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Enabling

Lilly Mae's picture

My husbands daughter is turning 19, she moved in with her boyfriend at the beginning of this year.  As she was not working daddy paid for her rent, now she is working daddy bought her a scooter for her boyfriend and her to get to and from work.  I told my husband I wouldnt allow my daughter to go on a scooter as I feel its not safe. Every week there is something, last weekend she called her dad crying so we dashed over there and it involved how her boyfriends mother is not buying food for the house and can we please speak to her - we told her its not our place.  She says jump and daddy says how high.  We were out last weekend we were going to eat lunch and then to the beach and she called saying her and boyfriend had gone to the shops but couldnt get and Uber home.  So we had to leave what we were doing and by the time we got to the area she had found an uber.  I am sick and tired of the way daddy enables her all the time.  We only seem to ever fight about his daughter.  He suggested the other day that maybe the daughter and her boyfriend should come live by us, now I already have 3 children of my own at home.  I told him I have no problem if she comes home but I do have a problem with the boyfriend moving in.  That would mean I have to cook for 7 people every night and where they are the drama always follows.  She has lied on numerous occassions and daddy believes her.  So then after I said no to the boyfriend moving in he said well then there will be less money at home as he will need to get them a flat.  I told him I thought his idea was ridiculous and if she chose not to move home, then she must deal with her issues.  How do I get my husband to see his behaviour?  I am at my wits end,  feels like my life consists of her and her drama.  The other day I phoned her as she was home and wanted to take her food.  She didnt have the decency to come to the car, instead I waited 40 min outside her complex and sent my niece in after phoning my husband to get the peadestrian gate code.  To me that is so disrespectful that i would take time out of my day to do something nice for her and she clearly didnt care I was waiting outside.  Advice please

JRI's picture

My 84yo DH is still doing this type of thing for SD60, not so extreme as you have, but still.  I wish I knew the answer, too, if you find out, please let me know.  I think you are generous to allow her to move back home.  My SD60 is now barred after what she put us thru last time, which was about the 4th or 5th time she's moved in over the years. Im with you, no to the boyfriend.

I finally had to face my reality which was that my DH would always try to rescue SD60 and she would always rely on him because she's trashed all her other relationships.  We moved her out, I established the exact amount we would pay to subsidize her (she's on disability), separated his and my finances and told both of them not one additional penny would go toward her.   He "hires" her, out of his money, to do yardwork and other work about once a week.  Even so, she often calls him, " Dad, I can't afford my rx" or " Dad, can you pay me ahead for the yardwork".  It's sickening but I've grayrocked her so I can limit my exposure to her toxicity and drama.

You are at an earlier stage in all this, I feel for you.  One thing, I'd never deliver food to her again.  You sound like a kind and giving person but she impresses me as a taker who will use you or anybody else she can.

 

Rags's picture

SD-60 will in all liklihood in the not too distant future have a rude awakening.  When her elderly  father passes and her disengaged former SM will not take her calls for rescue.

JRI's picture

She is here now moaning and groaning loudly due supposedly to a headache.  Translation:  DH demanded she come over to pay me her monthly contribution to shelter costs and to cut his hair and she didn't feel like coming.  Of course, she forgot her hair tools.  But I got my check.  Now onto the bank and make sure it doesn't bounce.  Just another day in Paradise.....

Kes's picture

Is this the SD who you reported earlier this year was pregnant?  I certainly would not have either of my SDs to live with us, especially with a baby. I've done my time as a mother and now have 3 grandchildren, I am not about to take over from a lazy, incompetent step daughter!  You need to stop running errands for SD19 - she is treating you both like unpaid servants. Your DH will probably never stop enabling her.  After years of trying to point out what he was doing, my DH recently had a Eureka moment over his enabling of SD26 but it took a long time for him to understand it. 

Winterglow's picture

Doesn't your husband see how totally ludicrous it is for both sets of parents to be financing a pair of teens so they can play house? Why? It is ludicrous. How are they ever going to stand on their own two feet if everything is just handed to them? He is actually handicapping hi daughter. 

