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Unfair Parent Rant
Old 09-04-2012, 11:39 AM   #1
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Unfair Parent Rant

My wife and I live far away from home currently due to military service. My sister and her DH live back in our hometown where both my parents live (divorced). My Dad recently took my sister and her husband on a Jamaican vacation that we were told cost $3,000 for the two of them. My Dad paid for everything including airfare. We had been invited, but being in the military I didn't have an option. I didn't have the leave to use let alone the time to take the leave with our upcoming inspection. The same happened about a year ago where they took my sister and her husband on a cruise. They also recently took my step sister on a trip to Vegas.

I didn't say much about it and none of these instances bothered me too much. This past weekend my Dad and step mother came up to visit my wife and I, only a few weeks after getting back from their vacation. While here, we drove them all over the state to see different landmarks/parks and picked them up/ dropped them off at the airport. They stayed with us in our house and we provided groceries for a few meals. They didn't offer to pay for gas and we ended up paying for some expensive parking fees at a baseball game and downtown for a few other events. They paid for a couple meals but made a big deal of it and we covered all of our own meals after that. This really seemed strange since he buys my sister and her husband lunch/dinner at least weekly back home and he hasn't seen us in almost a year.

My sister and her husband earn a little more money than I do so it's not like they are struggling. My wife is unable to work at the moment as we just moved to a new state and is trying to find new employment. My Dad knows, or should know, money is tight with us as we are trying to save for airfare back home for Christmas and pay down student loans and prepare to have a child as we alluded to many times when he was here and prior to him coming.

I really hope I'm not coming off petty, but doesn't this seem unbalanced? My wife and I enjoy being self sufficient and not living off anyone else, but it's hard to not notice the discrepancy. Any other guests that come to stay with us, I wouldn't expect anything (not even gas money) for shuttling them around. But after he takes them on 2 expensive vacations and buys them meals weekly, I thought at least he could cover a tank of gas for us while he visited. This has turned more into a rant than anything, but has anybody else had experiences like this? Again I hate coming off petty, but this bothered me this weekend.
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:50 AM   #2
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Again I hate coming off petty, but this bothered me this weekend.
Sorry, but I agree with your inkling that this is petty. You are a self-sufficient adult, your folks don't owe you anything. Forget about what they give to your sibling--they are free to do whatever they want with their money. There could be lots of reasons they are behaving less generously towrd you and your wife--maybe they figure you guys are more mature and handle your funds better, you need less help. But focusing on this will not be good for your relationship with them.

Just decide if the visit with them was satisfactory on it's own merits. If the payment for a dinner here or there is really getting under your skin, try to figure out how important this is in the big scheme of things.
My military career made it very difficult for me to keep in touch with my sister and my childhood friends and I never have really re-connected. Your moves may be having the same impact on the closeness your parents feel toward you. A phone call is good, but not like seeing each other.

I foresee very big storm clouds when the estate of your parents is divided up.
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:52 AM   #3
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I bet I could "one-up" you on being on the unfair side of treatment among siblings. Even worse, the siblings that get the most complain the loudest. Does that make you love your parents any less? Hopefully, not. They are humans and not perfect. Enjoy their company while they are still around and hope you can be as good as them.
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:29 PM   #4
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funny, I actually argue that my in-laws are too fair. I wish sometimes they would give more to my SIL who needs more from them and less to us. And that they would give less to my BIL who is a mooch. All these conversations take place between DW and I, and never to my in laws. It is their money and DW warns it would piss them off to bring it up. DW & I also use these conversations to talk about how would react in these sometimes unusual situations.

I'm hard pressed to imagine a scenario where this comes out "good" if you were to bring this up to your parents.
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:30 PM   #5
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Sorry, but I agree with your inkling that this is petty. You are a self-sufficient adult, your folks don't owe you anything. Forget about what they give to your sibling--they are free to do whatever they want with their money. There could be lots of reasons they are behaving less generously towrd you and your wife--maybe they figure you guys are more mature and handle your funds better, you need less help. But focusing on this will not be good for your relationship with them.

