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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.

Greatdomestic Sun 20-Oct-13 19:57:47

I guess it does make me feel unvalued. The ££ for petrol was a real gutter but I have never mentioned it in rl, not even to my DH. When my DF was ill, I was going to the hospital every night after work as I lived closest and he made it once a week tops, once every two weeks normally. My DM didn't give me or other DB ££ for petrol, or my older DNs who also drove there to see him.

Sorry, re-reading the above sounds really self-pitying.

UptheChimney Sun 20-Oct-13 20:04:25

No, not self-pitying at all. It's a reasonable expectation that parents treat each child fairly.

tribpot Sun 20-Oct-13 20:06:12

It doesn't sound self-pitying, it's a thoughtlessly hurtful way of treating siblings. I am one of five in a blended family (one bro, three step-siblings) and my parents (mum and step-dad) have always been scrupulous about ensuring they are completely fair about money. It's the only sensible way to avoid this horrible feeling of resentment that you have and can't articulate to them, Greatdomestic.

Six months' salary as an emergency fund - bet that was a damn sight easier to build up with his parents subbing him through life. What bloody emergency would have to happen to get him to part with any of it?!

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

I can see why you're upset. My DPs and DPILs have always been scrupulous about helping their DC equally (I have come to think that this is unfair, as we need their £££s much less than DBIL and DSIL, but at least this way no-one feels hard done by). However, while we were the only childless members of the family, my goodness were we treated differently by PILs! Just not in financial terms.

GiveItYourBestShot Sun 20-Oct-13 20:40:35

My dad subs my sister. She owns two buy-to-let houses and bought a camper van last year, but apparently can't support herself financially. It's one of the reasons we no longer speak. Can you get the whole family to openly discuss it? Easier said than done, I know.

Greatdomestic Sun 20-Oct-13 21:19:36

GiveIT, logistically all openly discussing it is not really likely.

However, I do want to raise it again with my DM to try and understand the thought behind it. I don't think I will ever really know the full extent of it and it may be more than my perception or less, as no actual figure was mentioned.

nameschangeslikesocks Sun 20-Oct-13 21:27:14

Same here. Many reasons and justifications why they have always financially supported my DSis rather than me

eg you have MH issues - university was never going to lead to a career for you anyway (and you wonder where I got alllllllll that self-belief from?)
DSis went to a better university than you (let the Exeter v UCL battle commence)
it'd go towards your step-children as well as our grandchildren (yes, and?)
DSis lives in such a tiny house with such a massive mortgage (and bought in central London of entirely her own free will)

At the end of the day, though, I'd rather be skint and independent and happy with my own family. My DSis' sense of entitlement and privilege has not entirely benefited her life. She expects her kids to treat her as the perfection that her parents did, and she is having trouble managing their very normal toddler brattiness and strops and defiances. I think I'm much more comfortable and relaxed as a mum, and that's beyond what money can buy.

jamakatab Mon 21-Oct-13 00:34:13

I rarely post, but this is quite topical. My husband is the eldest of two brothers and has wonderful parents that I'm very close to, we socialise together and have very similar (non material) lifestyles. I've just learned from a relative that my BiL's wife believes that my PiL have been financially supporting us for years. Many years ago they did help us with child care costs, but we kept a record of the amounts given and when we could afford it (after selling our house) we not only paid them back in a lump sum - but were also able to give them a huge interest free loan as they were in need of a bridging loan for a house purchase. I now discover that my BiL's wife thinks that we've had thousands of pounds from them and is very bitter because of it. Not quite sure how to broach the subject with her, but really don't think it's right to let her go on thinking something that's not true and obviously will affect her feelings toward my lovely (scrupulously fair) parents in law.

nkf Mon 21-Oct-13 06:54:37

I agree that it isn't fair but I can see situations where it comes about. If a child gets into financial difficulties and asks a parent for help and the parent gives that help, should they give the same amount to the child's not in difficulties sibling? That seems a bit odd. Effectively, having to double or triple the amount paid out. Or should they refuse to help. Or say here's the money now but it comes out of the money you will inherit? You can see how a situation arises without it being mean or favouritism. Although of course there is meanness and favouritism in some families.

