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Parental Welfare: How Long Should You Support Your Kids?

Just because she has left the nest doesn't mean your daughter won't continue to ask for financial favors either outright or in a less obvious way. Nor will you be rid of the temptation to write out the check. A growing number of young adults have become accustomed to a system of "parental welfare" that encourages a sense of entitlement.

In an era when transfers of wealth from living parents to adult offspring are up threefold, and 25 percent of home buyers receive down-payment money from parents, the issue of squelching self-reliance through gift-giving is particularly poignant.


A 1996 Wall Street Journal article related how young adults with adequate salaries are asking, even expecting, their moms and dads to fund luxury items that surpass their parents' lifestyle. That includes big screen TVs, vacations, clothes, and cars.

Rescues That Send Dangerous Messages

Emotional and financial rescues are not always the best lifeline for your daughter. Sometimes it's better to sink and learn how to swim on one's own.

Financial Rescue

Gil Greene, associate professor in Ohio State University's School of Social Work, says rescuing your kids financially is not in their best interest. It sends a message that life is supposed to be hassle- and pain-free.

The mother that keeps rescuing her daughter keeps her from tackling situations outside the "comfort zone." This prevents your daughter from learning how to handle hurdles that foster growth, maturity, and independence.

Emotional Rescue

It's hard to hold back and not book that plane ticket when Stephanie sounds like she has a case of the new city blues, especially after a bleak week of not finding an apartment and being disappointed in her first job.

However, according to a host of experts, Stephanie's mom made a wise decision to stay at home. Allowing her daughter to solve her own problems was beneficial for her own growth as well as her daughter's. Just as important, showing up on the spot with good intentions sends a message like, "I really didn't think you could get out of this slump on your own."

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Mothers and Daughters © 2001 by Rosanne Rosen. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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