How to deal with the entitled attitude, financial stuff with difficult child

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Origami, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    For reasons too numerous to mention, our financial situation is the pits right now. My husband has a three-week unpaid break at the holidays, so we're dealing with missing pay also. I'm missing bill payments for the first time in years, and am not happy about it. husband and I have agreed we have to go on a no-holds-barred cutting-back plan to get things back in order.

    We're already anticipating the backlash from difficult child the younger (now 18), as we've given him a small allowance for quite a while, especially when he was going to college full time. We need to discontinue the allowance, which he mainly spends on cigarettes anyway. He quit his job a few months ago and has since applied for a few things online but hasn't put much effort into the job search. He started the fall college term with five classes, dropped all but two, of which he passed one and got a D in the other. He's enrolling in more classes for the spring (starting next week).

    I mention him needing a job every chance I get, and he agrees that he wants one, but says nobody's hiring. I tell him he's not trying hard enough, that I see young people with jobs every day. This morning he said he doesn't need a job since he's going to college, and I said I always had a job when I was going to college. He said "the economy's not what it used to be," (like he's an expert on the economy now). He also asks for money to take his girlfriend out for coffee, etc. or sometimes she pays. She somehow manages to go to high school and have a part-time job.

    I guess I'm looking for some strength and fortitude to get through the inevitable whining, demanding, bargaining, etc. that I'm expecting from him when we break the bad news that the money tree is shut down. The other difficult child at our house and his family are contributing groceries and paying their own way for the most part (saving to move in a couple of months), so I'm not worried about them. I think husband and I still aren't very good at being bearers of bad tidings, but this time the numbers don't lie and we have to do something.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    difficult children aren't known to be affected by reality much, but... it's easier to be the bearer of bad news when you don't have any choice.
  3. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Wow Origami, that sounds SO much like our difficult child. The allowance, the "looking for work" by putting in a few application on the net, the lack of any real motivation to work...Yours did better at college than ours. :(

    At one point, when ours was still in high school and we needed to economize, we actually set him down and showed him our budget, explaining how darn high the bills were. It helped, for a while.
  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I am so sorry you are going through a rough time with the finances. I've been there before and it's not fun. You are smart to recognize that you need to back focus on getting things back in order. You know this can be a blessing in disguise. You do not owe your difficult child an expaination as to why the "purse" is now closed, your finances are none of his business but with that being said you can honestly tell him, without going into detail that you are facing some difficulties and have decided to only put out money that is necessary and his coffee and cigarettes are not. Those are things he should be paying for himself anyway.
    I agree with you, if your difficult child really wanted a job he could find one. My difficult child has a felony so it was hard for him to find a job but he did (unfortunately he is now unemployed and homeless - he quit because he said the job was beneath him) There are jobs out there and it may be flipping burgers but it's a job.
    I am a fan of Dave Ramsey and his teachings actually helped me to close the purse where my difficult child is concerned. He teaches how to live a debt free life and when it comes to kids who don't pull their weight he flat out says kick them out. He doesn't have a difficult child only easy child but he speaks the truth and it all comes down to us parents enabling our difficult child's.
    Stay strong and keep that purse closed. You need to be more concerned about you and your husband future than you difficult child's.
  5. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    Thanks all for the input. difficult child had a job for about a year working as a dishwasher at a coffee shop, and he was so responsible and everyone loved him. He got mad at the owner one day and quit, then they rehired him a few weeks later anyway! He quit again because he hates washing dishes. I can understand that, as I've left many jobs to find something better, but he forgot the part about finding something new. I think it would be even easier for him this time around since he turned 18 and a lot of places won't hire anyone who's younger than that. He doesn't have any kind of police record, is presentable when he wants to be, but seems content to languish around and see what kind of handouts he can get from us. He's been earning cigarettes by babysitting for his niece and nephew occasionally (daughter in law pays him in cigarettes).

    Tanya, I just became acquainted with the Dave Ramsey approach a few months ago and we have been trying the cash system, which I'll have to adopt in full force now. I'm sure when we tell difficult child about the situation, he'll start comparing how much money we gave his sister, how much we spent on this and that, and that's the part that wears me down sometimes. And he has no empathy, it seems. I was down to my last $20 a few days ago, and he wanted his allowance so he could get cigarettes. He had a coupon of some sort. I told him no, it was our last $20 until payday. He took it anyway (I let him, unfortunately) and spent $10 on his bargain e-cig. I foolishly thought he wouldn't want to be that selfish.

    As my little 3-year-old granddaughter says about herself, "I'm a warrior princess!" I need that kind of confidence in the face of difficult child.
  6. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Financial handouts to difficult children are not helpful and often make things worse. I wish I'd stopped the financial handouts a long time before I actually stopped. Far too late.