Why on earth were you taking food to her? And why did you hang around for so long? If she knew that you were there, I'd have left after 5 minutes. By waiting for her, you are enabling her to be even more disrespectful. 

ybarra357's picture

OP, I from what you write here, I see that you also enable SD.  Waiting for her for 40 minutes to unlock the gate?? Why on earth would you do that?  Also as another poster said, is this the same SD that was preggers?  What happened with that?  Didn't daddy say his daughter comes first?  Knowing that you STILL are willing to go along with their nonsense.  You do have the power to change this if you choose.  So, how will you proceed?

ESMOD's picture

I think it's time for the "we aren't doing her any favors by...." talk.

I know she is his daughter and he loves her and he doesn't want to see her struggle but she will never learn to live independantly and stand on her own two feet if he keeps rushing over to save her day.  At some point, she needs to figure out how to do things for herself and yes.. sometimes learn the hard lessons from her poor decisions or planning.  Right now, if they screw up, you fix it.. so they keep living with that safety net... we do it... his parents do it.. and these kids are never going to learn how to live for themselves with everyone fixing their lives.

So, I think it's time to help her gain her independence.  Let's decide on an amount of set financial assistance you will provide for the next few months so that they can start to transition. (he may be more inclined to go along if you offer up that they can be weaned off so it won't hurt as badly)  They will have to figure out their transportation issues as well.  We are no longer going to be available at the spur of the moment.  If she gives us 48 hours notice that they will have a transportation need, we can assist if it works with our schedule.. not a guaranty but we will consider it.  Shorter than that will only happen due to a life or death medical emergency situation.  If someone has to wait an hour for the uber.. or whatever.. they need to figure that out.

Oh.. and the financial assistance is conditional.  If they come to you for more money or ask for help that has not been outlined.  It all stops. period right then.  They need to understand that.. that while what is being offered may not be what they are used to.. they better figure out how to sink or swim because the open wallet days are over.

 

justmakingthebest's picture

I agree with this all the way...

Saying we can give $300/mo (or whatever amount) towards your new apartment for the next 6 months give assistance without being totally enabling and having an end date will put you at ease. These kids want to play house, they need to figure it out. I certainly didn't get anything from my parents when I moved in with my boyfriend at 18. We had to figure it out ourselves- and we did. Sure there were a LOT of nights where Ramen was for dinner because we were so broke, but it was good learning for both of us. Later when we got married and had kids we knew how to budget and figure it out for ourselves. 

ESMOD's picture

I would say do this only if they can financially afford it really.  And...I don't think the kids are entitled to the help.. but their parents have been complicit by creating a situation where the kids expect it and are dependent upon the assistance. So, a solution that works towards breaking the cycle and gives the kids a line in the sand where they know they will need to make or break?  It will give them time to get their house in order.. whether that may mean doing things like transitioning to lower cable/internet packages... saving for a cheap car for their transport... getting a 2nd gig job... eliminating some luxuries etc..

and yeah.. learning to make a meal from ramen... or like my brother.. a hot dog stir fry.. haha.

If they are truly earning a low income, they can also apply for some assistance... maybe some snap benefits that would supplement their food budget. 

But, learning to say no to that starbucks drink ... waiting to come home to eat pasta vs buying fast food.. I think offering them a helping hand in the way of education and financial planning assistance with short term help is a kind way to do it.

Because these kids shouldn't be out there living on their own.. having a baby when they can't pay their own expenses.

 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

A lot of young people today could really cut expenses. SO's daughter is broke all the time but last i heard, was still eating out for almost every meal. That is absurd! Maybe these young adults could save more by wasting less? 

ESMOD's picture

Yes.. but many of them were raised in a household where eating out multiple meals a day was the norm.  With both parents working, having home cooked meals was probably a casualty for many households.

So, learning to cook for yourself is a skill that some kids haven't gotten.. they didn't see their parents do it much.

I mean, my YSD would tell me with wonder how she could buy the ingredients for a breakfast sandwich that would last for a week for the price of one visit to the MCD's... or how she was enjoying crafting her own iced coffees at home that were better and cheaper than what she got elsewhere.. or learning to use her slow cooker.

