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Disappointed - parents subsidise one sibling & family but not others

(52 Posts)
Greatdomestic Sat 19-Oct-13 15:59:41

Hi all. I am a long term lurker an occasional poster. I can't really discuss this in rl so thought I'd ask for some opinions on this.

I am the youngest of 3 siblings, married, 1 DC. My DH & I have an ok lifestyle but nothing flash.

During a conversation with my DM yesterday, it has emerged that she and my DF when he was alive has been financially supporting my oldest sibling, DP & 3 kids. They both work, live in a large 4 bed detached house, 2 cars and can afford a cleaner every week.

I'm stunned. My other sibling & I get none of this. On the one hand I think my parents should spend their ££ however they want. On the other, I feel really let down for both me & other sibling. But maybe the oldest thinks we all get this.

For example, a few years ago, we decided as a family that we would all only get presents for the kids at Christmas, not siblings and that my parents would just get for the kids too, and maybe a token for the adults. So last Christmas, my DM gave me some nice smellies, my DH some chocs he likes and my DC a nice present. Which is lovely. However she gave my eldest sibling and family £500 between them. Apparently because they don't have much. We are all in our 50s btw.

Thoughts appreciated, I guess I just need to let it go.

DIYapprentice Sat 19-Oct-13 16:02:12

No, it doesn't sound fair, and it is certainly not a way to encourage your children to get along!

Could this be a case of the squeaky wheel gets the oil? Does your eldest sibling make a big fuss of always being short of money, needing help etc and you and your other sibling just get on with it and make the most of what you have?

DontMentionThePrunes Sat 19-Oct-13 16:10:54

I think OP that quite a lot of parents behave like this and who knows what the justification is. It's such a damaging, calculating thing to do to the ones who get left without. It happened in my family too and definitely was a case of my brother being the squeaky wheel. My dad has put things right but it definitely hurt for a good number of years.

I have no advice for you because anything you do will be received as it being about the money, and it isn't.

RandomMess Sat 19-Oct-13 16:26:53

Yeah happens here too, SIL gets help with the dc and loans that never get repaid. We all live locally and tbh they don't seem interested in seeing our dc, have refused to help with occasional part day childcare but will do so for SIL etc etc. Really hurts.

nkf Sat 19-Oct-13 16:29:14

It may be that the other siblings ask for stuff.

DontMentionThePrunes Sat 19-Oct-13 16:31:18

My grandmother gives us money when she has helped my brother out. She can't bear the unfairness. We'd never know, but it weighs on her. She has got the right idea I think.

Greatdomestic Sat 19-Oct-13 17:18:14

Thanks for the responses.

My parents seem to think that myself and other sibling do all right for oursleves, but that oldest sibling never reached their potential earnings wise, since diropping out of uni a long time ago.

Prunes I have always thought that oldest sibling didn't care about money. But I guess that's easy when your parents are bailing you out. I'm so shocked they are still taking $$ from parents at their age.

My dm said yesterday she was going to get them a new tumble dryer as theirs had packed in. When I asked why they couldn't get it themselves, this whole story came out. I told her that she didn't have a cleaner or live in a 4 bed house so why subsidise someone who does? She agreed and said she wouldn't pay for it. But i think they might have been holding on for her to visit last week to pay, as she'd mentioned it a couple of weeks ago too.

It has made sibling & partner really drop in my estimations

Ursula8 Sat 19-Oct-13 17:23:34

Do you all have the same biological parents? I only ask because my X Inlaws did this and during a big family row, which I luckily wasn't involved in, it turned out that the favoured sister had a different father than the other 2 siblings. It was some kind of guilt money that meant she got preferential treatment from the other 2.

Stepmooster Sat 19-Oct-13 17:41:20

When my sister got married my father contributed about £1k and a flashy present, when I got married I got a ceramic salad bowl and wooden serving spoons.

I earn more than my sister and never bleat on about being broke. But as I had once been financially supporting my father for a number of years prior to my wedding I found the present a massive insult. It wasn't even a nice one (made in china).

I've come to the decision that should my father require long term care when he's older I won't be rushing to assist him!

Greatdomestic Sat 19-Oct-13 17:54:23

Yes we all have the same biological parents.

I think it is possibly a few contributing factors as to why eldest sibling is seen differently, in that when my parents first got married they were very young and had very little ££, so maybe eldest got less - but they didn't have much more when the next 2 came along either. I also think they feel guilty for not "making" ES stay on at uni and therefore have a massive earning potential, so maybe it is guilt money.

I have no idea if my other sibling knows this or not. I don't think they'd care about the ££, cos they've got tons but would be pissed off about the principle.

