I am just writing to vent. I was recently talking to a parent whose children are fully grown. I mentioned something I see in one of my kids that I am frustrated about. She confidently exclaimed, “just wait til your kid hits 25, they totally get their act together. When my son turned 25, he found a job he loved, dropped the extra weight, blah blah blah.” So annoying. That is a survey of one! Yet she extrapolated that everyone would share her son’s experience??!?!?! What if my kid, or any other kid, doesn’t have it all solved by 25 or even 30? I hate when parents do this. The whole “MY kid did this, so obviously, yours will too,” attitude drives me crazy.
I could not agree with you more! One of my parenting pet peeves for sure. I’m just going to go on the record, perhaps a broken record, about people who can’t help but bring the conversation back to themselves at every possible turn. Ridiculous, tone deaf and completely narcissistic. The problem I’ve found is that people who do this, and I’m related to at least three, do not hear themselves. I like to think that it is a knee-jerk thing that they can’t control, ’cause if they can and don’t, well, they may as well vote for Trump for all the respect they’ll get from me. I once told an old boyfriend that he was acting like a jerk (not the word I used). He said, “I know.” I was like, “you know? You KNOW?….if you KNOW, then you can actually stop being a jerk!” Oddly, he didn’t take my advice and we broke up. But that’s OK, he also broke up with a few wives. Parents, listen to yourselves and do not participate in petty one-upsmanship when it comes to your progeny. It’s a bad habit and a bad look. You can thank me later.
My siblings have not done as well as I have financially. It is both a result of circumstance (the jobs we all have differ in pay) and who we are partnered with (their jobs vary quite a bit in pay, one of us is a single parent by choice, etc). Yet, now I believe they have some expectation that because I have more money, I will even the playing field by helping to support them. I feel like we all made choices that we need to stand by. Am I under any obligation to give them money?
I have said it before and will likely say it again, people are weird about money. Competitive, secretive, jealous, pick your adjective. I’m not saying that these less-than-complimentary adjectives describe your siblings, I’m just saying again for emphasis, that this makes some people a little cuckoo. In my opinion, you are under no obligation to even the playing field. And, in fact, lending/giving large amounts can complicate relationships significantly. I do know some families in which it has worked well, but I know many more in which money is a very touchy subject between siblings. This is a deeply personal issue in our culture.
If you want to give/loan a sibling money when they are struggling, go for it. But they should not have any expectation that you will. Can/should you pick up the check once in a while at a family dinner out? Of course (unless someone will resent it. See how fast money issues get sticky?). I’m wondering if your sibs have actually hinted at the idea of an even playing field or if your spidey sense is just tingling. In either case, it doesn’t sound like they’ve asked you outright so, bullet dodged. And speaking of bullets, stick to your guns.
We moved from a single family home to a condo a few years ago. Biggest mistake ever! I can generally avoid the drama but why do these other owners treat the building like they’re renters? They won’t serve on the board, pick up litter, water potted plants or clean up muddy shoe prints in the entryway. What gives?
Would that everyone were just like you and me! There is no telling why people are motivated or unmotivated to do ___________ (fill in the blank). In any given group (book group, PTA, board of directors) there are the doers, the super-doers and the hanging-around-for-the-donuts-and-coffee-ers. Oftentimes the super-doers have a high control-freak factor (but if that means I don’t have to shovel in front of the garage, bring them on!). In other cases, people are just more civic minded and generous of spirit than others. There is also the possibility that some of your co-owners are too busy to contribute.
I suggest a chore chart of sorts, the kind you would give to second graders, to spread the workload around between all the owners, provided they are physically able to do the required task. This only seems fair. Usually the only penalty most people pay attention to is a financial one, so if they fail to do their chore, maybe a fee that would go into a pot for the next holiday party. Whatever it is, people would need to know about these responsibilities upfront before buying. Of course, I know nothing about real estate but since when has that stopped me? And if all else fails, you can find your inner college student and move all their furniture out onto the lawn.
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Monday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at firstname.lastname@example.org.