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Old 12-20-2007, 07:45 AM   #21
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My parents treat my brother and I evenly, but differently, because our circumstances are so different.

I have one sibling. I am the one who moved away. I earn significantly less than my brother (his earnings are about 5x mine), but he is single, no kids, while I am married and have 2 kids, who are the only grandchildren. Parents help out brother by meeting repairmen, running errands, and buying basics (e.g. clothing because he doesn't have time to shop).

They pay to fly me and my family to visit 1x per year and they will come 2-3 times a year. They did help some with student loans and contributed to the down payment on my first house. I have no idea whether they did the same for brother, but they probably did.
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:08 AM   #22
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This is all kind of odd to me. My parents helped pay for my university education, but ever since then, it hasn't even crossed my mind to ask them for any money. I'm 32. My wife and I saved up our own down payment for the house, bought our own appliances, everything. I just assumed that's how it was supposed to work. I'm fairly certain my brother ( 28 ) has had the same experience, although he finished school with much higher loans than I did. Now that I think about it, I guess it's possible that my parents have helped him out with that, but it's never really occurred to me before. Honestly, I'm happier not knowing. It would just cause hard feelings. I prefer to believe that all of my siblings are going it completely on our own.

I think it would feel weird to accept money from my parents, knowing that I'm supposed to be a full-grown, independent adult. How do you rationalize accepting thousands of dollars from your parents when you're this old? No offense to anyone here, but personally, I think I would get a feeling of failure if I were to find myself in a position of needing help from my parents at this age. They did their job, they raised and educated me. This is the part where I'm supposed to fend for myself, not be an ongoing burden to them. I'm assuming that at some point in the future, I'll be taking care of them as they age, and I'm fine with that. Maybe there'll be a small inheritance at the end of the road, maybe there won't. I'm not counting on that, nor am I counting on them chipping in for my houses or vacations.
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:15 AM   #23
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My situation is slightly different . My So has four grown boys and four grandchildren .I only have one surviving child .I treat all the boys equal and all the grandchildren get equal presents and lots of extra's but I have to admit I give my daughter lots more .She lives far away so it has not become a factor .I also tend to treat the one daughter in law slightly better because she was abandonded as a child so has no real functioning mother ( her mother is an addict who lives nearby and has never even seen her grandchildren ).It's amazing that she grew up and put herself thru college and did well in her career .Plus she is so greatful for anything I do . My other daughter in law has a mother nearby who buys her everything and does everything for her .The other two boys have girlfriends who come & go .So yes , I do treat some differently but not the grandchilden .What I do for one I do for all of them .
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:28 AM   #24
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My (now deceased) mother did mention in her later years that she favored one of my brothers, as I had sensed for many years. She loved all of her children, though, and bent over backwards to treat us equally.

There was a little difference in treatment, in that my parents didn't pay for my college expenses as they did for my brothers (well, for their first year, anyway). I believe that was due more to the fact that they were newly retired and the market was tanking during my freshman year, than due to favoritism. They made a big deal out of giving my brothers the same toy every year for Christmas, when we were kids - - one brother (the favorite) always got whatever-it-was in green, and the other got the same toy in blue.

That seems fine to me. Feelings are one thing, and actions are another. I don't see anything wrong with feeling a favoritism for one child (it happens!), so long as those feelings are not followed through with unfair treatment of the children.

I only had one child of my own, and she is definitely my favorite! I treat her that way, too.
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:31 AM   #25
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My folks were fastidious in being even handed. My sister had health problems, lived on disability, and lived a few blocks from the folks. I was OK with a job at Megacorp and lived half way across the country. They always insisted when helping out my sister that they provided an equal valued assist of some kind to me, despite my repeated reassurances that was not required, expected or even needed. It was their value system and they lived by it.

In our family we have a son that we are supporting for college and a developmentally disabled daughter that will never go to college. So we are spending lots on one that may not be equalled with the other. We are also not splitting the estate equally as well for varied reasons.

So last generation was very equal in treatment given and this generation very unequal.
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:53 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by kombat View Post
This is all kind of odd to me. My parents helped pay for my university education, but ever since then, it hasn't even crossed my mind to ask them for any money. I'm 32. My wife and I saved up our own down payment for the house, bought our own appliances, everything. I just assumed that's how it was supposed to work. I'm fairly certain my brother ( 28 ) has had the same experience, although he finished school with much higher loans than I did. Now that I think about it, I guess it's possible that my parents have helped him out with that, but it's never really occurred to me before. Honestly, I'm happier not knowing. It would just cause hard feelings. I prefer to believe that all of my siblings are going it completely on our own.