    In a way you are in a stronger position than a lot of us in your situation, because you have an added strong economic reason for stopping the money and making him stand on his own two feet, which will push you to act - you'll look back eventually and know that this is one of the best things you could have done to help him grow up and take responsibility for his own life.
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  7. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    We have been having that discussion a lot lately. husband is due to retire soon from the military and we may not have another job lined up right away for him. We need to be able to live off his retirement and basically invest anything else he makes above that.I have been paying things off as much as possible now. I figure two full time paychecks is better than one and one retirement check so we better get out of debt now.

    The kids are both good bargain shoppers but difficult child is a great shopper. On the other hand I asked her to pick her sister up yesterday and she asked for $5 for gass. I just laughed. She eats more than that a day so I don't pay her for small errands. Now if she lived outside the home I would give her the money.

    The last $20 we had would have stayed safely in my pocket though.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Financial handouts, free cars, paying or their toys is in my opinion not positive for any adult child and I mean over eighteen. It is really a very easy solution. You say, "You are a man/woman now and I know you can find a way to buy your own things now. We feel it is best for us and our circumstances and for you as a growing adult to pay your own expenses. You may not like our decision, but it is going to stand." Then you do it. What is the worst thing that can happen? They will throw a major baby tantrum? That only shows how much they need to become self-sufficient and grow up as most teenagers do not throw toddler fits.

    Walk away from the tantrum. Go into your room. Lock the door. If the adult gets violent, call the cops.

    Finances is something we never allowed our kids, grown or otherwise, to abuse. Allowance was very low and cut off at eighteen, regardless of the situation of th e grown child. The result has been four very productive hardworking adults that do not ask us for any money. Well, 37 asks his dad when he needs big time money, like his custody battle, but that is something ex can afford, and if he wants to do it (and the custody battle WAS important), I have no problem with others doing what they can do.

    I never did feel we should give up our retirement to fund adult children or anyone. There is simply no reason for it.

    I am always puzzled when parents feel they have to buy their grown kids toys, cars, and fund their lives. I think it is more pervasive on this forum as there are more well off people here. And with that in their neighborhoods they see other kids with new cars, designer clothes, etc.

    in my opinion we have to take our power back and stop being afraid that our adult kids may throw a childish fit. They are free to get money the normal working. Not one adult on this forum is mentally challenged and can not at least flip burgers. They have the capacity to fix the problem. I am almost glad I never had money. My kids are doing quite well financially and they are doing it themselves.

    There is nothing to gain by giving in except less babyish adult tantrums and being "popular" with your child, at least until he/she wants something else.

    Orgamai, in your place I would just tell him "you need a job" an d refuse to engage in a discussion about it. I'd just keep repeating, "You need to get a job because we aren't going to give you money anymore. Either that or you will not have any money." I would not give him a chance to twist things around by responding to him. I would make it clear that is not up for discussion and is not an option.

    Of course, this is how I see it. It puzzles me to pieces that parents have so much trouble saying, "Um, no. You don't need your own car. You don't even have a job. How can you afford a car?" or "No, I won't pay for dinner for you and reawrd you just because you managed to fill out a job application. We reward young children for behavior, not adults. Plus you don't have the job yet. Maybe we'll celebrate if you get that job and keep it for six months. THAT would be worth it."

    I deal with 37 that way. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Don't e3ngaged. If it gets too silly, I distance myself but I don't give up what I feel is right, since it is something he is asking me to do. JI have the option of saying "No" and meaning it and not listening to his very good lawyer skills.

    I think its' as simple as remembering that and seeing them as adults, not little kids. JMO, of course :)
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  9. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Love this. Yes, you too can be a warrior princess.

  10. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    MWM, I think it's the tantrums that keep me from being more decisive with telling him "no" to anything. The last time we put our foot down with him (took away his cell phone and money because he stayed out overnight), he punched the walls, slammed doors, threw things, etc. to the point where our downstairs neighbors were asking me what happened the next day. We live in an apartment building.

    He's very good at battering a person with words and repeating questions so often that you just give in to make him shut up, too.

    As for work ethic, my other four adult kids (including older difficult child) have all had jobs since they were teenagers. My daughter, who is a full-time college student, works at two part-time jobs and also babysits. Somehow "baby adult boy" didn't get the memo. I think we actually had lower expectations from difficult child on all counts because of his numerous behavioral challenges through the years, and a lot of our reaction to him is just to try to get through the day peacefully. He's not nearly as volatile as he once was, but still has that entitled attitude (are we allowed to say "lazy" anymore?)

    All I have to do is look at our bank book to see that I have all the reason I need to stand up for our needs.

    Thanks for the words, and I may very well quote you verbatim, MWM.
  11. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Great advice from MWM. Think out what your "line" to him will be and just keep repeating it when he asks or whines. Again, you do not owe him an explaination of your finances. Don't let him "guilt" you into it either, you have NOTHING to feel guilty about.

