Author Topic: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)  (Read 23370 times)

ambimammular

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #50 on: July 24, 2015, 11:23:27 AM »
Someone on the forums (a social worker?  Therapist?) said her rule is she doesn't work harder for a patient/client than the patient is working for him/herself. 

That rule had an impact on me, too. I've been sharing its wisdom with friends.

mm1970

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #51 on: July 24, 2015, 11:31:21 AM »
I think there is a bunch going on here with the family dynamics that really cannot be fully flushed out on public forums. Me and my husband are treated differently than our siblings too. My brother and his wife who spends more gets more parental financial socialism. When we do not go crazy with Christmas gifts we are seen as misers, yet my husband's brother spends $5/person on Christmas.

Really the solution to all this you already know and have implemented throughout your life. Stop caring what others think. Being LGBT you have no doubt already largely dealt with this. Family is the final frontier. Give money how you see fit. You may be the rich aunties, but that is really not too bad.

Very wise. This thread hit a sore spot for me personally because we see the "get in financial trouble, parents bail you out" in both our families. And our parents seem to enjoy being "involved" that way. We don't want any money from our parents, but it would be nice to get a pat on the back from our parents for not being a financial burden. Oh well. The OP's family seems extra difficult to deal with. No easy answer.
Yep, us too. My brother and his wife got a lot of economic outpatient care from my mom.  There was always something, to the tune of several thousand each year.  House stuff, car stuff, braces.  They made enough money but just like to spend it.  And my  mom carried around the guilt of "I divorced your father when you were teens" like it was a badge of shame.

My mom also occasionally helped out my sister, but generally she and her husband were much better with money. They just had less of it.  And my sister paid them back.

My mother also had a need for things to be "fair", so she'd make them "fair" in her head.  Maybe it's the engineer in me, but I always pushed for accuracy.  She kept talking about how she helped pay for my wedding like she did for my sister.  "Mom, you paid $3k for sister's wedding.  You paid $100 for my invitation.  You paid for my BROTHER'S HOTEL ROOM and my SISTER'S HOTEL ROOM for my wedding, that is NOT paying for my wedding!!"  I told her many many times that I didn't want her to pay.  I don't need the money.  She just had this thing.

After a decade, she got over it though.  She started college funds for her 3 grandchildren (my sister's and brother's kids).  But she never started one for my older son (she died before my younger son was born) because "you don't need the money, and you already have a college fund started." Totally true and I told her that all the time.  My sister would complain that it wasn't fair to me and my son.  I told her it's fine I don't care, I don't need the money.  Really, we make 3x what you do, I really mean it.

People are funny about money.

My brother doesn't dare ask my step-dad for money.  The last time he hinted around, my mom was still alive, and he was hinting about wanting central air (gets hot and humid for a few weeks in the summer in PA).  My mom said (finally wising up?)  "If I had $5000 for central AC, I'd put it in my own house!!"  (Note: they have the money, they just don't spend it on luxuries for 3 weeks a year.  The window units are fine.)

mm1970

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #52 on: July 24, 2015, 11:33:25 AM »
ahhh, the financial joys of "Senior Year":

Pictures
yearbook
cap & gown
class ring
senior prom
prom dress/tux rental
graduation party

Just went through this with one of my own. It is a money gravy train for sure, and one of the more difficult areas to be frugal about.

But I'm so happy with my high school class ring and my college class ring too!!

Oh wait, I lost the HS one decades ago and the college one hasn't fit since the 1990s.  Oh hindsight 20/20!!

Fuzzy Buttons

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #53 on: July 24, 2015, 11:48:24 AM »
Sorry for the brief derail, but I can't help mentioning my 10 year old niece.  She's like the perfect little mustachian.  It's difficult to get her to say what she would want for her birthday or Christmas - she just responds that she doesn't need anything.  She's happy and energetic all the time, and she loves to go to Goodwill.  The other day our conversation went like this:

Niece: "Uncle Fuzzy, we found the best sweater and it was just TWO DOLLARS!!"

Me: "Great, can I see it?"

Niece: "No, we didn't buy it.  I already have a sweater."


Right on.  :D

iris lily

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #54 on: July 25, 2015, 01:59:28 PM »
Someone on the forums (a social worker?  Therapist?) said her rule is she doesn't work harder for a patient/client than the patient is working for him/herself. 

That rule had an impact on me, too. I've been sharing its wisdom with friends.

I used that idea a lot in my work, too. I didn't do social services, but I did procurement. When one of my colleagues waited until the very last moment to submit purchase requests for difficult-to-acquire items and did that repeatedly, after a while I figured these items were not very important to her. So that work became low priority  in my department rather than the rush-service she expected.

Skin in the game is essential at all levels of life.

mathlete

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #55 on: July 25, 2015, 02:16:40 PM »
I can't even imagine raising one special needs kid let alone 3 so while blowing the inheritance was really dumb, I guess it is at least somewhat understandable. When you spend your life living for others maybe you tend to feel a little entitled when a windfall comes your way.

No excuse for her behavior, just trying to see all sides.

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #56 on: July 25, 2015, 04:35:21 PM »

But I'm so happy with my high school class ring and my college class ring too!!

Oh wait, I lost the HS one decades ago and the college one hasn't fit since the 1990s.  Oh hindsight 20/20!!