I think it would feel weird to accept money from my parents, knowing that I'm supposed to be a full-grown, independent adult. How do you rationalize accepting thousands of dollars from your parents when you're this old? No offense to anyone here, but personally, I think I would get a feeling of failure if I were to find myself in a position of needing help from my parents at this age. They did their job, they raised and educated me. This is the part where I'm supposed to fend for myself, not be an ongoing burden to them. I'm assuming that at some point in the future, I'll be taking care of them as they age, and I'm fine with that. Maybe there'll be a small inheritance at the end of the road, maybe there won't. I'm not counting on that, nor am I counting on them chipping in for my houses or vacations.
That seems pretty judgemental to me.

My folks said they'd rather help us out and see the benefits while they are alive, rather than us getting very little until they died. There's no rule against getting such help anymore than there's a rule that you can't retire early.

However you feel about it is fine, but that doesn't mean you can project your values onto everyone else.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:00 AM   #27
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That seems pretty judgemental to me.

However you feel about it is fine, but that doesn't mean you can project your values onto everyone else.
You're right of course, and I tried to phrase my comments as diplomatically as I could. I didn't mean to direct them at any specific individuals, but rather present a point of view in which the very premise of the question posed by this thread is questioned.

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My folks said they'd rather help us out and see the benefits while they are alive, rather than us getting very little until they died.
That's understandable, but still seems somewhat foreign to me. I'd rather see my parents enjoy their own money. They've worked for it. It's not just a matter of not needing any help and doing fine on my own, it's that I love my parents and would refuse to accept any of their money, regardless of their intentions. If I were forced to cash a cheque from them, I would spend it entirely on airfare visiting them. It's their money. I want them to enjoy it. If there's anything left when they pass on, then that's fine. At that point, I'll accept my share (along with my siblings) guilt-free.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:06 AM   #28
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When it comes to money, they are both self sufficient and educated, but the older one is wealthy, so I haven't figured out how to handle inheritance issues. When a child is truly wealthy it introduces all sorts of odd questions.

Ha
Ha, it can take the wisdom of Solomon to try to figure what is fair, but a $5 calculator can tell you what is equal.

If you can't be 'fair' be equal.

I saw a good book on this, can't recall the name, but there are lots of issues. Holding back from a wealthy offspring can be seen as a 'punishment' for success. The rationalization for equal is easy, everyone can understand it. Everything else is subjective.


That said, there can be extenuating circumstances. If one child has a disability, for example, I would hope that the siblings would all agree that their disabled brother/sister's needs comes first. If they don't understand that, well they don't deserve anything anyhow!

There is always charity - I'm guessing you don't really 'owe' them anything at this point. Your decision, of course.

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Old 12-20-2007, 09:27 AM   #29
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As I used to tell my dear mother, when I traveled to and from college I caught a ride of had to hitch hike. Younger brother was taken to the airport and flew. Youngest brother jumped into his red sport car and boogied. Airplane boy, as I called him, had a full ride academic scholarship and boogie boy had a partial academic. I still tell then at least one of us realized the importance of enhancing social skills and the importance of fraternity.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:43 AM   #30
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Interesting question. I'm not there yet, my oldest is 20. I'm thinking that I'll probably follow what I've told them "I'll love you forever, but I don't know if I'll like you as an adult - it's your life & choices." I'm kind of a "tough love" practitioner.

I saved the same amount for each of them to go to college (not enough for a full ride - more like seed money) and told them that it is their money if they finish college without spending it (my oldest is in a military academy ) but it's my money if they decide to pursue another path. It is their life and their decisions. I'll act as a safety net or trampoline, but not a hammock.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:46 AM   #31
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We have two kids, DD lives 100 miles away, DS lives 1,500. So it is somewhat impossible to treat them the same. We try, but we obviously see DD than DS.

DW was one of 5 children. Only one of her siblings remained close to home. You can see the grand parents are closer to her and her kids, but none of the rest feel slighted as when we are around plenty of attention is paid.
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:32 AM   #32
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Geeze, you must have had a pretty good childhood to be seeing inequity only now!
Truth is that growing up, my parents were very fair and gave all 3 kids the same opportunities. It wasn't until we all grew up that the inequities started.
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If you feel the situation is unfair, and your parents are mentally competent, and you can communicate with them, then perhaps you should have a discussion with them about it just to explain your feelings. They may not have even considered the situation.
I have spoken to them at length but they mostly deny any favoritism or say that they provide time and support to my brother's family because they need it. That's why my original post, to see how others have dealt with similar situations.
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:45 AM   #33
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My first thought was along the lines that perhaps your parents feel the brother needs more help than you do, or have more faith in your ability to make do on your own.

My second thought was that perhaps your brother has given more to your parents, and they're giving more in return.

Lastly, maybe they just like him better.

I dont have more than one kid, and likely never will, so I get to duck this problem.

Seems to me that in all relationships, there are varying levels of like and dislike. While we're like to think that a parent can truly love all their children equally and treat them with an even hand from birth to death...it aint gonna work that way.