Thanks again for your responses, I'm relieved it's not just my family.

Lavenderhoney Sat 19-Oct-13 18:07:36

Can I ask if you are all females?

My pil help out the eldest son, even though they have 3 boys. We refer to him as " the chosen one" pil have never made a secret of the fact he is their favourite. There is a little shrine to him in their bedroom, on the table, pictures of him all ages, his marriage, his dc.. None of the other boys.

Have you asked your parents why? Its very unfair. My parents always gave us the same ( apart from the flat they bought my db when he married) and when my dm found out she had been helping my dsis with a mortgage that was actually paid off, she changed her will to reflect the thousands over the years.

My dc have missed out, as I was a very late baby, and also had children very late- my nieces are almost the same age as me, so I have had less over the years that she gave to gc.

Luckily my dm was very upfront about her will, which was equal. My pil refuse to discuss it, so I can only assume the chosen one will get the lions share. Luckily, he is a nice bloke, and has told us that whatever they do, he will split it properly. Maybesmile

Wiggy29 Sat 19-Oct-13 23:32:24

Ohhh, we've had so many run-ins with dh's parents about this. They think if we bring it up we're being grabby or ungrateful, but it's genuinely about how unfair it is and how it fosters such bad feeling and resentment.

BIL and SIL had honeymoon paid for, lavish presents for bdays/ xmas and a much larger sum of money than they gave dh towards their house deposit. We currently get bugger all for birthdays, got bugger all for wedding/ birth of second dc and yet they request very expensive gifts (which we oblige) for their bdays.

Their latest thing is to say that unless we do X or Y we'll be cut out of their will! Very tempted to tell them where they can stick their money (they have a lot of it but are very tight).

I have 2 dc and will give equally (as my dp do) as I've seen the bad feeling it causes.

Greatdomestic Sun 20-Oct-13 01:28:05

Lavender I am the only female.

I did ask why yesterday but didn't really get an answer, other than "we've always wanted to do the best for xx".

I didn't want to bring it up again as it may make me seem grabby, but I don't want more, I just want them to stop putting their hands out constantly. I'm not sure me saying anything else will make any difference though.

Lavenderhoney Sun 20-Oct-13 02:50:34

Greatdomestic, are your parents in their 70/80's?

My parents were extremly poor, real poverty when they had my db. He was very poorly as a child as well. He has worked all his life, but is not ambitious, he has a wife who is the same and 2 lovely kids.

My dsis married money. Never worked from the day she found out she was pregnant. I have a dh who is very successful and I am a sahm, although I live abroad.

Prior to this, I had a very good job. A very telling comment from my dm was " you earn too much money for a woman who is unmarried with no children. You are taking that job away from a man with a family to support" shock

An interesting hiring policysmile

They have probably always helped out, the relationship is closer- they discuss money, you don't and you don't with your sibling. And the sibling with the help doesn't with anyone its an open secret.

Its also up to your parents what they do with their money, but its not fair. Now its out in the open, perhaps you could say to your dm, without anger, she needs to think about causing friction between all of you, she needs to be aware that's he and your df may need that money, when older for care - not to pay for a home but for a gardener, cleaner, carer maybe.

If you get own with your db, you could ask him why he is getting money off your mum and dad for stuff you don't. He will probably say because they offer and like doing it. He is right- so you cannot change his relationship with them, maybe change yours, but being more open but might mean giving them more control!

YoureBeingADick Sun 20-Oct-13 02:58:15

Did you travel while younger and living at home? Go to uni? Get a car bought for you? Think back. You may have been funded through something in the past that your oldest didnt get and your parents are evening it up this way.

My sister kicked off when my parents bought me a car recently. She was very quickly reminded that at 26 she still lives at home rent free, was funded entirely by them on a gap year in australia and had all her uni fees paid by them whereas i left home at 19 and have funded myself ever since. No uni, no gap year.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 20-Oct-13 07:35:13

I have a DB that, for some bizarre reason, my parents think 'struggles' and therefore deserves financial help. Been that way his whole life. He's securely employed, his DW chooses not to work and, rather than be a two income household, they often hint at DM that they're a bit short and she coughs up. I'm a lone parent, earn a decent amount, save for rainy days, and the big difference between me and DB is that I would rather pull out my own fingernails than ask anyone for money. smile I've spoken to my parents about it (their last gambit was to mention they were £20k short buying a house that is twice the size of mine ffs) so I know they're aware that there are double standards going on. The main upshot is that I don't respect my DB very much and we're not all that close now.

Greatdomestic Sun 20-Oct-13 11:18:18

Thanks for your responses, I really appreciate it.