I didn't buy a HS class ring. The idea seemed stupid.  I would have gone without the letter jacket, but it was the only "approved" jacket for the dance team at football games, and those things got really cold. But it was pretty easy to know I'd never wear the things again.  I also skipped a lot of other HS "things" that were big money spenders because they seemed like a waste. I have a car- why do I need a limo to prom? JC Penny sells prom dresses, why do I need one custom made? My sister has a cap and gown; the color isn't quite the same as they use this year- but who cares?  And I skipped senior portraits and just go the yearbook pictures instead of "model" ones.

My college ring though- huge deal. I think for some people it was more important to the degree. I ordered mine a size big knowing my fingers would get fatter. I still wear it 10 years later, though only on special occasions because I don't wear any jewelry on a daily basis.  I'm not sure my husband has had a day since he got his that he hasn't worn his college ring (though it wasn't quite AS big of a deal at his school as mine).

BTDretire

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #57 on: July 25, 2015, 05:33:20 PM »
ahhh, the financial joys of "Senior Year":

Pictures
yearbook
cap & gown
class ring
senior prom
prom dress/tux rental
graduation party

Just went through this with one of my own. It is a money gravy train for sure, and one of the more difficult areas to be frugal about.

But I'm so happy with my high school class ring and my college class ring too!!

Oh wait, I lost the HS one decades ago and the college one hasn't fit since the 1990s.  Oh hindsight 20/20!!

 Even my 23 year old daughter has lost any importance of all that HS stuff, even now two years out of college the biggest prize is the diploma.
Most camera phones will take better pictures than a film camera 15 years ago, and hundreds of them in a day. If she is anything like most teen girls
she has hundreds of pictures already.
  I would like to see if this girl is still teachable and whether there is a program available to help her reach here maximum ability.
Also to get her out of a home, that with a different life attitude could possibly have made a huge difference in the girls life.
And, please, please don't let her get pregnant for many years.
 I applaude you for getting her out for at least brief periods of time.

bsmith

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #58 on: July 25, 2015, 06:41:49 PM »
Quote
Two days later, meaning last night, my SO and I are sitting on the couch when she gets a text from her sister making another appeal for the $300. I was not amused.

Texting is a coward move. She did it so she could control the conversation.

Sounds like you're doing everything you can. I would keep helping the girl as you can, reinforce the importance of gratitude, and all the other suggestions above. That mom's a real piece of work, though.

ender

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #59 on: July 25, 2015, 07:34:16 PM »
A thought: next time (if there is a next time) make sure to try to work her instead of being an ATM.

You could say, "we're willing to spend $X on everything" and then help her to decide what to spend it on. If you go to a store, and she wants $200 shoes, then you can coach her thinking and say "if you get those you won't have enough money for a new shirt" etc.

It might not teach her to be perfect with money, but it might start the process along. At the very least it can show you aren't an endless pit of money.


regarding the $300, did you talk about how much you planned on spending with her mom on school stuff? Was the $900 unexpected? It might be you set an improper expectation by not communicating you were only going to spend money on school supplies/clothing.

It's not really surprising to me that someone bad with money sees someone else drop $900 (or, at least, sees the haul her kid got from you - if she didn't know exact amounts) on their niece and then expects they'd be willing to pay for other stuff for her too. If you consider, if her mom is terribad with money, you guys just did something insane from her perspective (who has that kind of money to spend on other people!!!? etc). It's not surprising she would expect you to want to do something again.

Now I don't know the full interactions you both have had with the mom, but from my armchair quarterback perspective, it's not that she marked you as a cash source - you volunteered as one, without setting expectations.

lifejoy

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #60 on: July 26, 2015, 07:54:11 AM »
Idea for the future:

When I was a kid, my Aunt would take me out for bday or xmas and give me a budget (usually $60-$100 that she would hand me in cash) and say, "Ok, let's go shopping!" and it would be up to me to either blow it on the one big thing I wanted or to buy several little things. I will admit, that as a teenager, it would be hard to not buy the $100 shoes if someone told me "Ok let's get you some shoes!" instead of me having to figure out how much I could spend on shoes if I also wanted a new eyeshadow. Not sure if that would work for your situation, but it was great for me and fun for my aunt.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #61 on: July 26, 2015, 09:16:05 AM »
I'm going to chime in on the side of those who are not surprised the mother asked you for $300 after you spent $900 on her teenage daughter in ONE DAY. You must look like your are made of money, especially if you didn't discuss boundaries or budget beforehand but just spent whatever you 'needed to'. It's your choice who you spend your money on, but I would give some thought to the way you communicate your choices. Both to the mother and to the daughter, about fairness and priorities.

However, I would be cautious about spending money in the future. It's not the best way to help people. What this child needs is some guidance about her future and about adult life in general. You can absolutely do this in the guise of fun stuff - e.g. have her over to cook spaghetti together and then eat it in front of her favourite film. Take her out for ice cream and have a heart-to-heart about her future plans and where they might lead her.

I don't know this child, but my instinct is that the best thing you could ever do for her to to help her to find and keep a job. It sounds like she has never lived in a household with a working adult, and will happily perpetuate the benefits cycle if allowed to. Help her write up her CV and hand it in to McDonalds, and then work out with her what time she has to leave and the best route to get to work on time. The routine of working is something that can seem complicated, but if she can just get one job now (even one day a week!) and build up some work history and reliability, she'll have that to fall back on if her dreams of stardom don't work out. She'll also earn a bit of her own money - maybe you could broker a deal where half of it goes to her mother for household expenses and half is hers to keep. It'll probably feel very grown up to have her own money in her pocket, but this will both help the mother out financially and get the daughter used to having to pay someone else for rent and food out of her wages. You might have to do a lot for her at first (take her round to hand her CV in, text her to remind her to go to work) but what's a few hard months in this child's whole life?