    Glad to hear you are trying Dave Ramsey's advice.

    Wishing you all the best "Warrior Princess"
  12. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I don't actually think we're more likely to have done so or better off financially than any other parents. I just think that other people don't talk about it because they don't have to. Their kids aren't causing problems. They take what they are given, are grateful for it, and if it has to be stopped or adjusted the kids don't go monkeypoo about it.

    Of all the people I currently know who have teens...some work, but not all. My brother's son, (year and a half older than mine) only began working this past year. I have a cousin who's son is the same age as mine and last I heard he isn't working. My son's friends (even the few decent ones) two worked. The other's didn't. Now by 19/20...much more likely. Still in school, not always.

    Oh yes. It's just so much easier to not deal with that, isn't it? I am sure I've said yes because it was easier than no. I do regret it now. But I always lived by, "Say yes when possible and no when necessary". Sadly, that doesn't work with all kids I guess.
  13. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    When my difficult child still lived at home he also was destuctive to our home, punched some holes in the wall, broke a window breaking into the house, cut screens, etc... but the last straw for me was when he took a butcher knife to my counter tops because he couldn't find any money in our house. I called the police and had him arrested for destruction of property. This is something you may want to consider telling your difficult child that if he ever damages your home again you are not afraid to call the police.
  14. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    One thing I have done that I am proud of is teaching both my girls the value of a dollar. That's not to say that they don't have nice things they just know I wont pay full price for them. Or they know to ask for them at Christmas when larger gifts are allowed. difficult child can squeeze a dollar and shop all day. I have even had to tell her to get stuff that she put back. She's tight! LOL

    easy child is also learning but she doesn't shop as much as difficult child. She prefers to get her hair done. If it were up to her we would be at the salon every 2 weeks getting a new cut and color along with a facial and a massage. She is having to learn that 1. I wont pay for a haircut at a cheapo place because it costs twice as much to fix and 2. that I wont pay for wild hair colors anymore. We do go to a middle of the line salon instead of a cheap place. Mainly due to hair nightmares from my past. I don't pay to do wild colors because they require a ton more maintenance and are bad for her hair. She can have them but I wont pay for it.

    I made the mistake of taking them when they were young and we had the money to get facials for acne issues. Now they think we should just go for fun. NOPE mommy can go to relax/have fun. easy child and difficult child get to go for facial issues like major acne or severe skin concerns.

    On the other hand husband is still in training. LOL He is super cheap with them sometimes and then when difficult child needs a car he puts on a superman cape and wants to run to the rescue. His training is not complete. I keep telling him the beatings will continue until his behavior improves but I don't think he is all that scared. HEHE
  15. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Although he may not like it, just tell him and let it fly. You don't want to live this way AND even if this wasn't going on right now, you owe it to yourselves to save for your own retirement with security and safety first. This is just economics 101. Put your own money mask on before helping others with theirs. You have more than one difficult child so how you will take care of yourselves in retirement, and not being reliant on them is especially important.

    Yep, this is definitely what you need to do and the better you take on an inner attitude that it is what it is, and if he wants to throw a fit, well, screw it, he can have it but it doesn't change the facts that you need to rein in the finances. Good for you for preparing yourself to be ready to hear it but also, meanwhile, prepare to IGNORE IT!

    This is why you absolutely need to make a rule for yourself and stick with it - no more money for difficult child's. The big NO. If he can be selfish and take it from you, why is it you can't not be selfish and keep it because you need it. One has to learn with a difficult child that, yes, they will take your very last dime and not even think twice about it. They don't have those same feelings of dignity and self-respect the rest of us do. So when you say NO, you are really only saving yourself from a temper tantrum until you give in OR keeping the money for yourself.

    This post quoted above came in before I finished mine so here are my thoughts:
    If anyone ever did this to me or my property they would be out on their arse so quick they wouldn't know what hit em. Since you are financially in temporary survival mode right now, if he so much as touches one thing in the apartment I would call the police and have him removed from the apartment permanently.

    Edited to add: with two difficult child's in the house I would NEVER go to the Dave Ramsey cash system, it is like bating a trap for rats.
  16. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Yeah...this occurred to me too. Unless you have a safe, I don't think envelopes of cash are a pretty scary proposition.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, you need to get rid of the tantrums. You can tell him he has to leave the house until he calms down. Of course if he gets violent, call the police. Or YOU can leave the house every time he tries to badger you.

    Now if you are so afraid of him that you think he may hurt you or deface your property, you probably need to go to a domestic abuse shelter for help because you are living with an abusive person, your son. They have great, free counseling and will help empower you and there is even counseling for him. I volunteered at a woman's shelter. It is not just for adults with abusive spouses OR physical abuse. It is for women who are being abused by anyone in any way. If necessary you can get shelter there and protect yourself, although in my opinion it is your son who should go if he is truly scary. You should not be afraid in your own castle. It is not his house, it is your house.

