This Article is About
emotional abuse
day care center
household expenses
aging parents
adult children
necessary step
Financial And Emotional Abuse
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Financial And Emotional Abuse

These days, many adult children are moving back in with their parents. As a result, aging parents become instant caregivers for grandchildren. And all of a sudden, there are unexpected household expenses:

  • Gasoline for extra trips to pick up grandchildren from school while their parents work
  • Special food items needed for healthy children like juice, fruit, snacks
  • More washing and drying that what an elderly couple will need to do

And the list goes on. But what is more troubling is that adult children often live in parents' homes rent free and expense free. Most parents want to do all they can for their children and grandchildren, and certainly they do not want them to feel unwelcome. But there comes a point when financial and emotional abuse kicks in.

A case in point . . .

An adult child has not yet established credit, but needs a vehicle.The parent makes an unwise choice to purchase the vehicle, with the understanding that the adult child will make the monthly payment. The end result? It's far too easy for the adult child to "not have quite enough money" to make the full monthly payment. Or worse.

Being conveniently used can quickly change into being abused financially. Obviously, it is not a good situation for aging parents and it's not a good situation for an adult child. It can be excruciatingly painful for parents to draw a line financially, but it is a necessary step to take. Not doing so may end up in a permanently broken family relationship.

Adult parents must create healthy boundaries when it seems their adult children are unable or unwilling to do so. The first step is to be aware of the point at which helping out crosses the line into being used. A parent might ask himself/herself these questions:

  • Am I being taken for granted as a caregiver for my grandchildren? Has my home become a day care center?
  • Is my adult child being responsible with his or her money or is he/she relying on me to supplement income?
  • Is this a give and take relationship or am I doing all the giving and my adult child doing all the taking?
  • Can I meet my own financial obligations or has this situation resulted in giving away more money than I can afford?
  • Is my adult child genuinely grateful for the help and sincerely trying to make his/her own way financially?
  • Am I feeling used and abused financially by my child?
  • Is my relationship with my child built on a solid foundation or does that foundation involve finances more than anything else?
  • Does my adult child have a feasible plan to get out of the financial dependency and break the cycle?

When you answer those questions, you will know whether or not you are in a situation of financial abuse. If you are, reach out to a trusted friend or counselor and make your own extrication plan. You can have a healthy and satisfying relationship with your child, but not as long as that child is using you financially.


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