It may even mean some leading by the hand to help them figure it out.  Like making the financial assistance conditional on going over their finances and helping them create a livable budget?  Look at their incomes.. then look at their housing and transportation expenses.. highlight what is left and how it coudl be allocated for things like food, entertainment clothes etc..  How to plan for intermittant expenses like property tax for vehicles.. or new tires for their scooter etc..

JRI's picture

During the last recession, I was driving to my beauty shop.  The street to it has one restaurant after another.   These aren't all fast food, many are "American casual".  All the parking lots were full.  When I talked to my daughter about it, asking how people could afford to eat out when many were struggling, she said that's just the way people live now.  I guess many don't know enough about cooking to realize how much cheaper it is (and often better).

ESMOD's picture

We are used to a wide variety of food.. in big quantities and with little to no effort. 

I try to limit my eating out to get food that would be difficult or time consuming to do at home.  Like ethnic food with specific spices or ingredients that might not be readily available to me.. or not cost effective to keep on hand for occasional use.  Or quality of ingredients that isn't easily found by consumers like high end beef.

The other times I may buy food out is when we are traveling and there is no other option since you are in airports.. or driving long distances on 95 where you just want to get where you are going and a MCD's cheeseburger is the quickest and most reliable way to feed yourself on the road (unless there is a Buccees nearby.. the brisket is good.. seriously).

Other than that?  I really try to not put myself in the position of having to go out to eat.  And honestly, in most cases, my husband and I cook better than most restaurants anyway (we used to run a dinner cruise boat and did the cooking for that ourselves)... and we would rather go splurge on some pricey seafood and meats and do it right ourselves vs pay for mediocre results at some fast casual joint.  I cannot remember the last time I was in a chili's, fridays, cheesecake factory etc.. 

We actually live kind of in a rural area without a lot of options.. so there is no pizza delivery and the closest decent pizza place would be 45 min to an hour round trip from home.. so again.. convenience? it's cooking for ourselves vs driving out for dinner.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

If these kids could learn to make slime out of glue and laundry detergent by watching YouTube, they can learn to cook that way, too damnit! 

I do see what you mean, though. If eating out has always been their norm, they might not even think about preparing food at home. It's such a huge savings, though. Restaurant food is so much more expensive.

tog redux's picture

Well, that would be the last time I'd do anything nice for SD, if she kept you waiting 40 minutes.

From this board, it seems the enabling of skids is a hard habit to break. Just make sure he's not spending your earned money on his kid.

TheAccidentalSM's picture

Cooking and personal finance should be on the school curriculum.  

When YSS came to live with us, I taught him to cook a couple of really simple things like a from scratch Bolognese sauce.  Taking Bolognese sauce to chili is as simple as adding some fresh or dried chili (I do realise this isn't proper chili but its good enough if you can't cook).  Slap some store bought filo pastry on top and bake and suddenly you have beef pie.  When he went to live on his own he couldn't cook much but he could make a mean spag-bol which he used to impress many girls.

hereiam's picture

Does he EVER want her to be indpendent and stand on her own two feet? He needs to teach her how, not just throw money at her and solve her non-emergency problems for her.

First step is to put YOUR foot down and stop going along with the enabling.

Stepdrama2020's picture

Your SD will NEVER be indpendent. I suppose though big daddy wants it that way.

I used to fear this with my ex SD. No longer my fear cause its an ex. He was being "tough" and made the snotty princess get a PT job. To reward her for that he matched dollar for dollar on her pay. YES you read that right. So the snotty princess took minimal hours cause she knew big daddio would match it. This drove me bonkers.

Thinking back they were all insane.

Blessings and good luck

MissTexas's picture

that way! Do not encourage her to  move back in. You can already see how stressful this will be just having to cook for 7 people! NO WAY LADY!

Unfortunately there is sometimes a boomerang effect when these "kids" move out and move back in. That cannot happen here.

Are your kids DH's kids too? How long have you been married?

1. No moving back in

2. DO NOT BRING HER FOOD or anything else, that's ENABLING HER BEHAVIOR

3. Think about YOUR FAMILY first and foremost

4. Your DH likely will always jump when she tells him to

Best of luck!