    All moms should think about this. If you are afraid to put your foot down because you are afraid of any sort of abuse from your adult or near adult child, seek our help at the domestic abuse shelter. It is insane to hand out money you don't have or don't want to hand out because you are afraid of your own child. It is so wrong, but it happens. A tantrum where things are banged and broken is a form of violence. I did not realize this until, yes, therapy. I was told the fear of violence or atmosphere of violence is abuse, even if the person does not touch you. Also, it often does eventually turn to violence if the person does not get exasctly what he wants from you. Is it good for your adult child or anyone's child to have you afraid of them so that you will do their bidding?

    Violence is not something I would live with. Words can also have aggression and violence in them.

    "I will k ill you."

    "I will slash your tires."

    "I will get my friends after you."

    "I swear, you will pay for this if you don't do it."

    This is threats and violence. My father used to do this. Also, for emphasis, he would throw things hard. That is violence. You can go to a shelter for help if your child is violent. This advice is not just for Oragami, although it is because of her thread. It is for everyone.

    If the reason you are giving stuff to your grown kid is because he/she will flip out and maybe destroy things, scream abuse at you or deface your property...your chlid is an abuser and violent. You need to think about what you want to do about it, but it is no more comfortable to live with that than to live with a threatening abusive spouse. There is no difference. It is scary either way.

    You should not have to be AFRAID to set boundaries with your adult children. Even if they don't like what they do, most adult children DO NOT GET ABUSIVE. They may stomp to their rooms a nd shut their door, but they get over it. Abuse is abuse and, yes, many of us live with abusive grown or almost grown children. I did not even know it at one time. I did not know a child could abuse his parent, no matter how old he was. And I did not realize that violent words, actions and threats were actual violence, but they have the same spooky affect on us as actually getting hit. And they are often a prelude to just that.

    Nobody, nobody deserves to have to be afraid of his own child. Something needs to change. You, as the abused, need to decide what to do. If anything. Some people live with abuse for long, long periods of time. in my opinion, it is sad, but everyone has to do what they do.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is violence. And abuse. If you don't stop him, it will escalate. For your own safety, you may have to send him packing. This is an attempt to make you do what he wants or his implication is he will destroy your property and possibly hurt you.I would have called the cops. I have no (none) tolerance for violence. There is no excuse for it.
  19. Scott_G

    Scott_G Member

    I would cut off all financial support and tell the man-child that if he doesn't get a job and start contributing to the household he is out on his own. difficult child or not, they all have to leave the nest some time. When I went to college my parents made it clear that they would help me financially as long as I stayed in school. If I dropped out or failed out, I was on my own. When I graduated, my mother handed me a check for $1000 and told me to spend it wisely because I was on my own now.
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  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Scott, we think a lot alike, although I'm not quite as tough as you are. But the money train does not keep running after the kids are not in full time college and old enough to work full time. If they are well behaved at home and doing something fruitful such as going to school or working full time (most of my kids did go to school then worked) they can stay home. I expect them to work part-time though. Nothing wrong with putting in a few hours somewhere to pay for your own gas and help out a bit.And the thing is, all of my kids, in retrospect, AGREE with what I did and I am on good terms with them. They are not angry that I made him go to work. Or didn't get them new cars.

    I have found it to be very effective even for my difficult child. He had a very entitled attitude and had been spoiled rotten as an only child for six years. But I could see that if we continued to keep handing him the free stuff he would never go out on his own so the money stopped at sixteen and when he wanted to drive it was OUR care, not his own personal car. Nobody living at home needs a personal car, the high insurance that goes with young adults on insurance, and the probable accident. They paid their extra part of the insurance too. Even difficult child. He had to share our second car with his brother Scott. When they dented it up, it did not get fixed. The managed to get to work, both of them, sharing one car.

    If they use the car as an excuse not to work, they just don't want to work. None of my kids had their own cars and they all worked except Jumper because of her sports which took up too much time. Even my autistic son worked as a senior in high school. If he can work, with his challenges, every other young adult here can work at something. We owe it to our grown kids to allow them to grow up. Often we are too afraid of them to let them grow up because they may behave in scary ways. or we are afraid they can't make it as a grown up, and if my Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son can, your adult child can. We were told that Sonic would never do anything other than vegetate and live in a group home. We did not accept that. Sonic lives alone, pays his own expenses and works part time five days a week. If he can do it, so you can your kid. Sonic does not ask us for money either.

    Just food for thought. Doesn't mean you have to do it Scott's way or my way. These are just some things that worked for some of us.

    Let's face it. None of us can live forever and the more stressed we are, the shorter we are likely to live. What will our grown kids do if they are dependent on us when we are gone? Even if we leave the money, will they have a clue how to manage it?

    Just things to think about...not answer here on the board.