MrsPete

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #62 on: July 26, 2015, 11:43:37 AM »
Now let's pause here. When I had senior high school photos done in 1986, we got one photo and you bought a package for $39.99.
I don't think it's quite fair to compare today's prices against prices from the 80s.  Everything is more expensive.  Having said that, I teach high school seniors, and $300 is kind of the high-end of what kids tend to buy.  I bought individual sheets of my kids' senior pictures rather than a package, and I spent a little over $100/kid -- we did just the formal pictures.  I've never heard anyone say, "I don't enjoy looking back at old pictures", or "I spent too much money on pictures of my kids". 

Note, too, that the purchase of senior pictures has no deadline.  She can go back to the photographer in 2, 3, 10 years and ask for prints then. 
Anyway, we took the girl out and after a full day of shopping for everything from clothes to shoes to underwear, bras, school supplies and bedding, she was deposited back at home and we were $900 poorer. We don't mind. We don't have kids, so spoiling other people's from time to time is our karmic payment to the universe.
I'm assuming that this kid's needs have pretty much been ignored, and I don't think this is too awfully bad: not for clothes, shoes, under-items, bedding, and school supplies.  Yes, it's a lot at once, but in a more typical house hold, the daughter would've been getting these things bit by bit instead of all at once. 
1) My SO's sister received an inheritance 6 months ago of $30k. I guess it's all gone and she's back to living on welfare, food stamps and other aid. This woman has never worked.
Dealing with three sons with serious medical problems, I can see why she doesn't work NOW.  What I don't understand is why she never worked before she had children.  I also wonder why she continued to have children once she realized she had as much as she could handle on her own. 
4) The teen girl was sullen the entire day and I had to prompt her to thank my SO. I was a sullen teen as well, so I get it, but she usually appreciates us. I guess the novelty has worn off. We're just the rich aunties.
I'd be willing to bet she doesn't know how to react to this treatment, and it comes out as bad, sullen angst-y type behavior.  You can't expect her to be anything except what she is: A kid who's grown up in a deprived household.
That reminds me, why do we still do school pictures, when digital cameras are relatively cheap and abundant? I understand school pictures being a big deal when you had to develop film, but I have approximately 17,000 photographs of my three month old.
I'd bet you have about 16,998 digital images of your three-month old -- and two paper prints that you can actually frame or put into a scrapbook.  That's the way digital images are:  No one ever prints them, and they just sort of end up "lost".  I teach photography, and even I'm guilty of this! 

Why do we still "do" school pictures?  Because it's how kids' pictures get into the yearbook and because it's a fund raiser for the school - a fundraiser that parents actually LIKE.  Not everyone takes pictures, pictures, pictures, and many parents LIKE a reminder and an easy way to have good pictures taken.  I admit my standards are pretty high (I do teach photography), but I'm fairly well appalled at what most people consider a "great photograph"; pretty much, it means you can identify the person in the picture.   
Thanks for writing, AnnaJane. We have tried to do what we can, but this girl has been classified as learning disabled as well ... When asked about what she's going to do after high school, the teen says she wants to be an actress. She's never been in a play or taken a class, but she thinks this is a viable career path.
For a kid to be classified as "learning disabled", he or she must consistently demonstrate a 2-year discrepancy between his or her age and ability.  So if a 10-year old is only able to complete math appropriate for an 8-year old, he or she could be classified as "learning disabled in math".  Thing is, a whole lot of 10-year olds who never do their homework are simply behind in their skills, but that can mean they're only able to do 8-year old work with any accuracy.  The OP's calling this "stunted", and it's a pretty accurate descriptor.

Also, a true learning disabled kid is only disabled in ONE area -- you cannot be learning disabled in a general sense; the diagnosis must be attached to a specific set of skills.  For example, I have students who read at an average level, but they have serious, serious problems with writing.  A kid who's genuinely learning disabled will not have problems "across the board". 

In contrast, I have a cousin who LOOKS normal and SPEAKS normally, but when he was in school he could've been classified as learning disabled in multiple subjects.  The truth is that he's mildly retarded; he probably has about a 70-80 IQ.  That he looks normal was good luck; that he speaks normally is because he was raised in a family that provided him with an enriched environment.  He has a wonderful work ethic -- so long as he doesn't have to think for himself -- and he works as a plumber's helper (fetching and carrying), and it stretches the limits of his career abilities.  But I digress ...

In the long run, being learning disabled isn't a huge handicap, though it certainly does make school harder.  Such a person can choose a career that avoids his or her weaknesses. 

As for becoming an actress, I saw my own kids (and their friends) go through this at the middle school level -- they were all going to be singers, artists, basketball players, models.  However, by the time they'd finished a year of high school, all of the average-and-above kids had matured enough to realize that these are pie-in-the-sky dreams, and they'd started searching for more realistic plans.  And/or they'd realized the difference between a hobby and a job. 

An idea:  My oldest earned a CNA license (Certified Nursing Assistant) through her high school courses, and as a college student she's found PLENTY of work in a variety of places (she's studying to become an RN).  This might be an ideal choice for your niece.  I've seen advertisements for $450 2-week classes that lead to a CNA license (I think the CNA test was around $100), and if she does that for a few years -- and does well -- she could "move up" to a CNA 2, an LPN, etc.  From what you describe, RN may be out of her league, but CNA will open doors to secure jobs with benefits.  CNAs aren't expected to dress nicely (a set of scrubs at the discount place is under $20) or have good communications skills -- and except for home health, they work under the direction of someone else.  It seems like a reasonable possibility for your niece.