"Fair" is a fantasy.
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:48 AM   #34
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:56 AM   #35
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One thing my sisters and I agree on is that are parents don't treat us equally...we all feel like we are being left out, treated unfairly, or being put upon...of course we all can't be correct.
What happens is we all have our own personalities, abilities, needs and expectations. So if mom and dad pay for a new stove for one sister, depend on another sister to take them to Dr.'s appointments, and spend more 'quality time' with a third sister, is it wrong or unfair? I don't think so. Parents interact with their children as individuals.
I know my parents love us all, that doesn't mean we all have the same needs, desires or expectations. I don't judge my relationship with my parents based on their relationship with my sisters, I simply enjoy the relationship I have with them.
I like what you've said here but I'm still struggling with how to get there.

So even if I see my parents doing things unevenly, I should consider that they are reacting to the individual situation and with each of our lives and needs being unique, to not be bothered by instances of inequities. Hmmm, I'll have to see if I can get that to sink in.

What I need is to remove the idea of "fairness" from my whole mindset. How does one not feel rejected when you see your parents doing so much more for one child versus another?
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:02 AM   #36
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My first thought was along the lines that perhaps your parents feel the brother needs more help than you do, or have more faith in your ability to make do on your own.

My second thought was that perhaps your brother has given more to your parents, and they're giving more in return.

Lastly, maybe they just like him better.

Seems to me that in all relationships, there are varying levels of like and dislike. While we're like to think that a parent can truly love all their children equally and treat them with an even hand from birth to death...it aint gonna work that way.

"Fair" is a fantasy.
Agreed....and I think that you have a misplaced sense of entitlement.

Your Mom & Dad could just as well have been giving their time and funds to a charity that you do not care for or agree with.....and I can't help but wonder if the roles were reversed - where THEY needed the help, both physical and/or financial, would you (not YOU specifically - but those in your posiion) be as concerned if your sibling was providing the time and the $$$$?
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:07 AM   #37
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How does one not feel rejected when you see your parents doing so much more for one child versus another?
The same way as when someone other than you gets picked for the promotion or the girl likes another guy better. You work it out and make the best relationships you can out of it, and try not to take it personally.

People arent as virtuous in their relationships as we'd like them to be.

I do want to stress that this may be a good thing rather than unfair. I do know a number of people who fawn more attention on their kids that just cant make do on their own or that they feel will fall down easier than the others. Perhaps the way they're handling this is indicative of their feeling that they dont have to help you or worry about you as much, because you're good on your own.

My wifes parents rent a house out to my wifes brother, and they throw money and time at her sister. Neither is particularly self sufficient. They did nothing of the kind with my wife, who did fine on her own and didnt need the help. My MIL was just telling my wife that she was doing her will and dividing the assets (more like liabilities) among all three kids. My wife said to give all of it to her sister, who is the most helpless, and nothing to her or her brother. She doesnt need it and he's capable of making money, he just spends it all on dumb stuff.

Complicated stuff.
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My thoughts exactly!
Old 12-20-2007, 11:08 AM   #38
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My thoughts exactly!

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Originally Posted by kombat View Post
This is all kind of odd to me. My parents helped pay for my university education, but ever since then, it hasn't even crossed my mind to ask them for any money. I'm 32. My wife and I saved up our own down payment for the house, bought our own appliances, everything. I just assumed that's how it was supposed to work. I'm fairly certain my brother ( 28 ) has had the same experience, although he finished school with much higher loans than I did. Now that I think about it, I guess it's possible that my parents have helped him out with that, but it's never really occurred to me before. Honestly, I'm happier not knowing. It would just cause hard feelings. I prefer to believe that all of my siblings are going it completely on our own.
You and I are of the same mind. I am proud of the fact that since the day of college graduation, my wife and I have worked for everything we have today. Your point "'I'm happier not knowing. It would just cause hard feelings" is what my family situation is all about. I'm trying to get a better understanding from others here to see if I can deal with this better.

So how would you deal with the situation if you learned your brother was getting all kinds of support from your parents?
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:09 AM   #39
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My second thought was that perhaps your brother has given more to your parents, and they're giving more in return.



I think there is a lot of merit in the above comment. While I definitely made sure that all the way through college and just beyond, my sons were treated with a sense of financial equity, things change once they are adults.

One son calls more often, send gifts on all occasions, etc. and always sends sincere thank yous when I send gifts. I thoroughly enjoy giving to him.

The other son rarely calls except on holidays, birthdays, etc. doesn't feel as though gift giving is a two way street and neither he nor his wife seem to think formal thank yous should be expected.

I'm expecting my first grandchild soon and I know that my level of giving will depend a lot on the treatment that I receive from the grandchild, including thank you notes or even enotes.

I don't believe financial equity for adult children should be expected. Once they are grown, the relationship changes.
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:16 AM   #40
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I don't believe financial equity for adult children should be expected. Once they are grown, the relationship changes.
Sure does. When I was a screwball troublemaking kid, my dad had just a passing interest in me. Sort of changed when I became a successful 20 year old, and really changed when I became financially independent and retired.

Try working that one out.
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