(Closed) Are parents the child's responsibility?

posted 5 years ago in Family
Post # 3
1603 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@AnonymousQuestion:  In your situation, when she is in the position she is literally because of her own bad choices, then no. She is an adult who should be dealing with the consequences of her own actions/spending and living within her means. Is it an option for her to go back to work? 50 isn’t that old.

Post # 4
670 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

He should not have to take care of her, she made this mess. I mean when my parents are older like in 70s I may have them move in with us, but 50s. He shouldn’t have to help his mother at all.

Post # 5
546 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@AnonymousQuestion:  In this situation, absolutely not.  These are grown adults who have made their own decisions and now have to remain accountable for them.  It is NOT your FI’s problem.

Post # 6
2363 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013 - B&B

Wow this is definitely hard.  Darling Husband and I have been having some of these conversations as well.

I think, since the parents are ABLE to work to an extent and they aren’t completely desititute that NO he should NOT be paying for his parents.  If he’s giving his parents money (that it sounds like they aren’t being smart with) then he is not putting that money towards YOUR future.  This could be dramatic, but what happens if you two spend so much effort and money towards “keeping them afloat” that you neglect your OWN savings…. then if you run into any difficulties later in life, suddenly you don’t have a nest egg or savings of your own, and now YOUR future children (if you have some/are having some in the future) are taking care of YOU… and it could be a vicious cycle.

His parents sound like they can figure things out, at the moment, and still work, etc. They also chose to make the decisions that they did.  Not your DH’s fault. Your Darling Husband should stop spending money on them now so that when they are TRULY old and cannot care for themselves or work any longer, then maybe you two can help in some ways. It might be different too if his parents had fallen on hard times that were truly not their fault, or an illness (although addiction is a sort of illness, I suppose), but I would start cutting them off now.

Post # 7
920 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I’m sort of in a similar situation with my parents. They are divorced, in their 50’s, neither one works and they don’t have any money. My dad lives in his parents basement and is miserable.

I have tried very hard over the years to help them, but also have to keep telling myself that they are where they are due to their own life choices, and all I can do is make better decisions for my future.

And to be honest, it sounds like your Darling Husband is enabling her by helping so much. Maybe if she knew she wouldn’t get help from him she would change

Post # 9
2880 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

@AnonymousQuestion:  we’re going through this with my Future Mother-In-Law and Future Brother-In-Law. (There’s some loans taken out for Fiance that he didn’t know about, but has to pay or else ruin his credit, his brother stole from him and didn’t pay school loans that Fiance co-signed for because FMIL’s credit score was a mess, Future Brother-In-Law dropped out of school and used the money for drugs…)

It’s a mess. I keep telling Fiance that he’s just enabling them if he bails them out because they have made consistently bad choices and will continue to do so, especially because it’s HIS money, not theirs. 

There’s nothing to be gained from continuing to “help” and only negatives. They will not learn to be self-sufficient and it also puts our financial future at risk – we can’t buy a house, have kids, or save for retirement. 

My mom raised six kids without have a college degree. The most I’ve helped her is opening a credit card with her so she could have a credit history to get an apartment when she left my dad. She’s worked multiple minimum wage jobs and has held it together to live within her means. We want to help her because she never asks, and she never wants to take our help. She’s never abused our credit card or stolen money from me. 

Fiance is starting to come around to not helping his mom, mostly because it’s starting to mess with his career which he loves. Sorry I can’t be more prescriptive, but thought it would help to know you aren’t the only one. 

Post # 11
1915 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - backyard in the woods

@AnonymousQuestion:  It depends on the situation. However, in your case NO. Their immaturity and inability to act like an adult is not his problem. He has done his part to try to help, but the efforts he makes are obviously squandered. I’ve been in a similar situation, and I fully believe that as long as he is supporting her bad habit, she will not change. Why budget/deny yourself anything you want if it always works out in the end? Good luck OP. I hope your Darling Husband is able to put his foot dwon and stop being used.