Greatdomestic Mon 21-Oct-13 10:03:03

Nkf, I see what you mean, but this is not my situation. My d.b. is not on financial difficulties, but is subsidized anyway.

BurberryQ Mon 21-Oct-13 10:06:42

oh i know - my younger sister had a baby and got £20,000 - I got a pushchair - you couldn't make it up.

wordfactory Mon 21-Oct-13 10:17:36

My ILs have always been like this.

And not just in terms of cash, but also assistance of any manner. BIL comes first, second and thrid.

DH says it was just the smae when he was a kid!

We don't receive Christmas or birthday gifts. Sometimes I don't get a card! DH usually does. DC usually do, but always late! Sometimes they say they won't send it but will 'give it to them in person' which can be months late. They've even been open about the fact that we won't inherit anyhting from them!

They can be very sure that this DIL will not be wiping any aged arses!

wordfactory Mon 21-Oct-13 10:24:06

nfk I can see that there might be situations where one sibling is considered more 'in need' than another.

But I think as a parent you need to be super careful not to set up inequalities amongst your DC. One day you will be gone and the best thing you can leave them with is a strong resentment free bond IMVHO.

I think you also need to be extrememly careful about how you assess 'need.' Some needs are caused by choices and poor decisions. It's not for a parent to reward those who made crap choices.

Nor is it for a parent to second guess what the future might hold.

For example my IL placed 10k in a savings account for their first grandchild. Of course they had no hope of doing that for those that followed. So why on earth did they do it? Did they really think there would be no more?

Another example, my Mum's friend has given huge financial and practical help to one sibling because the others 'are sorted'. One of those siblings has now, sadly, had a baby with a life limiting illness. They need as much financial and practical assisstance as they can get. Yet there's no slack from the GPs because they assumed everything woyuld stay the same!

campion Mon 21-Oct-13 11:26:10

MiL decided to make her will to favour first born.DH no 3.She couldn't see the problem confused

DH didn't want to make a fuss, said it would cause trouble.I was fuming but had to let it go.Not because I wanted her stuff but just the unfairness got to me.She died,firstborn got pick (though I did sneak out a few items wink) and I still don't get it.

NightmareWalking Mon 21-Oct-13 12:01:47

My DPs are scrupulously fair to us all, even though some of my other siblings treat them shabbily which winds me up a little bit! PILs are a different story which like others above, when BIL was born DH (6 at the time!) was pretty much left to fend for himself (almost literally - he was put into boarding school and lived with his gran in the holidays- BIL they took with them). Had to make his own way to uni on the train, BIL chauffeured door to door and so on. Our wedding gift was B & Q vouchers, BIL and SIL got part of their wedding paid for and a luxury honeymoon... Worse as this is all he's ever known DH thinks it's fair I think.

BIL returned to live with PIL and still lives close now but we live 6 hours away... Says it all really. I won't let them do it to my DD though.

babyicebean Mon 21-Oct-13 13:05:12

We get this a lot. MIL will do anything at all for the nieces and SIL. I think it's because she dislikes BIL. SIL has always been the 'delicate, poorly' child while DH has sorted himself out and never asked for anything. SIL seems to revel in her 'health problems' which always flare up whenever she isn't the centre of attention.

MILmade a big thing of setting up savings accounts for them, she asked me for my threes birth certificates so she could open accounts for mine. Knowing that she was likely to loose them I gave her savings books that I had for the kids, the building society is next to the bank she puts the DN's money into. I still get the statements so I can see nothing has been put into any of their accounts in the last seven years. The eldest niece was given her account at 18 and posted on Facebook the statement showing how much she had got.
MIL constantly buys things for the DN's and we are still waiting for two of the kids Birthday presents from last year and all the kids stuff from this. DH has decided to give up with her, not cut contact but not to initiate any.

nkf Mon 21-Oct-13 17:54:01

The db is in financial difficulties - entirely of his own making. Hard to resist bailing your kids out though sometimes you should refuse. I agree it's.bad but u can see how it's the sort of bad that comes about through good intentions.

