Where Do You Draw the Line With Adult Children?

Jacqui Kenyon

adult childrenThe sandwich generation. Not-so-empty nesters. Parents of boomerang kids.

Whatever you call it, the trend is undeniable. Parents are increasingly supporting their children financially through college and beyond: 48% of middle-aged adults with grown children gave them financial support last year, and 27% were the primary source of cash flow for their kids, according to Pew Research.

For the kids themselves, it’s become the norm. They’re increasingly assuming that their parents will bankroll them into their mid-20s, according to a survey from Allstate and Junior Achievement USA. Nearly a quarter of teens think that they will rely on their parents financially until at least 25, a staggering increase from 12% two years ago.

Cathy Roberts, a Washington, D.C., counselor who has worked extensively with parents and adult children, says that the millennial generation receives a great deal more support than the boomers ever did.

Why? Well, the economy is bad, and it’s tough for a lot of kids to find work in their chosen fields after college. But there’s more to it than that, say some experts.

“Some parents, particularly those who live in wealthy, urban areas, can afford to support their adult children,” Roberts says. “They either want or feel pressure to maintain the lifestyle their kids experienced while they were growing up once they reach an adult age.”

RELATED: 7 Steps to Setting Your Kid Free Financially

She adds that this leaves some moms and dads feeling more like banks than parents, which can cause resentment and even rifts in families.

So, we asked our readers: When it comes to your grown kids and your cash, where do you draw the line?

  • Dontgetit

    What do you say to a 26 year old who got pregnant after her 4 year college degree was completely paid for, only to remain unemployed? What do you say to a parent who responded by continuing to support her, pay 100% of her wedding? She’s married now with a kid, will probably have another kid, and her boyfriend works part time. They had a kid neither can support, and they still live off the family money?


    “Fed-up and Financially Drained Parent”

    Here is the thing for me and my adult children, I do not mind “helping you”, but I have a serious problem SUPPORTING YOU! Especially after children have turned a certain age. I have three adult children 24, 23 and soon to be 22 yrs old.

    Sometimes I feel like my children are being lazy and not budgeting their money properly! Taking for granted that “mommy is gonna help” is not the answer, I have told my children on several occasions that “I am not your bank!”

    I have explained to each of them what is required of them in this world, get an education, find a decent job/career, and budget your money to be able to live on your own. The only of my children who I believe really gets it IS my youngest, he will be 22 years old. He lives on his own and supports himself, he barely asks me for anything and when he does I jump to the chance to provide it for him! Why do I do that, because I know that he really is in a bind and does not have the money to cover what he needs.

    The oldest two I am the most disappointed in, and their constant need for support has really put a strain on me and a bad taste in my mouth. I have the feeling that this is going to be ongoing into their 30′s, which is not a good look, nor will I be their “bankroll.” I apologize to the parents who may find my views or feelings cold and insensitive, but this is how I feel and will feel until they get their sh*t together!

    The oldest two have children, my son has two children ALREADY!! Parents I have had numerous sex talks with my children, explaining to them that if they become pregnant, that those children are THEIR RESPONSIBILITY! I had them very young, so the last thing I wanted for them was the life that I had. I made sure to explain, “get your education, start working, get involved in things that will make you happy, focused and moving in the right direction towards self-sufficient adulthood.” Did anyone listen, nope…my oldest had his 1st child at 20, my 2nd oldest is due next week and neither of these children have gone a year without asking me for help! neither one of them! So I had to lay the law down to each of them. “Don’t ask me for nothing for yourself, what if I wasn’t here, what would you do?” Harsh aint it, I know, but it is a reality! If the granbabies need something I purchase what they need and send it! I am not giving money haphazardly to grown ass kids! I cannot do it. Every damn dollar I have ever come across in my lifetime I have had to work for. Every one! No handouts going on over here! Can I say there were blessings, absolutely, but I also understood that I am responsible for taking care of myself. I cannot depend on my mother to pay my rent each time I am short or out of a job. I tried that sh*t before and she did help me 2 times, the 2nd time I paid her back. The 3rd time I asked her, she plainly said NO! I was devastated, but it was a lesson I had to learn, and I am so glad that I did.

    I understand that things are not what they were 10-15 yrs ago, but you are still responsible for taking care of yourself, especially after a certain age. I feel that these children need to focus more on “what if my parent(s) weren’t here, what would I do?” Yes, what would you do? Most of you would be just fine, why, because you would have to get yourself up and take care of you.

    I set examples by showing my children, hard work does pay off. I just want them to understand that…REALLY UNDERSTAND THAT. I want them to be more focused and have a better plan than what they have. I try and talk w/the older two about the future and they get a little irritated..what in the hell are YOU IRRITATED FOR, THIS MY DAMN MONEY I AM SHELLING OUT!!! Get your sh*t together! These are the conversations I have w/mine. All this depending on me as their backup is taking its toll on me financially, emotionally, mentally and is causing resentment on my part towards them! I feel like they do not want to really carry the load of being independent. How can I save for when times are really bad if I have to keep shelling out money? How am I supposed to feel toward my children? This is very hard for me because I now have grandchildren. I am confused, fed-up and need answers that I do not have to give them on what to do! I am all burned out of explanations and suggestions.

    I literally told my oldest son “you are not allowed to ask me for another dime, not another one!” Then they ask for help at the last minute….I can go on and on, but I do have a serious problem with this!! HELP!!!