Post # 12
982 posts
Busy bee

@AnonymousQuestion:  This is a tough situation. My parents would never tell me if they had money troubles – never ever. If finances were tight when we were kids, they never told us. As adults, they still wouldn’t tell us, because they think that if they had money troubles, it’s not our problem. If they did have money problems, I’d do what I could to help – but they wouldn’t accept it. Once I was out and about, and my Mum called and asked if I could pick up a pizza for them on the way to their house. Mum transferred $20 into my bank account even though the pizza didn’t cost that much, and she didn’t want the change. My parents are always looking after me and they think that’s how it should always be – not the other way around.

Your DH’s family has issues because they are not smart with money. It’s not like they’ve fallen on to hard times through no fault of their own and are struggling – it’s a long term thing of making bad choices and expecting someone else to fix it. I can understand why your Darling Husband feels so badly about it, and it’s so easy for me to say that he just shouldn’t help them, but he’s emotionally involved and feels a great sense of obligation. The sad part is that his mother obviously knows how to push his buttons and get money out of him by using guilt. The $60K loan is alarming, and whoever loaned that to her was irresponsible (I asked my bank for a $20K loan for a new car, saw my reaction for the $500/month repayments and said ‘put that money aside for a couple of months to prove to yourself that you can afford it, then come back and see me”). Who on earth thought she could afford to pay a loan that huge back?

My personal opnion is that he shouldn’t have to look after her. She needs to see a financial counsellor to help her sort it out, they can help her draw up a budget and be smarter with her money.

Post # 13
103 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

The opinion I’m about to express might not be too popular, but so be it.  Do I think children should be responsible for taking care of their parents?  Nope.  Barring some kind of horrible accident or medical condition where the parent really and truly needs help, I really don’t feel like children should have to take on that burden unless they, say, have pots of money or just want to do so.  I’m fully aware that this sounds harsh, but in a case such as the OP’s, definitely definitely definitely NOT.  Part of being a functioning, responsible adult is taking care of yourself, and if you are capable of doing so, then you should.  The OP’s mother-in-law has an income (albeit small, I’m assuming) and can presumably perform activities of daily living on her own; therefore, she is able to take care of herself.  If there isn’t much money coming in, you adjust your lifestyle to accommodate that.  You don’t go out and take out $60,000 loans when you have to cash out bonds to pay bills.  If you need a car, you get a used Toyota or something for $7,000.  If you can’t maintain the house you live in because it’s too much, you downsize.  It sucks, but again, it’s like my parents always said, being an adult isn’t fun sometimes.  It sounds like the OP’s Mother-In-Law wants other people to subsidize a lifestyle that’s beyond her means, and that’s not fair.


In a situation like this, it’s very easy to run out of patience.  Yes, life isn’t kind to some people and I’m sympathetic to that, but when you consistently make choices that are detrimental to your financial well-being as well as your family’s and refuse to take any kind of responsibility to the point that you expect someone to swoop in and save you at the last minute by paying your loan that’s in default or whatever, it’s gone way out of control.  And anyone who does the swooping in to save someone like that from losing their car or their house or getting the electricity shut off is enabling that person to carry on acting irresponsibly.  So OP, I completely understand your position and I really hope that your husband can extricate himself from this cycle, because it’s going to keep on until he finally says enough is enough.


Post # 14
5660 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I dno’t believe that your children should be your meal ticket to being irresponsible. It’s a parent’s job to be responsible for themselves, and if they are not then it’s their job to deal with it. I think it really sucks that your fiance’s parents both try to guilt him about THEIR money woes, and his mother seems very manipulative, which will never change. I’m glad though that he tries not to feed into it and doesn’t give her hand out’s if he can help it. I know it’s hard not to want to fix things for your parents but it’s not your job (your being an overall term). If he earns a good salary, good for him, it means he earned it, and he has NO obligation to give anyone else any money because of it.

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