Perhaps you could offer to put her through such a course as a graduation present.  Or, better yet, my grandmother used to say, "Never give a child what he will earn."  She didn't mean actual paying jobs (because she meant children-children, not teens or young adults) so much as working around the house or holding off on a reward until a good report card came around. 

Another thought:  Do they have Job Corps where you live?  It's a program for kids who aren't stupid, but who don't have the family support to help them transition from high school (an experience that sort of happens to you) to career (an experience where, if you do nothing, nothing will happen).  It takes kids out of their home environments and gives them training -- I think mostly in trades -- and it teaches them life skills.  It's kind of like High School 2.0 ... but focused on the life skills that most of us are teaching our kids while they're teens. I've heard rave reviews about it. 
Senior pictures has become another occasion to overspend on your offspring, sanctioned by the schools. My daughter's (public) high school hired a photographer and every child had a photo shoot which resulted in a whole bunch of proofs for her to choose from. I think the cheapest package you could purchase was over $200 and for maybe $230 you could get some wallets in addition to the 8x10 people usually want. It was a total rip off.  You could even hire the photographer for half a day and take you to several locations for your photo shoot, for an additional couple hundred dollars.. Madness.
At the school where I teach, you CAN do this, but there's ZERO pressure from school or friends to buy -- kids don't trade wallet pictures any more like they did when I was in high school.  Kids can JUST have a picture made for the yearbook and the newspaper without any cost.
LOL at 17 being too late.  The older I get, the more I realize that when I was 17, I was far from fully formed.  Habits can be changed. Sometimes people just need a map, and they need to see that the 4 minute mile is possible.  Didn't this forum coin the phrase, "Mustachian 180"?? :)
I don't think 17 is too late ... but I think it's the uncomfortable middle, where great enlightenment is unlikely to be found.  She's not a young child who can be gently guided towards valuing education and exploring her options and developing her talents, nor is she an adult who has "been out there" and realized that she NEEDS an education.  Given her upbringing, she probably isn't thinking past her first day of school outfit, and -- if she does think about the future -- she probably believes that actress is a real possibility.
Makeup is most definitely not a necessity.
I'm also questioning why you'd get her bedding if she might be leaving the family home when she's 18.  (I'd wait till I knew what she was doing post-high school for that purchase.)
Clothes, shoes, school supplies sure - but still I don't see $900 there.
Teenaged girls consider make-up a necessity. 
Nice sheets and blankets may not be a necessity, but they certainly are a wonderful luxury, and the girl's going to continue to need a place to sleep no matter what she does a year from now.

I agree these are splurges, but they're not crazy-wild splurges -- and we all enjoy nice things.  As a high school teacher, I am 100% certain that the average teenaged girl has many, many more splurges of this nature.  I was a teen during the affluent 80s, and I had few treats and splurges -- I would've been thrilled beyond belief to have had a "rich auntie" help me.  I so treasured the few niceties I had, the few items that let me feel like the other kids for just a moment.  Don't beat up the OP for trying to be kind to a kid who needs some help. 

« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 12:08:55 PM by MrsPete »

Exhale

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #63 on: July 26, 2015, 12:35:51 PM »
What this child needs is some guidance about her future and about adult life in general. You can absolutely do this in the guise of fun stuff - e.g. have her over to cook spaghetti together and then eat it in front of her favorite film.

I don't know this child, but my instinct is that the best thing you could ever do for her to to help her to find and keep a job [or volunteer commitment]. It sounds like she has never lived in a household with a working adult, and will happily perpetuate the benefits cycle if allowed to. Help her write up her CV and hand it in to McDonalds, and then work out with her what time she has to leave and the best route to get to work on time. The routine of working is something that can seem complicated, but if she can just get one job now (even one day a week!) and build up some work history and reliability, she'll have that to fall back on...and get the daughter used to having to pay someone else for rent and food out of her wages.

As the sister of a disabled sibling I recommend the two bolded strategies listed above. My sister can now cook a handful of simple healthy dishes. It took multiple times to learn the shopping-cooking-clean-up routine, but we made it fun (shopping as a bit of a game, playing favorite music while we cooked and cleaned, etc.). She'll never be able to live independently, but she has a valuable life skill not to mention something about which she is quite proud.

A job might be too much for your niece right now. A weekly volunteer commitment might be a better place to start. Before being able to get and keep a job my sister had to learn some basic skills (bus schedule, arriving on time, appropriate wardrobe). As with the cooking, this took time and practice, but she did it. And the volunteering allowed her to transition to a job. Also valuable was that her volunteer work allowed her have a world that was her own and to see that there are things she can do.

One last note. You may want to discuss with your SO the idea of take all/some of the funds you'd normally spend on your niece and use those to build up an emergency fund. I say this because, unless your niece is able to change and grow, it's very possible that she'll face a lack of housing (or other basic need). If you had an emergency fund earmarked for your niece you could then have the option of helping her if she was in dire need.

Good luck with this painful and complicated situation.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 12:46:10 PM by Exhale »

Faraday

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #64 on: July 26, 2015, 01:43:29 PM »
I've been reading and pondering this thread for days. I've literally lost sleep thinking about it. (I'm a male in his 50's. I have walked in those children's shoes big-time. But this is not about me and let's not go there...)

