviser or psychological counselor? My husband and I are retired and monthly our children go from one crisis to another leaving us broke and in the hole. So sick of not being in charge of our money and not being able to live the retirement that we had dream of. Who can help us?
Good afternoon Samantha,
Thank you for your patience as I wanted to give you an in-depth reply to this matter. First off, my heart breaks for you. I understand how you feel by constantly having to bail your children out of bad financial decisions because of your love for them. I am assuming your children are adults due to you being retired. I have three children of my own so I very much understand the parent-child bond.
With that being said, if you constantly need to help them out with money every month, you are not loving them well. Let me explain. Your children should not have reoccurring monthly financial crises that are out of their control. If they properly managed their money, they would not have these crises.
Emotions As A Parent
I am assuming you know this already. The problem is an internal struggle you are having. You want your children to fend for themselves and to grow up financially, but the motherly side of you can’t stand to see your children hurting. The motherly side continues to win which is why you continue to give them money.
Samantha, the truth is, you are hurting them more by helping them out financially every time they run into a crisis. By bailing them out every time, you are empowering their bad financial behavior. Whether the kids overtly know this or not, they know that no matter how bad it gets, mom and dad will always be there to help them out.
This is a terrible place for both your children and you to be in. Your children need to learn to live within their own means. They need to understand that mom and dad are not always going to be there for them. If you continue to help them out financially, they will never be able to live without you. Someday you and your husband will pass. Your children need to learn how to live without your monetary support.
It’s Time To Show Them Tough Love
So how do we do this? If you truly love your children, (and I know you do because of your actions) you need to start showing them some tough love. Have a sit down meeting with them and let them know that you and your husband are not going to help them out financially anymore.
Let them know you love them and will always be there for them, but you will not continually be there financially for them. It’s time they learned to manage their money and do a budget. It is time they build up an emergency savings and 6 months of living expenses in cash. They are adults, it’s time they started acting like adults with their money.
Do not be surprised when their initial reaction is anger. Remember when they were little and you told them they could not have more ice cream – even though they really wanted it? You did it because you wanted them to be healthy, but they became angry. Their initial reaction may be anger, but someday when they get their financial act together, they will thank you for it. By refusing to provide them with a constant financial crutch, you will make them stronger. You will teach them how to live financially independent lives.
It’s Not Normal For Adult Children To Constantly Need Money From Their Parents
All of this may be harsh but it is the truth. Adults need to act like adults. It is not normal for adult children to need money from their parents on a monthly basis. It is not healthy for any of you. My best recommendation is to show them some tough love, and really love them. Put your motherly emotional side to rest for a moment and do what is in the best interest of your children. Force them to grow up financially. Force them to live within their means and to get their financial life in order. If you keep giving them money, they will never get their act together – they have no reason to.
I hope this information was helpful, and if you would like more reading, I highly recommend the book Boundaries. It is a great book about boundaries and how and when to say “NO” while still loving the other person.
If there are any other questions you have, please feel free to reach out to me Samantha.
I will pray for a quick resolution to your matter and your healing. Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you!
These situations are extremely difficult. As a parent, I can understand the need to provide for and protect your children. Unfortunately, we can hurt and hinder our children by loving them in the wrong way. In Samantha’s case, she was giving money to stop her own hurting. She did not like to see her children in a bad place, so she fixed it. As I stated in my reply, she was only empowering her children’s bad behavior. Her children were not growing up because they had no reason to.
As parents, we must do what is best for our children and not for ourselves. Samantha was stopping her own hurt by helping her children. Cutting her children off financially would actually cause more immediate pain. Her children may be upset and they would still be broke. However, over time her children would be forced to grow up and live within their means – or find someone else to empower their bad behavior.
We can be tough on our children while loving them at the same time. I sent a follow-up email to Samantha offering her budgeting tools and support to offer her children. We can certainly help our children every step of the way, but it doesn’t always need to involve money.
Thank you for reading and please subscribe by email below so you do not miss any of my future posts. You work too hard to be this broke!