As parents we have a natural instinct to want to help our
children. When they are little we do everything for them and then try to help
them to become more independent in every way. However, when they have
difficulties then we are there for them again to see if we can help. This means
that whatever it is we can be tempted to help. If we find out they are in
financial difficulties, then we might again help them. However, is this the
right things to do?
Advantages of helping
If we help out then our children will be under less stress. They will not
need to find the money to pay the loan and they will be free of the debt. It
can make you and them feel better to know that the debt is paid off. They will
no longer have to worry about how they will find the money and whether they
will be able to cope with paying for everything else that they need. This can
make them feel a sense of relief and you will feel better knowing that you do
not have to worry about the anymore. However, there are disadvantage to helping
them out as well.
Disadvantages of helping
It might feel like there cannot possibly be a disadvantage to helping
someone out, but there can be many.
- They will not learn to cope on their own
– if you keep on helping them out, they will never learn to cope on their own.
It is so important to learn how to budget properly and manage your money so
that you are able to afford all of your essentials. Knowing what money you can
afford to spend and what you cannot is really important. If you just keep
getting help when you get into financial trouble then there will be no need to
learn how to manage your money better.
- You get short of money – you may also
find that if you bail them out that you will be short of money to pay for the
things that you need. You do not want to end up struggling yourself or having
to borrow money. You may think that you can manage, but if they then keep
asking for more and more money, then you may find that you do start to
- Others get jealous – if you help out one
family member then you may find that other members get jealous. There is often
a lot of jealousy between siblings and even between extended family members, so
this could be another reason for it. It can mean that their relationships
change as a result and that they no longer get on very well because of it. Of
course, you could try to even it out by giving out money to everyone to stop
the risk of jealousy but that could be too expensive for you.
- They expect it all of the time – Once you
help them out once then they might expect that you will do it again. This means
that you might start to find yourself being expected to find money over and
over again. This could start to put on strain on you in a selection of ways and
you might find it harder and harder to refuse.
- It effects your relationships – you may
find that helping out your child could affect your relationship with them. This
could happen in different ways. Once you have lent them money they could feel
indebted to you and that might be a bit odd. Alternatively, they might expect
you to keep on doing it and that might not be good either.
It is therefore worth thinking really hard about whether it
will be a sensible idea to help your child. If they do not ask for help then it
is probably best to just let them get on with things. If they do ask for help
then it could be much more valuable to give them help with budgeting rather
than actually giving the money. It can be tricky, because they may not want to
listen, but if you sit down with them and try to help at least you will have
done your best. You also need to consider what your relationship is like with
them, their siblings and any other family members and think about whether
helping might influence that. You might think that they will not find out, but
these things do have a habit of getting out and then there could be problems,
especially if they felt that you had tried to keep it from them. Also make sure
that you will be able to cope financially if you help and consider what might
happen if they ask for help again. Think about what the consequence will be if
you suddenly cannot help them when they have become dependent on you. They
might fall out with you or be in big financial trouble.