DocCyane, I do love you sis. I love your postings (LOL about the doughnuts!). I love that your SO has joined you on this MMM journey. I love that you have completed the incredible achievement of FIRE.  When I grow up, I wanna be like you. :-)

Think of me as one of those children, but after getting in a time machine and coming to talk to you as a much more articulate adult.

First: Everything you perceive about the mother and her spending habits and money management is true. So, she's like 98% of the rest of the world. OK, no big surprise there. 

What I want you and your SO to do is look past the bad lifestyle choices and accept the fact that this woman and her children are YOUR FAMILY. If you are lucky, you'll be stuck with them for the rest of your life. Yes, I said "lucky" and I mean it.

Second: Don't go take the girl out, buy her stuff, then drop her back in. That's not serving her, the mother, or you and your purposes with this family. In fact, it's destroying the positive effect you can have on this family.

Don't get hung up on the $300 request by the mother. She's trying to make decisions she thinks are important. She's trying not to be the bad guy with the daughter. Remember, it's that mother who is always having to pick up the pieces and deal with the bad. You and SO get to be Auntie Santas. That's not doing jack squat.

Third: When the girl gets back to the house with all this loot, she's got to deal with the problems that causes in her relationships with her mother and her siblings. No wonder she was sullen and unthankful: she has to deal with the shit-storm of questions when she comes home with the loot, then when she can't invent something to blunt the trauma of it, she has to deal with the crap that comes later.

You have resources and knowledge that are vitally important to this family. You CAN change their future, but you've got to start building trust, building relationships, building lines of communication. You do this through the gift of time and action.

You've probably got a lot on the ball and are probably a person that other people think highly of and are drawn to. This is a kind of superpower that you are squandering and not using on this family.

You are FIRE: that means you have time and ability that few people have. Do one of the kids need to be picked up after school and taken somewhere? Is there something you can do that's an action, involving time, that can build trust and lines of communication between you and the family?

You are no stranger to the sexual politics that women usually have to play just to live in this world. Is there some way you can help the mother see past all this and take a kind of longer view of things?

And is there some way you can show the 17 year old girl that if she's ever going to be successful, she's got to find her innate talents, cultivate them into skills, get the credentials, then make it happen?

Credentials - I'm sure you have them (your fake name has "Doc" in it). How can you cultivate an appreciation for the power of credentials not just in the girl, but in the rest of the family? Those boys need SOME kind of credentialing also, if they are ever going to make it.

And finally: you really, really want this mother to survive and thrive. Seriously. If something happens to her, then there's going to be this shit-storm of trouble in this family and you'll be swept up with it. You've got to look past sexual and gender politics to the human problem and realize, you can, and should, cultivate trust and connection to this woman and her children. They need to embrace their own intelligence so they can progress away from where they stand right now.

What I'm telling and selling you, it can be done. I am proof of that. I had to leave home and never return, but I'd make the same choices again and again, they were the right ones.

CommonCents

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #65 on: July 26, 2015, 02:10:15 PM »
Makeup is most definitely not a necessity.
I'm also questioning why you'd get her bedding if she might be leaving the family home when she's 18.  (I'd wait till I knew what she was doing post-high school for that purchase.)
Clothes, shoes, school supplies sure - but still I don't see $900 there.
Teenaged girls consider make-up a necessity. 
Nice sheets and blankets may not be a necessity, but they certainly are a wonderful luxury, and the girl's going to continue to need a place to sleep no matter what she does a year from now.

I agree these are splurges, but they're not crazy-wild splurges -- and we all enjoy nice things.  As a high school teacher, I am 100% certain that the average teenaged girl has many, many more splurges of this nature.  I was a teen during the affluent 80s, and I had few treats and splurges -- I would've been thrilled beyond belief to have had a "rich auntie" help me.  I so treasured the few niceties I had, the few items that let me feel like the other kids for just a moment.  Don't beat up the OP for trying to be kind to a kid who needs some help.

It's laudable she wants to help, but I question whether it's actually helping or instead hurting.  In my posts and other posts, we've tried to point out some of these things:
- The OP was annoyed the mom didn't ask her to spend less so they could buy the pictures - but didn't think that the mom may have thought that as she asked before the trip, that the OP would have considered it.
- The OP seems to splurge on just one child out of the family, without considering the resentment this may breed.  I don't know the age gap, but if there's a 19 yo in that family, that child may not think "Oh!  I am and adult at 18 and that's why there are no $900 shopping sprees for me!"
- By dropping $900 at one time (which the mom may not ever see herself at one time), the family likely considers them rich and able to buy most anything at a drop of the hat, and certainly "just" $300 photos. 
- The OP seems to be teaching the girl to enjoy and want nice things like luxury nice sheets/bedding, rather than teaching her how to wisely handle money.  Ideas posited on this thread are to say "What do you need today - we have a budget of X" and helping her stay on budget / realize she can't get it all, to take her to a thrift store to buy items, or to give the gift of time and not stuff.  I hope the OP considers these ideas, particularly as I don't recall seeing her post a response here for a while.
- And then of course, I just can't wrap myself around the $900 spending in general, particularly for mustachians. 

And I still disagree on makeup!  I got through high school w/o any makeup except that which I bought myself (and that only once when my mom suggested it and put me in front of someone selling it - I didn't seek it out), and I didn't even wear it most days.  Some - or many - teenage girls may want it, but that doesn't make it into a necessity and can actually feed into body image issues/questions.  I just wonder about the message it sends.

okits

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #66 on: July 26, 2015, 07:55:09 PM »
I've reread the original post + OP responses (this thread got a lot of comments, many of which, mine included, focused on the specifics and not the request: how to deal with the family cash grab?)

