- January 7, 2016
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When it comes to thinking about cutting off one or more of our children from their inheritance, many of us may think about it, some of us may even dare to verbalize it, but nearly none of us would have the guts to actually carry it through. Not surprising though, since we love our children and try to help them however we can. The question remains, ‘What’s the best way to help? By providing fish for them to eat or teach them how to catch them on their own?’
As I’m writing this, I just lost it and informed my middle son, who’s 18, and recently graduated from high school, that there will be no inheritance waiting for him. He graduated this past June and decided to take a “break” in order to figure things out and decide what he wanted to do with his life. Evidently attending college or getting a job interferes with finding out what you’re going to do in the future.
He was an average student in school and now lounges around the house, playing video games and goes out with his friends till the wee hours of the night. Then he sleeps in late and starts the cycle over again. He still asks for pocket money and has no real responsibilities whatsoever. I was mellow and cool with it for the first few months. But then it started weighing on me and I could no longer hold my tongue. I gave him an ultimatum that he had to either be working or attending school full time. Otherwise, he needed to get out of the house and start supporting himself. He chose the latter and decided to stay at a friend’s house until he figured things out. So, I informed him that I would no longer be supporting him financially and that there was no future money that he could count on. He didn’t take it very well but I’m big on tough love. One way or another, I’m going to make sure you learn how to fish.
The truth is, that I’ve felt pretty bad about it and it’s painful to see my son throw away prime years of his life. However, I certainly know it doesn’t get any easier to save money or study as you get older or are on your own. I want to help him but not at the expense of giving him a false sense of reality. My criteria is simple. Do what you’re suppose to do and I will give you the shirt off my back. There is no unconditional financial support, from my side, when it comes to my money. If you’re on a path that I consider to be productive, then I will help you get there. If not (and I know it’s completely subjective), and you want to do things your way, then do it on your owm and support yourself. I know there are infinite ways to be successful. But having the qualities, of putting in an honest effort and showing up are some of the basic necessities. Giving people free money which, they didn’t earn, is just begging for them to squander it. And I would never allow that lack of appreciation or misguidance to happen! If anyone’s going to be burning through money, then it might as well be me!
Filed in: Parents