Hi Yourebeing, there are probably some things I got, that the others didn't but I can't think of anything substantial. They had much more freedom being male than I did. They never had to cook & clean etc when they came in from school but I did, simply because that was my parents view of what girl should do in the home. DM is in her mid 70s. And I did it too. We all had Saturday jobs from being about 15 and taught that if you don't work for things you have no right to expect them.

We shared a car when living at home, neither my other DB or I went to uni after school but studied much later in life and funded that ourselves. My parents paid for my wedding reception but I know that when both brothers got married they made a substantial contribution to the cost of their weddings too.

Cogito, yes, I think there is a perception that oldest DB "struggles" too, although I have no idea why, given that DB has openly said he has at least 6 months salary in the bank at all times as an emergency fund.
And I don't respect my brother now either, I'm just shocked that he expects DM to financially support his lifestyle choices.

WipsGlitter Sun 20-Oct-13 11:25:51

My FIL does this. SIL gets the most - house and car, BIL the next - £25k towards his house and escorts FIL on holidays, ie gets a free holiday himself and two vintage cars as a gift. We get... not much! It does rankle but DH feels its not worth fighting about.

Looksgoodingravy Sun 20-Oct-13 12:00:00

The same happens with my bil.

I really feel for dp, his brother is younger than him and he says that when he came along he was more or less cast aside! It's happening again with our own dc and I feel really sad for ds.

I don't know why really. Who knows. I only have one DS but I'm pretty certain I would never treat one so different from the other. It hurts even in adulthood. Bil gets everything, won't go into detail on here otherwise I would out myself but he's extremely comfortable because of pil, whereas we've struggled for what we've got. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of all we've achieved without handouts from others and if there weren't now children thrown into the mix I probably wouldn't feel so sad about it but I hurt for DS. I feel sad that he won't have the same relationship that I had with my grandparents.

I really sympathise OP.

bragmatic Sun 20-Oct-13 12:46:32

My MIL has just told my husband that her daughter (SIL) will be receiving the bulk of the estate when she dies (she is in good health and lives independently). He was stunned. I agree that it's her money and she should do what she wishes with it, but still, I found it all very odd. I don't know if the other sibling has been told.

All siblings are financially solvent, btw. Some more than others, but there is little chance that any of them will ever be on the poverty line.

Greatdomestic Sun 20-Oct-13 13:16:30

Yes, my DM should absolutely do what she wants with her ££. Whenever she does ask my opinions on anything financial I always say what I think, with the proviso that "it's your money, you should do what you want with it". There is something specific that she has put in her will re another member of our family which I agreed she should do but make it official, which she then did - her money her choice.

I just think that she may need her money for care etc in the future and should be investing what she has and enjoying life not giving fairly constant hand outs. When DF was in hospital, we all tried to visit as much as possible but she gave eldest DB ££ for petrol to get there. It's incredible.

CailinDana Sun 20-Oct-13 16:28:34

One possibility is guilt money for something you're not aware of.
We never discuss it but I suspect I get a lot more money from my parents than my two sisters. I think this is because a friend of my parents abused me when I was younger. I tried to talk to my mother about it and was told to get over it. I later had a breakdown and while what I wanted was love and support what I got was offers of money. Ever since then any time I seem stressed about something I get money - 10,000 euros for my wedding, £1000 for doing up my bathroom, £500 when my ds was born etc. I think my mother reckons that by throwing money at me she is "supporting" me and that makes her feel less guilty about the abuse and telling me to shut up about it.
I don't really care if they give me their last penny. At least they're giving me something. If they leave themselves broke I won't be helping them out, that's for sure.

Greatdomestic Sun 20-Oct-13 17:57:13

Cailin, that is a possibility. He was very sick when he was tiny and they both felt dreadful about it and DM still does.

And yes, there may be something else too which I am not aware of. Until relatively recently my parents didn't really discuss anything which they considered unsuitable with us at all.

Mojavewonderer Sun 20-Oct-13 18:50:24

My husbands parents are the same. His two younger siblings get all the good stuff while my husband is left to take out loans for them which never get paid back.
Not anymore though because I will never allow it to happen again!
If my mum helps one child she helps them all! We get the same treatment and it's always been this way. She has never asked anything from us in return. We happily give our love freely.

UptheChimney Sun 20-Oct-13 18:57:50

Oh, this is such a sad thread.

It's hard to raise the topic with your parents without seeming grabby. But I always think that money in families is symbolic: it's not the cash value of the gifts or the cash, but what those gifts/cash symbolise.

It must feel as though your DM cares more for your brother than for you. Could you gently say something like that? That the clear difference in the way she treats you & your brother makes you feel unvalued by her?

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