Q: We have an adult child who doesn’t want to grow up. She quit college after two years and moved across the country. As we anticipated, she’s having difficulty supporting herself. In fact, she doesn’t have a job and seems to have no real motivation to get one. Her mother, my husband’s ex-wife, thinks we should be sending her a monthly allowance to help with her rent and food. We have kept her on our health insurance, but feel that sending her money would equate to approving her poor choices and unacceptable lifestyle. What would you do?
A: I’d do what you’re doing. Legally, you are under no obligation to support an adult child, and supporting an irresponsible adult child will only further delay her maturity. It may be what she wants, and it is surely going to make her life temporarily more comfortable, but it is not what she needs, not in the long run. Her mother is obviously addicted to enabling, and the girl is obviously addicted to entitlements. This is a toxic arrangment, one that you should not participate in. She isn’t going to learn how to deal with life’s realities if you make it possible for her to be both irresponsible and care-free.
Decisions of this sort are riddled with guilt and self-doubt. They are the toughest of parental decisions, in fact. Hang tough, and remember that life’s most valuable lessons are learned the hard way.