  • Guest

    I was a boomerang kid but for different reasons.. I moved to California, and fell very ill…I had no health insurance.. Doctors didn’t know or seem to care what was wrong.. My parents didn’t pay for my college and I made mistakes…Plus I didn’t feel fantastic in college either health wise and emotionally. It prolonged college, and made it nearly impossible to get anything but odd jobs when I was done… I have made a lot of changed and I am a lot healthier than I was.. turns out I was celiac. I regret going to college… but it makes me sick that some of these “adults” are perfectly fine with making mistakes on their parents dime. I hate my debt, but I’m glad it’s not my parents. I am glad I wasn’t treated like a child..

  • Tgpii

    I am 35 and have a decent job.
    have no kids or wife of my own. I really want to move out of
    parents house. Just that my mom who I love is making
    me feel like
    crap for wanting to move out. I am like mom I love
    you but there
    are things in the house I don’t like but I don’t say
    because it is not my house. She says I need a roommate
    I had one
    in the past and that was a bad idea. My mom says I
    don’t cook. I
    say when I was living with a roommate I did the
    cooking. I don’t
    cook now because if I use the stove or pots
    my mom gets mad I made
    a mess, so how does my mom expect me to clean
    up? My dad wants me
    to buy a big fancy house. No idea why
    since it is just me. My
    parents and I fight more when we live
    together. Everything I do I
    feel my parents hate me for.
    What do I do? Why will my parents
    especially my mom not want me
    to grow up? It was OK when my
    brother moved out because he got
    married. That is not my path in
    life. HELP! I don’t want or need a big place. I love small
    studios something about them are what is for me. All my friends and
    extended family say it is time to move out. Why are my parents
    being this way? My dad says I don’t care what you do, but deep
    down I know he wants me to stay. My mom is like you have no
    furniture and you have to pay for internet. I am like WOW tell me
    what I didn’t already know and budget for. HELP, I am going nuts. I
    want to talk to my parents about this but when I do they are stubborn
    say I don’t want to talk about it now. So I have to press it till
    they say something. They say your arguing I am like first I am not
    arguing I am trying to talk about it. Second isn’t this a reason I
    need to move out? Can someone please talk to my parents?

  • Lucy Martin

    I don’t know what my erra was. I was teen in the good old eighties. I started trying to find ways to make money when I waa 11 years old. Babysitting I always got boared tv always boared me. So I would always clean their house to. When they came home they came home to clean sleeping children and a clean house an trash taken out. As always, I would get paid extra for doing that for them. I made at least $65.00 a night babysitting. Then I became a teenager. An I wanted a real job. So when I turned 13, from that point, I walked everywhere filling out applications. An of coarse I had no experience. So I put on it. That I had no experience but I really wanted to learn. I literally went door to door. On every business block. One evening I was 14 at this time. Me an my family went to the mall. (It was a hugetwo story mall!) Anyways, while they shopped. Again I went to every door in the mall. The last stop I made, was a small resresteraunt that sold German food! ( Which was fantastic! ) I filled out another application. “Now at this time of year it was getting close to Christmas. Everyone hiring Christmas help. Well the manager looked at my app. An smiled an said I was to young! Oh, I was so upset! I’d been applying for so long. I wanted a real job for Christmas. So I went outside the resteraunt an sat down on a bench just right outside the opening. Now, I wasn’t watching to see who might be looking. But a man came out an asked why I was crying. And I told him my story. An he smiles at me. An tells me he was going to hire me. Just as Christmas help. Working the candy an pretzel counter. An from that point on ive been working. I paid for my first an second wedding. And I moved on my own when I was 17. I do think we give in to much to our kids. So much that they lack true independence!!!!! We are supposed to love them unconditionally but that doesn’t mean were supposed to pay all their bills. I have six children. 3 are mine an 3 are his. An they’re all of adult age now. One of his has a good job a little boy an house an is sort of doing ok as long as dad helps. The other two. Well one works walmart an the other is laid off. An has been off work for many months. Moving around from place to place living off unimployment an dads help. Now my 3! One is in college an is living between our home an her boyfriend which is close to college an were in the country. She has no job. She lives off of us. My other daughter lived on the streets of Tulsa for a year. Because, she didn’t want to take care of her responsibilities. An she didn’t want to listen to any rules! An shedidn’t to work. My son, when he went to move out.He didn’t have a job yet. But he wanted to so much. He asked me , if it didnt work out could he come back home. An I told him I didn’t think his step dad would let him move back. So he got a job an good place! An is working hard to make it all work. He even let his homeless sister move in. Until she gets on her feet. An a couple more friends who didn’t have a place to go. An he’s doing very good. Very seldom does he ever ask for help. An its been almost two years now. 1 out of 6 of my children is out successfully on his feet. An I think its because I thought his step dad would not let him come home. I am very proud of him! !!! My name is Louisa Martin and I am from Chelsea Oklahoma. My email is: garyssweetiepie@aol.com

  • Monique

    There’s nothing wrong with living at home to save money, but as an ADULT, they must contribute toward mortgage, utilities, and food. The reason some Millennials can’t support themselves is because they are being CODDLED and kept from learning HOW. It baffles my mind how these parents think they’re helping by giving their adult college graduates money. No wonder these kids are all on anxiety meds! They aren’t given space to grow and learn!