My thoughts: a consistent "no" (might take years for it to sink in but eventually they'll learn it's not worth asking), and possibly excuses about why not ("between jobs" if you're RE, or "credit cards are maxed" if you're okay lying and want something they'll understand.) It sounds like your SO already knows they only call when they want something, so there's probably not much family relationship to strain by cutting off the cash.

mefla, your response was amazing.  It brought me back to an earlier comment OP made, which is she's not going to undertake the cost, risk, and time needed to undo 17 years of bad upbringing.  Some may find that harsh but I think the OP is completely within her rights to feel this way.  Within the parameters of the original post, discontinuing the outings and financial help and moving on is the way to go, since neither seems to be helping or appreciated.

OP, you seem to have a good heart and feel empathy for this girl.  If you cut off the money and outings consider leaving extended your offer of guidance. If/when this girl is ready to think about a career, further education, life skills, or just not making bad choices, it would be great if she could turn to you for advice.  She will have to take the initiative to ask and be ready to take the necessary action, but if she becomes a willing student hopefully your teaching her will be inspiring, not burdensome.  She may never want it or be willing to do the work (and no one can make her feel otherwise), but if she is, you can guide her to a better life.

MrsPete

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #67 on: July 27, 2015, 08:24:18 AM »
And I still disagree on makeup!  I got through high school w/o any makeup except that which I bought myself (and that only once when my mom suggested it and put me in front of someone selling it - I didn't seek it out), and I didn't even wear it most days.  Some - or many - teenage girls may want it, but that doesn't make it into a necessity and can actually feed into body image issues/questions.  I just wonder about the message it sends.
Good for you, but wearing make up (or not wearing make up) doesn't make you a good or bad person.  It doesn't make you any more or less immune to body image issues. 

If the girl wanted it (and I assume she did, or they wouldn't have bought it), let her have it.  Don't make it a big issue one way or the other.  The average teenaged girl is going to want to at least dabble in some make up.  Teen girls are pretty big on the conformity thing, and make up isn't a hill to die for.  Denying it or declaring it to be the devil -- to a girl who wants it -- can be just as damaging as pushing it. 

RunHappy

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #68 on: July 27, 2015, 09:09:59 AM »
And I still disagree on makeup!  I got through high school w/o any makeup except that which I bought myself (and that only once when my mom suggested it and put me in front of someone selling it - I didn't seek it out), and I didn't even wear it most days.  Some - or many - teenage girls may want it, but that doesn't make it into a necessity and can actually feed into body image issues/questions.  I just wonder about the message it sends.
Good for you, but wearing make up (or not wearing make up) doesn't make you a good or bad person.  It doesn't make you any more or less immune to body image issues. 

If the girl wanted it (and I assume she did, or they wouldn't have bought it), let her have it.  Don't make it a big issue one way or the other.  The average teenaged girl is going to want to at least dabble in some make up.  Teen girls are pretty big on the conformity thing, and make up isn't a hill to die for.  Denying it or declaring it to be the devil -- to a girl who wants it -- can be just as damaging as pushing it.

Agreed!

LiveLean

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #69 on: July 27, 2015, 09:31:30 AM »
My late wonderfully frugal mother was so anti-school pictures even in the late 1970s. Back then, you'd actually be sent home with a package of photos of various sizes, pay for the ones you wanted and send the rest back. (Imagine this today -- none would ever come back, let alone with checks.)

My mom would cut 1-2 of the wallet size photos out and send everything back. I don't feel any worse off that I don't have 8x10s and 5x7s from first through 12th grade.

The $300 photo shoots are part of the evil celebrity influence that parents totally buy into -- along with putting your kids name and jersey number from his youth football team or cheerleading megaphone on the back window of your car. WTF? And you wonder why your kids feel entitled.

The new episode of HBO's Real Sports has an awesome feature by Bernard Goldberg, in full what-the-hell-has-happened-to-this-country mode -- called The Trophy Culture. It's a must-see.

sstants

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #70 on: July 27, 2015, 09:42:59 AM »
In short, I'm left feeling like a sucker for being kind to this family. Obviously I don't want to take it out on the teen who just wanted school clothes, but we appear to have become a marked target. My SO says that's the way it has always been with her family. No one contacts her unless they need money. It just seems a little sad.

Anyway, that's my tale. There's no problem to solve, but I'd love your commentary on family members and their attempts at the money grab.

Good on you! You both clearly care and are trying to do something positive. There will always be haters and critics, but you actually get off your butt and do something!

Family is always tough, especially when you are dealing with family members outside of your sphere of control. I wonder if the mother is so adamant about the senior photos because she doesn't want her daughter to feel left out of something her classmates' parents all pay for?

As for the young lady's dreams/aspirations to become an actress...people's goals often change as they try things out and it is never too late to pick up a new craft! At least she has a starting point! I was blessed with people around me who all encouraged me to chase my goals no matter what they were (they happened to be nerdy science stuff which people seem a little more complimentary of, but regardless). I'm sure your back to school gifts are much appreciated...what about letting your niece know that you guys would love to hear about what she wants to do? Get her talking and maybe she'll ask you to teach her to drive so she can get to acting classes.

Best of luck with this one...and don't give up on her! I was a miserable teen girl at 17 too and 7 years later I'm significantly more awesome (and 100% employed and employable!)

