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Adult kid support

(19 Posts)
Oboe1 Sat 12-Sep-15 20:32:44

Does anyone out there have this problem?
My kids are all in their 20's but have low paid work, internships etc or studying. I still receive spousal maintenance (ends next year). My ex won't help the kids financially on the grounds that he is paying me maintenance which he says should cover me and the 3 kids. The kids agree. So I am using maintenance/savings and/or my pension to help them.

I'd do anything for them but they seem to think that's fine that their father should not need to, even after he stops paying maintenance. My partner also helps my kids with accommodation etc. My ex is on a substantial tax free income with no one to support but himself. It really hurts that my kids consider that everything I have is down to their father when in reality I had a well paid career before I quit to follow him abroad and to raise our three kids. I'm sure my situation is common but it's the kids attitude I find so hard.

I love them all dearly but they don't see what I do as coming from me, their Dad gets the credit. Having myself a pity party I suppose, but does any of this sound familiar, I'd love to hear I'm not alone!

MrsLeighHalfpenny Sat 12-Sep-15 20:35:24

Stop helping them. At 20+ they should be paying you keep if they are working, even if just a small amount. If they're studying, then it is still the role of you and DH to support them IMO.

Oboe1 Sat 12-Sep-15 20:48:19

They didn't graduate until 24 so I couldn't cut them off earlier. Now the older ones pay ridiculous high rent and are completely cleaned out by rent and travel costs. Not sure what I'd achieve by cutting them off....though I won't say I haven't considered it!

Oysterbabe Sat 12-Sep-15 22:13:47

Cut them off!!
My parents haven't had to support me since I left for university aged 18, paid for it with student loan and a part time job and have worked and lived within my means ever since.
Most parents don't pay for their kids once they've left home.

Oboe1 Sat 12-Sep-15 22:33:17

So far the vote is to cut them off - just like their father!

MrsLeighHalfpenny Sun 13-Sep-15 00:27:08

Buy them the odd treat of course, dont actually completely cut them off. but they shouldn't be relying on you to subsidise their salary so they can pay high rent. They need to cut their cloth according to their means and rent somewhere to live that's suitable for the salary they earn.

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 13-Sep-15 01:35:24

I'll apologise in advance OP, because this is going to come across really harsh.

"I'd do anything for them"
Not quite true. The one thing you apparently will not do is make them stand on their own two feet. Sometimes it's hard, but our job as parents is to prepare them to face the world independently; not to wrap them in cotton wool.

"They didn't graduate until 24 so I couldn't cut them off earlier."
24? So they did a Masters/PhD? Further study was a choice on their part, begun when they were already adult, and maybe you should have allowed them to make the choice on their own (rather than influencing their choice by financing one option). Maybe they should have considered they couldn't afford to do it, or needed to do it part-time and work to finance it.

I'm a bit confused re your finances.

"My ex won't help the kids financially on the grounds that he is paying me maintenance which he says should cover me and the 3 kids. The kids agree." Do you agree? Is he paying enough?

"So I am using maintenance/savings and/or my pension to help them."
So if part of it is maintenance and part of it is your savings/pension, then your children are being financed by both of you (assuming he is paying enough maintenance)?

"I love them all dearly but they don't see what I do as coming from me, their Dad gets the credit."
All the credit? Or just some of the credit? He's entitled to some of the credit if his maintenance also maintains them. (Again, only if the amount is actually enough.)

"it's the kids attitude I find so hard."
Again, not quite sure of what that attitude is. Is it that they credit your ex for the financial help and not you, or is it the attitude that they should be financially helped despite being adults?

"Now the older ones pay ridiculous high rent and are completely cleaned out by rent and travel costs."
Then they need to cut their coat according to their cloth. Flatshare, move, whatever they need to do AS ADULTS.

"Not sure what I'd achieve by cutting them off".
Their independence. And the end of your martyrdom. Sorry, but you really shouldn't be financing them at their ages. It's not healthy for your relationships with them.

ThisIsStillFolkGirl Sun 13-Sep-15 08:16:48

I am going to go slightly against the grain here.

I don't disagree with what others are saying, but we are in a rather different world nowadays to when the majority of posters here were at university. It's a bit like comparing apples and oranges.

I don't think it's unusual for parents to support an adult child through an internship as they pay very little/no money. The criticism there should be levelled at the industries which favour the priveliged in this way, not the people who are required to navigate them.

Therefore, cutting them off at this stage is more likely to lead to problems than the desired outcome.