BMW6 Mon 21-Oct-13 20:38:04

This is terribly sad, in that your DP's are being so unbalanced in their attitude to their children.

I agree of course that it is their money to do with as they will, but of course other siblings are going to feel hurt and under valued by this behaviour.

Altho my own parents treated us all the same financially, my DM was always "biased" towards my youngest DSis achievements. If sis got a promotion, DM would ring around with the wonderful news..... when the others got a promotion, that didn't happen!

Us siblings all talked about it, youngest sis was aware DM was doing it and was horrified, but somehow none of us tackled DM about it. I think she would have been ultra defensive, then when she realised how it made us feel she would have been mortified, so we didn;t want to hurt her IYSWIM.

DM dead now, but I wish I had broached the issue with her.

Could you talk about it to your parents?

Glenshee Mon 21-Oct-13 21:45:19

I was getting preferential treatment in comparison to my siblings, although my DM now says that in the future she wants to divide any handouts equally (which is entirely fair and the right thing to do). The logic was that we were in touch more often, and she found it rewarding to know and see how the money was used (family car, a holiday and a lump sum to make maternity leave more comfortable). She felt that her money makes a real difference, as I was always sending her pictures/emails telling about how the money was spent. I never asked for any of it, and never expected it, but was in touch with DM so she knew what we're up to and what we're saving for.

My DB is sitting on a big pile of money, but is very tight, examining receipts that his wife brings from the supermarket hmm so my DM reckons that giving him money will make little or no difference to their lifestyle. The hurtful thing is however that my DF dislikes my SIL with passion, which naturally makes their relationship very strained. They are very upset that parents don't visit them (and their babies) as often as us, but my DF says he finds it very difficult to cope with SIL and it makes him ill to be there for extended periods of time.

My other DB is going to inherit parents' property but doesn't get any handouts, as far as I know. He has no children.

None of us has ever asked for (or expected) any money, as far as I know. I supported my DM financially for a short period of time in the past but this didn't amount to a lot of money and was more useful as a safety net / moral support for her.

I kind of feel that my parents can do what they wish with their money, at their age, but then it's easy for me to say that...

Interesting discussion.

JammieMummy Mon 21-Oct-13 22:33:35

This is very interesting we have 3 different situations in my family

1. My grandparents heavily favour me over...well just about everyone I think confused but there are many reasons for it. I always think of them, keep in touch and am grateful for all help received (both financial and emotional). Also they adore my children and I give them as much time with them as they like (not the case for others in my family) but probably most importantly I never ask for anything, they will just give me things to "help me out" or "make your life a bit easier", DH and I are comfortably off but everyone likes a nice treat and I am always very gratuitous.

2. My DM clearly favours my DB, I think this is because she mistakenly feels that the rest of the family don't like him much and she has to make up for that. Every time I speak to her she is at his house, looking after his kids (whom I adore) or bailing him out. I am pleased to say that it doesn't seem to have effected my relationship with DB maybe because it has always been this way so we don't know any different or maybe because I think he hasn't reached his full potential due to her always supporting him even if he is wrong, so in the long run I got the better deal and DB doesn't let it come between us either.

3. PIL overwhelming favour SIL and her children. We see them 3 times a year (to the point where my children don't really know who they are) and they see SIL at least three times a week! Nothing is too much trouble for SIL money, baby sitting, helping out with household tasks (including doing all their cleaning for them). I don't think this would be quite so hurtful to DH if SIL didn't hold it over his head all the time and use it to disrupt the very occasional times we seem them (she actually stopped them coming to see us on at least 3 occasions as she didn't want them spending time with DH or DC). DH says it has always been like this and his grandparents told me that they used to step in when he was a child or he would be ignored completely sad but now we don't speak to SIL at all and we have a very distant relationship with PIL, we don't miss them so it doesn't effect our lives but I do feel a bit sad that my DD said "PIL don't count as Grandparents cos we never see them".