CommonCents

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #71 on: July 27, 2015, 10:11:05 AM »
And I still disagree on makeup!  I got through high school w/o any makeup except that which I bought myself (and that only once when my mom suggested it and put me in front of someone selling it - I didn't seek it out), and I didn't even wear it most days.  Some - or many - teenage girls may want it, but that doesn't make it into a necessity and can actually feed into body image issues/questions.  I just wonder about the message it sends.
Good for you, but wearing make up (or not wearing make up) doesn't make you a good or bad person.  It doesn't make you any more or less immune to body image issues. 

If the girl wanted it (and I assume she did, or they wouldn't have bought it), let her have it.  Don't make it a big issue one way or the other.  The average teenaged girl is going to want to at least dabble in some make up.  Teen girls are pretty big on the conformity thing, and make up isn't a hill to die for.  Denying it or declaring it to be the devil -- to a girl who wants it -- can be just as damaging as pushing it.

"Letting her have it" is very different from buying it for her. 

sheepstache

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #72 on: July 27, 2015, 11:23:48 AM »
I tend to agree more with CommonCents because I don't wear make-up myself. I would argue that teenage girls are more likely to think make-up is a necessity if the adults around her treat it like a necessity. And buying it for her on the same trip as a lot of other necessities like clothes and bedding (albeit possibly luxurious variants of such) is one way to do that.

However, I could see a case made for buying make-up. For example if she wears it already but wears it badly, I could see taking her to Clinique or something so they can show her how to wear it tastefully and buying her some nice quality stuff. If she's going to be the type of person to wear make-up, learning how to do it properly will pay dividends.

BTDretire

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #73 on: July 31, 2015, 01:59:50 PM »
I tend to agree more with CommonCents because I don't wear make-up myself.
snip: learning how to do it properly will pay dividends.


 Amy Shumers comment on makeup in a short video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyeTJVU4wVo
Love Amy Shumer!
             

Josiecat

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #74 on: July 31, 2015, 07:06:55 PM »
Ha ha to the makeup video.  That was awesome.

Mrs. Crackin' the Whip

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #75 on: August 01, 2015, 11:36:43 AM »
Wow that's sad!  I know you took the niece shopping out of pure love and wanting to do something nice.  That's awesome.  That being said you have no further obligations.  My rule of thumb is I don't let other people spend my money.  We have had money requests from one side of our family.  Um, no.  It's also true they didn't speak to us for at least 6 months!  Don't feel obligated regardless of why they need money.  It's their responsibility, not yours.  This is true no matter how much money you have and they don't.  We personally have never asked anyone for anything and we don't give anyone anything. 

szmaine

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #76 on: August 03, 2015, 01:10:16 PM »
Now I don't think for a moment there's anything wrong with this child other than her mom wanted her to be classified as such in order to qualify for special money and support. The kid seems bright and of average intelligence. She has, however, been in an absolutely stunted environment for 17 years. TV on all the time. Little travel. No books or libraries. Etc.
Just a thought: have you considered taking her on a short vacation? First, its generally better to spend money on experiences than on things (also, it's not so obvious how much you spent). Second, you can use that time to show her the virtues of non-electronic pastime activities or explain the world to her (be it about science, careers, or finance). 17 might be a bit late for that, though.

I don't want to take on the expense and responsibility of bringing a minor child on a vacation. That's way more money, risk, and attention than I can give, and I'm not looking to undo 17 years of poor upbringing. I don't want that level of involvement. It would only mean more family mooching, lack of appreciation and general resentment.

When we finished a day of shopping, we barely got a thank you and the teen complained afterwards that we "walked too fast." In short, this is not a high tempo kid used to hiking, exploring, learning, etc. Taking her away from television and the Internet is probably a bad idea. She doesn't know food beyond something in a wrapper with a logo and a cartoon character. She ordered filet mignon when we went out to eat (most expensive thing on the menu!), but then complained about having to cut it herself.

She's not learning disabled, but she is quite stunted.

Is the sibling with autism a biological sibling? Because what you describe here is just the kind of behavior I'd expect from someone on the autistic spectrum - ie asperger's/pdd-nos. They can be quite intelligent but very clueless about such things as you mention. It does run in families sometime and especially with girls it can be hard to see. My 17yo daughter has asperger's and does/says things of a similar nature..it requires constant explaining not shaming. It IS a learning disability.

ps: sounds to me that your views on the situation might be pretty skewed....the sister never asked for you to pay for anything until you decided to spend (way too much) money on the daughter. You caused the problem....the sister hasn't been a $ problem for you until you did that. I feel kind of bad for her that she has what sounds like a very difficult situation (3 special needs kids) that you (0 kids) can't understand and are judging her in all kinds of ways for a situation that you created.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #77 on: August 03, 2015, 02:15:22 PM »
And I still disagree on makeup!  I got through high school w/o any makeup except that which I bought myself (and that only once when my mom suggested it and put me in front of someone selling it - I didn't seek it out), and I didn't even wear it most days.  Some - or many - teenage girls may want it, but that doesn't make it into a necessity and can actually feed into body image issues/questions.  I just wonder about the message it sends.
Good for you, but wearing make up (or not wearing make up) doesn't make you a good or bad person.  It doesn't make you any more or less immune to body image issues. 

If the girl wanted it (and I assume she did, or they wouldn't have bought it), let her have it.  Don't make it a big issue one way or the other.  The average teenaged girl is going to want to at least dabble in some make up.  Teen girls are pretty big on the conformity thing, and make up isn't a hill to die for.  Denying it or declaring it to be the devil -- to a girl who wants it -- can be just as damaging as pushing it.

