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Todd Parker Todd Parker
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Dear Todd Parker - (03/04/15)

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My wife and I have been married for 31 years. We've got two grown children both sons and have started thinking in earnest about retirement. We're still very much in love and we love our family very much. Unfortunately, there's a problem.

Our kids won't grow the hell up.

Neither one of them has figured out how to function as an adult. They're both in their late 20s, with good jobs making good money, but it seems like not a month goes by without at least one of them calling up their mother and asking to 'borrow' some cash to 'get them by' until the next payday. It's not like they don't have the means to pay their bills; they're just too busy blowing their money on superfluous crap. They buy overpriced junk for no reason and eat out three meals a day. Visiting them is almost always a nightmare of dirty socks and pizza boxes. I was worried that they might have some sort of drug or alcohol problem, but as it turns out, they're just ridiculously irresponsible.

And I still probably wouldn't mind helping them out they're our kids and it's not like we're hurting for money except that they aren't even grateful. It's like they look at their mom and me like some sort of cash machine. You just hold out your hand and money magically appears. I honestly can't remember the last time either one of them even bothered with a 'thank you.'

What should we do?

-ATM Dad in Bangor

Dear ATM Dad,

I hate to be the one to break it to you, sir you seem like a solid stand-up guy but it appears that you have somehow managed to raise two spoiled, entitled little sts. You have my condolences.

Back in the day, with relatively few exceptions, the job of the parent was pretty much done when the kid turned 18 and hit official adulthood. That once-hard deadline has softened a little in recent years; there are plenty of 'boomerang kids' moving back in with their folks out there. And I get it it's natural to reach out to your mom and dad during hard times. And it's natural for Mom and Dad to want to help.

However, it sounds like your particular kids aren't asking for help. They are assuming that you're willing to continue financing their slackass quasi-collegiate lifestyle. They still look at their paychecks as 'their' money; it's the job of Mommy and Daddy to cover the rent. And for them to take your money without so much as a word of gratitude? You aren't kidding those punks need to grow up.

Cut them off. Make it abundantly clear that the gravy train has pulled into the station for the final time. Tell them that you and your wife are no longer going to be stuck with the tab for their arrested development. I'd make a particularly big deal out of the lack of gratitude; make sure they know all the reasons you're pulling the plug.

It's going to be hard. There will be protestations and grumblings for some time to come. They'll probably pull out of the manipulative tricks they've learned over the years. Chances are good that they will make you feel bad. Stand strong. You've been around the block long enough to know the difference between what those kids want and what they need.

Your little sponges need to learn to ride on their own. Time to take away the training wheels.


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