I hope (and will work very hard) not to have favourites between my two and at the moment can't see any reason on earth why I would have a favourite but I suppose I have another 50 years or so to go yet!!!

JammieMummy Mon 21-Oct-13 22:35:23

Gratuitous = gracious (god knows what spell check was doing there!)

Greatdomestic Mon 21-Oct-13 22:41:34

Thanks for all the posts.

Jama, your situation is interesting too. Could the fact that you had a loan which was repaid perhaps be filtered back somehow or would you be able to broach the subject directly?

BMW, yes I am going to speak to my DM again.

Lavenderhoney Tue 22-Oct-13 06:16:21

My dsis does this with her grown dc. She gives money all the time to her dd1, in the form of new outfits every saturday, money for running a car, going out... but not ds as he has a great job and lives far far away. Her dd2 doesn't get anything as although she is at home too, she would rather have the money to spend or save, and so as dsis can't control the spend, she doesn't give.

It interesting about giving money to gc. My dh gave his first niece ( before we met) cash presents and then he met me, we had dc, and his db had more dc. My dh was still thinking of giving cash to his niece, but we can't now as we have our own dc for any savings!

His db has never given us anything like that, which is fine, they are not wealthy and its not expected. However as the elder ds is the favourite, my pil expect dh to help him out, as he is not as successful as dh, through choice - ie prefers a less demanding job and has less money. He doesn't expect anything either!

The younger ds is very entitled and is currently chasing dh for money, as a gift, with the backing of pil, as " they need some help, and you can afford it" Yes, but we also want to save for retirement and our own dc! We aren't loaded!

I think they would prefer a bank account and all the money goes in and mil shares it out. They aren't happy for dh as he is not reliant on them for handouts, and doesn't want to be, but it annoys him pil give all their cash and pay school fees for db's dc. I tell him to keep out of it and its their money. Still unfair though. Pil like to point out dh doesn't need their help.

williaminajetfighter Tue 22-Oct-13 06:51:15

OP I feel for you. It is very much like this in my family. I have 2 brothers and 2 stepbrothers and money is definitely doled out on the basis of need, not parity. One stepbrother has been gainfully unemployed for 15 years and he gets everything thrown at him - Dad bought him a car, a house, paid for training... The list goes on. Older brother also gets lots especially after his divorce. C

It feels a bit like a very unfair welfare state and there seems to be no reward for coping and self sufficiency. I have given up thinking there is much I can do --- I think this is why the parable of the 'prodigal son' still resonates so much.

My dad did say he is keeping track of every 'gift' and it will all 'even out' in his will... But again in not counting on it.

Not much you can do about it except to take the high road (and maybe say something to your sibling who is benefitting... No harm in letting them know how you feel...)

KouignAmann Tue 22-Oct-13 10:24:56

This is interesting and I hadn't thought it through before. My lovely DPs have 4DC. I am oldest, good career and all DC went to local comp no school fees. I would never ask for a handout on principle. Next DS rich banker, loads a money, ditto. DS2 started a business, got into trouble, girls at posh school and too delicate to rough it at comp! DPs have paid mortgage and fees for them. DSis very conscious she and her DH have less, she never worked, always asking DPs to help out buying land, paying for renovations. I recently found out she has had a gold visa card DM pays off 'for treats'. In hindsight she was always the one asking for lifts etc while I walked or hitchhiked.
Do I care? No I have self respect and independence and my DC are all fabulous rounded human beings! I love my family and think my DPs are lovely to help DB out. DSis will always be entitled I realize. Maybe I will tackle her over it.

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