Posted by: LinnyPin | 2005/06/20

Daughter won't take responsibility for her life

Dear Doc

We need your help.

My sister, Wendy, 26, is a single mom of a 6 year old son, Slade. She is planning on marrying her fiance, Kevin, 38.

My mom has been helping her get back on her feet for the last 3 years. This includes lending her thousands of Rands and 'selling' her their car 2 years ago, of which she has paid 1 installment. She seems to get in worse financial trouble as time goes by.

Now Kevin has given up his permanent job and moved across the country with Wendy and Slade to 'find another job'. They have moved in with my parents until he can find a job. Wendy is also unemployed. To make things worse, they have no money to contribute to the wedding or living expenses. And to make things even worse, they expect to be paid by my parents to do chores around the house! It also doesn't help that my parents are starting to dislike Kevin more and more every day. They also do not approve of the wedding because he seems unable to support Wendy and her child.

My parents have given them an ultimatum. They have been given 3 months to find work and move out. I am just afraid that my parents will back down from their decision as this has happened in the past. My mom says the reason she backs down is because Slade will be the one who ends up suffering. I worry for my parents health as Wendy is a very stubborn and difficult person who tends to get offended at the slightest thing.

How do we get Wendy and Kevin to take responsibility for their lives without putting Slade in a bad situation?

Please help!!


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Our expert says:
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Isn't it a shame that some people don't seem to consider it necessary to try to support themselves, and feel entitled to have others provide for them. To give up an existing job and move cross country without much chance of getting another, is surely irresponsible.
As lady nina says, it may be worh considering getting the child welfare authorities involved, as it sounds clear that this couple has no way of providing proper care for the child, and don't seem to care whether they do or not. The grandparents could be given custody of the child and thus be enabled to provide for the child's care and expenses, without sponsoring the freeloaders as well.

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Our users say:
Posted by: lulu | 2005/06/21

So other families also have leeches like mine do? Although I feel a little better knowing I'm not alone in this battle, I wish I had an answer for all of us to get rid of them once and for all. In my heart I know Gee's "cruel to be kind" way is all that will help, but non of us seem to be strong enough to do this.

Sad sad sad indeed.

Reply to lulu
Posted by: Gee | 2005/06/21

This story rings so true for me. My parents did the same with my sister, but every time they backed off and helped her again. Today, she's a woman of 54, always on the bum, addicted to ciggies, coke and prescription pills, cannot work with money, in fact, if she had a million rand today, next week she'll be broke again. She has no retirement fund or policies, no assets, no savings. She's a physically sick person, has no medical aid etc. etc. etc. The sad thing is she raised her children in exactly the same way, her married sons (with children), still bum money from her which she in turn asks from us. Sad sad sad.

Your parents should adopt the policy "I'm going to be cruel to you to be kind to you". They must under no circumstances back off, the only way your sister will learn as an adult, is the hard way. You guys helping her out all the time is not helping her at all. It's very difficult I know, and best wishes to you all.

Reply to Gee
Posted by: lady nina | 2005/06/21

hi there

i believe that responsibility get taught in the teenage years, that is the time when a child should learn that there are consequences for their actions and that life bites - unfortunatly your parents have neglected their duty and now have to pay the price....

i think very few people are able to change once they are adults and the only way you can help them to reach a point where they "have" to change , is to stop all help and make them suffer - it's more difficult now that there is a child involved and she will use her child to get her way
i would think that nownis the time to get the welfare involved and get temp costody of the child and provide her with a stable life to start school and make friends - that is all your parents can do now ... and give her and hubby 3 months to get sorted and then kick them out... don't change the rules and allow them to live on the streets - it's only once they have reach rock bottom that she would wake up and change

i believe your parents are guilty of not equiping her for a future by teaching her the skills she needed - repsonsibility being only one of them , but they can't pay for their mistake for ever
she has to learn the hard way

the only theing i think they should do is help their gran child and hopefully not make the same mistakes again

take care


Reply to lady nina
Posted by: KC | 2005/06/21

I think the ultimatum is good, but your parents should not back down. They need to go through with this.

TOUGH LOVE is the only way with this type of person.

You guys can still support Slade, emotionally, and a bit financially, but his parents are his parents and need to take responsibilty.

Is your sister sure Kevin is THE ONE?? Maybe u can talk to her....

Reply to KC

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