I do think, however, that they need to be more realistic in their expectations. If sky high rents are eating their meagre incomes, they need to meet you in the middle at least and find somewhere cheaper to live.

I think back to some of the places I lived in when i was young - mouse infested freezing cold flats; a shared house that felt like little more than a squat... I had nothing from my parents after 18. It wasn't ideal, but I did have some fun times, it's resilience building and I paid my own way.

They need to find cheaper places to live so that they're not using you to subsidise a lifestyle they haven't yet earned.

ThisIsStillFolkGirl Sun 13-Sep-15 08:19:02

Oj and support shouldrbe time limited and fixed.

Oboe1 Sun 13-Sep-15 08:41:20

Hm lots of food for thought. Firstly there is no child element in my maintenance - that's why it's called spousal maintenance and of course all of them are over 18. Secondly, my kids do have a very good work ethic. All three have done internships and charity work - one for Macmillan Cancer unpaid and so got heavily overdrawn. They don't ask for anything, ever, but of course when I know they need things (as opposed to want things,) I help. If you're in London in a starter job the pay is too basic for most rent and yet they are meant to put in all the hours to invest in the next step, so a long commute from a cheaper area just doesn't fly.
I've done my share of unheated attics with no fire escape living on macaroni for weeks on end. That's why I would rather not have them do the same when Dad is in a tax haven on 6 figures.
I couldn't agree more about the independence, I've believed all my parenting life in giving fishing rods not fish. However... The victim comment I take on board and maybe for that reason alone I should reconsider my contributions. I wouldn't feel a victim if the kids attributed some of the generosity to me, rather than seeing me as the middle man in their Dad's support.

junebirthdaygirl Sun 13-Sep-15 08:58:04

I think with your family you do it and don't expect any understanding of the sacrifice it takes. I only really appreciated what my parents did when l was much older and especially when l had to do it myself for my own children. My children are like yours now 20 to 25. A tip l got was if you can afford it and are able to do it with a happy heart do it happily. If you feel manipulated or feel resentment or can't afford it don't do it. My ds is doing an internship with no pay. He has a part-time job to pay essentials but l give him a bit to subsidise that but l don't resent it. So do it happily or don't do it. Forget their dad. They will understand in time. You know what you have done and good for you for managing it all.

ThisIsStillFolkGirl Sun 13-Sep-15 09:30:18

The thing is, OP, some of my best memories (good and bad) are in those places! They are where I found out who I was and also learnt that if I fell flat onmy face and ended up with nothing, I could do it.

Your husband didn't start off on a huge salary. It's part of the adventure. ..

pallasathena Sun 13-Sep-15 10:54:47

There's also the resentment issue to bear in mind. Adult kids get used to a certain standard of living provided for them by parental handouts. Withdraw it and they can get a bit upset and resentful without understanding the difficulties you have in providing this constant and draining level of support.

I suggest sitting them down and explaining fully the hardships you are experiencing and getting them to come up with solutions that would work for everyone.

Oboe1 Sun 13-Sep-15 11:58:03

Thanks for all these useful tips... they're really helpful, especially the perception challenging, thanks!

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 13-Sep-15 21:18:03

"I wouldn't feel a victim if the kids attributed some of the generosity to me, rather than seeing me as the middle man in their Dad's support."
OP, why do they see it that way?

iamanintrovert Mon 14-Sep-15 02:46:55

I think you should make it clear to them that the financial support is coming from you. It's not coming from their dad. His spousal maintenance is your money and you are choosing to give some to the kids.

AvaCrowder Mon 14-Sep-15 03:17:34

I have such deep nostalgia from living in dives. Its like the gift that you cannot give. Were you and your ex always rich? Did you never have a struggle?

Out2pasture Mon 14-Sep-15 03:25:41

OP, my hubby and I financially assisted the young adults for quite some time so I understand.
At a certain point (as we prepared to retire) I/we notified each and every one of them (3) that the financial assistance package was about to change in x many months time. That we would remain available for emergency funding but no longer for the regular smaller sums they were receiving.
The information was very well received!!!
My suggestion is therefore to wean them off your contributions, and you to wean yourself off the desire to assist them financially.

Oboe1 Wed 09-Dec-15 23:23:30

Interesting re reading after some time out. Out2pasture thank you for your input especially! I've now lost my maintenance as ex h decided he needed another property and my maintenance was needed to help pay and broke our court order.

So I can no longer afford to help them, and perhaps for the first time my kids realise how pathologically mean their father is. Interesting twist to the tale!

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