Just decide if the visit with them was satisfactory on it's own merits. If the payment for a dinner here or there is really getting under your skin, try to figure out how important this is in the big scheme of things.
My military career made it very difficult for me to keep in touch with my sister and my childhood friends and I never have really re-connected. Your moves may be having the same impact on the closeness your parents feel toward you. A phone call is good, but not like seeing each other.

I foresee very big storm clouds when the estate of your parents is divided up.
I agree with samclem on this one.
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:36 PM   #6
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My sister and I have an agreement that if Dad gives one of us anything significant, that we would split it. I sold some of Mom's jewelry after she died and we split the proceeds.

It's strange that your parents pay for nice vacations for your siblings and then act that way when they visit you. Have you asked your siblings about it?

Maybe they were hurt because you didn't accept the paid vacation when it was offered. Military duty seems like a reasonable justification for not taking the offer!

It is puzzling, but then again, be proud of your self sufficiency and get past it.
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:19 PM   #7
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I bet I could "one-up" you on being on the unfair side of treatment among siblings. Even worse, the siblings that get the most complain the loudest. Does that make you love your parents any less? Hopefully, not. They are humans and not perfect. Enjoy their company while they are still around and hope you can be as good as them.
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:38 PM   #8
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:09 PM   #9
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Life isn't fair to begin with, and when it comes to being exactly fair to each sibling that is really not easy nor likely to happen.

Enjoy your parents now, when you can, while you still have them. Tell them that you love them, if you do and if you get the chance. All too soon, they will be gone.
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:10 PM   #10
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My dad died when I was 13 and my mom when I was 20. I started working and buying my own clothes when I was 14.

Boy, were my parents ever unfair to me.
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:54 PM   #11
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If your father has no experience around the military that could be part of it. My in-laws never understood. They were good people but just had no frame of reference except TV. I also found that being the sibling that lived far away made it difficult to have a balanced relationship compared to my brothers. I would just let it go and if you want a better relationship be the best son you can be and hope for the best.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:00 PM   #12
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I suspect your feelings have more to do with love and attention than money. Your father paid for trips and dinners for your sister and didn't behave the same way with you and your wife plus appeared oblivious to your own struggles.

I totally understand how that is painful. Most of us carry emotional baggage with us from childhood. When we become adults, we have to face the reality our parents are imperfect and sometimes inconsiderate.

For a long time I struggled with feeling my parents loved my brother more than me. As an adult, old family issues still haunted me. Eventually, I came to know it was my perception, but not the reality. My brother always had more problems so he got more money and attention. I was the quiet daughter who rarely needed the kind of help he did. It was liberating to come to this realization and let go of old hurts.

Dad died when I was young and mom is now in her 80s. I'm very close to mom and my brother now and am happy I let those negative feelings go.

Focus on what really bothers you about your family relationships and try to come to terms with it. I have a feeling when that baby comes, he'll be a very loving and generous grandfather.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:23 PM   #13
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How about this thought.....

It is just how they are.... IOW, some people think that if they go to visit someone, that someone normally takes them around and shows them the sights... they are the 'hosts' as it were.... if you are the host, you pay...

Now, the trips that you mention, they are the 'hosts'.... and they paid...

So, in their thinking, there is nothing wrong... so you would seem petty in their eyes....



Another option is that they made you and offer that you refused.... so everything else is a different transaction.... again, with this thinking, they are not being unfair as they would do the same thing with your DS... but since she lives there.... she can not pay for taking them around as that is not in the cards....
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:27 PM   #14
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If it bothers you, ask your dad. Maybe he has a reason, or maybe there's been a misunderstanding. Hinting or being passive aggressive isn't a good idea.

If it's not a big enough deal to ask, forget about it.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:29 PM   #15
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When I read your post, I thought that it seemed maybe you were treated unfairly and if I was you I would feel slighted. However, in my case my father has bought property for my sibling to use interest free, along with some other freebees. In addition, I have spent over a week up at his house this summer fixing up his house, and sibling hasn't lifted a finger despite living in same town. My point is I have never taken it as a slight and I felt lucky to have the spare time to help him. I don't need or want his money so it causes no resentment. BTW- If it did, I would bluntly ask. I guess people cant do this for some political reason, but it works for me. If you have a good relationship and can say it in a tactful manner, you maybe surprised at his answer as he might be coming about it in a completely different manner in which you interpret it.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:38 PM   #16
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I wish I had in-laws to have such problems to consider. DW's mom died when she was 12 and her dad died 6 years ago..........
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:15 PM   #17
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When I read the original post, from the title I thought the parent was doing the ranting, but instead the ranting was about the parent.

For the OP, I say, its better (accurately or not) to approach it as your parent didn't ask to "help you out" because he saw you as more independent than your sister.

Also, IMO, it's only an ideal situation within families to share and share alike between siblings. Often, the "responsible ones" end up carrying out the load and the less responsible ones are too busy trying to make it day to day instead of helping out.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:01 PM   #18
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I didn't say much about it and none of these instances bothered me too much. This past weekend my Dad and step mother came up to visit my wife and I, only a few weeks after getting back from their vacation. While here, we drove them all over the state to see different landmarks/parks and picked them up/ dropped them off at the airport. They stayed with us in our house and we provided groceries for a few meals. They didn't offer to pay for gas and we ended up paying for some expensive parking fees at a baseball game and downtown for a few other events. They paid for a couple meals but made a big deal of it and we covered all of our own meals after that. This really seemed strange since he buys my sister and her husband lunch/dinner at least weekly back home and he hasn't seen us in almost a year.
My sister and her husband earn a little more money than I do so it's not like they are struggling. My wife is unable to work at the moment as we just moved to a new state and is trying to find new employment. My Dad knows, or should know, money is tight with us as we are trying to save for airfare back home for Christmas and pay down student loans and prepare to have a child as we alluded to many times when he was here and prior to him coming.
I really hope I'm not coming off petty, but doesn't this seem unbalanced?This has turned more into a rant than anything, but has anybody else had experiences like this? Again I hate coming off petty, but this bothered me this weekend.
It's unbalanced from what you know at your perspective, and it might seem balanced from your Dad's perspective.

The problem is that it's almost impossible for you to figure out what's going on unless everyone starts sharing. (That probably won't happen anytime soon.) By any chance is your Dad a veteran? Has he kept up with military benefits over the years? He may think that the govt is taking care of you and will give you whatever you want for the asking... and from his civilian perspective he may be right.

He's also decided that your siblings need a dose of parental economic support, which I personally feel is more of a pair of golden handcuffs than a parental appreciation gift. Now those siblings are obligated to reciprocate in a non-financial way, and it might coerce them into doing things they'd rather not do. They may actually resent you for your freedom from parental interference.

As inconsiderate as your Dad's behavior may seem to you, perhaps he thinks he's treating you as a grownup instead of as a child. He may know of no better way to show his respect and consideration than to "let" you be the man when he's visiting.

From my position a little further around the circle of life, not necessarily smarter but more experienced, I'd suggest that the time spent with your Dad-- good or bad-- will one day be the most valuable thing he leaves you with. A few thousand bucks, as critical as it may be in this stage of your life, is a poor substitute for getting to know him better. My Dad's granddaughter grew up never really knowing her Grandpa, and now she never really will.

I don't have any suggestions to make you feel better, but this is a bad time to be smoldering with resentment. Buckle up your safety harness. When your Dad starts having problems down the road, he may call you for help before he calls anyone else in the family. He may view you as the responsible one upon whom he can depend.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:11 PM   #19
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Unless you have an agreement with your parents over the distribution of their funds, you are headed for trouble if you don't learn to drop the issue and just enjoy what you have with them independent of any other relationship they have with anyone else.

With that said, maybe it is time to discuss with them their 'final' wishes. If you are appointed in their will to be the financial executor of their estate, you may have an opportunity to set the record straight.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:23 PM   #20
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What Nords said, and many others. Your parents' discretionary funds are just that, discretionary.

As an only child, I was never faced with your dilemma, but I did observe that once my career was launched my parents never gave or offered me one penny. Instead, as the one who had left home and moved far away, they considered it entirely my responsibility to find the time and money to visit them regularly, and very frequently as their health failed. They visited me once, at my invitation, funded by me. When my father died, I got his watch and pen. When my mother died, I got an inheritance and a trust fund which almost doubled my net worth. I always felt that my parents, by nurturing my education, had done well by me and as an adult I did not expect anything except their love. The inheritance was icing on the cake.
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