I actually think it is fairly important to allow teens to dabble in makeup. I never did because I wasn't interested. I'm now 33 and have no idea how to use makeup for a normal daytime look. The only look I can do is "dance competition", which involves painting my face to look very near a clown, but glitteryer.

I don't wear makeup, but as the wrinkles and dark spots are starting to form, I feel like I probably should eventually. I can only think of one woman in my office who is "of a certain age" who doesn't wear makeup. And she looks older and frumpier than the women her same age because of it.

But then I remember what my friends looked like in junior high and high school, as they were learning to use makeup, and realize that I can't go through that stage as an adult!


Now, it is a horrible double standard that women are not allowed to look their age, and men are, and perhaps I will fight the makeup longer because of that- but I think learning to wear "daytime" makeup is an important skill for professional women. And the time you do that is through experimentation as a teen.

Shiernian

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #78 on: August 04, 2015, 02:03:41 AM »
I think you used the 900 dollar back to school spending example to show that you are already being generous to the teenage girl - and to show your good intentions, even though you didn't want to fork over the $300.

$900 is a lot, but in Southern California you can hit that amount pretty easily if you bought the quantity of items you bought. You gave her a lot of help. I understand why you didn't buy all used items - you don't want to make her feel like a poor cousin - and some of those items are unlikely to be bought used anyway.

I think showing her that her money can go farther at a thrift store could help her as well. Or handing her some money for the shopping trip and letting her budget herself and put the rest into a savings account? She might learn something from that type of experience too.

What helped me as a teen is hearing about the first jobs people had - busing tables or whatever. She might feel overwhelmed by life and that there's only two extremes: easy wealth (not understanding the hard work behind it) or poverty and being dependent on relatives. I think telling her about your steps and actions in life might teach her a lot.

I can tell you care about the family. I also see your frustration in not being able to help more. Spending time with the niece is doing her a lot of good I'm sure.  Agree with another commentator that the focus should be on the time together.

My family also sees is as well-off. And a huge reason we have more money is because we spend less. I feel really good about not relying on "economic patient outcare" from family. While your niece I'm sure does need underwear and shoes, your help might be inadvertently making her feel bad about herself and her situation? I'm not sure. She probably feels really ambivalent. It's really obvious you care about her and want to help! The situation sounds difficult.






BTDretire

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #79 on: August 05, 2015, 09:00:56 AM »

Now, it is a horrible double standard that women are not allowed to look their age, and men are, and perhaps I will fight the makeup longer because of that- but I think learning to wear "daytime" makeup is an important skill for professional women. And the time you do that is through experimentation as a teen.

 Sorry about the double standard, but if you feel it would be helpful to your success, spend a few bucks with an expert, ask them to teach you to apply make up. It's never to late for a little experimentation. Have some fun with it.

RunHappy

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #80 on: August 05, 2015, 10:43:05 AM »
And I still disagree on makeup!  I got through high school w/o any makeup except that which I bought myself (and that only once when my mom suggested it and put me in front of someone selling it - I didn't seek it out), and I didn't even wear it most days.  Some - or many - teenage girls may want it, but that doesn't make it into a necessity and can actually feed into body image issues/questions.  I just wonder about the message it sends.
Good for you, but wearing make up (or not wearing make up) doesn't make you a good or bad person.  It doesn't make you any more or less immune to body image issues. 

If the girl wanted it (and I assume she did, or they wouldn't have bought it), let her have it.  Don't make it a big issue one way or the other.  The average teenaged girl is going to want to at least dabble in some make up.  Teen girls are pretty big on the conformity thing, and make up isn't a hill to die for.  Denying it or declaring it to be the devil -- to a girl who wants it -- can be just as damaging as pushing it.

I actually think it is fairly important to allow teens to dabble in makeup. I never did because I wasn't interested. I'm now 33 and have no idea how to use makeup for a normal daytime look. The only look I can do is "dance competition", which involves painting my face to look very near a clown, but glitteryer.

I don't wear makeup, but as the wrinkles and dark spots are starting to form, I feel like I probably should eventually. I can only think of one woman in my office who is "of a certain age" who doesn't wear makeup. And she looks older and frumpier than the women her same age because of it.

Quite frankly when I was wearing make up as a teen it was more about exploration and fashion.  So I used tons of crazy colors, caked on eye liner, and techniques I would NEVER use now.

The way I view makeup now is "you+".  Meaning when you wear makeup you should still look like you, maybe just a little better.  Even skintone, eye shadow/liner to enhance (not overpower).  My day-to-day is the no makeup/makeup look.  It covers the spots I have on my face, but I don't look like I'm wearing it.  Honestly I use about 3 products (foundation, cheek/eye palette, and tinted Burt's Bees).

When I have to meet clients I might use a little more definition to match my "power suit".  If I'm doing video work or am going to a formal corporate event I will wear a little more, but everything is based on my day-to-day look.

You tube is fantastic about teaching makeup techniques.  There are several for how to apply in under 5 minutes, videos for older women, etc. 

meandmyfamily

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #81 on: August 05, 2015, 12:53:25 PM »
I think it is great that you took her shopping.  It is fine that you said no to the senior pictures.  It is your money and you use it how you want.  End of story!

golden1

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Re: Family Marks Us As Cash Source (rant)
« Reply #82 on: August 05, 2015, 01:15:02 PM »
Wow....$300 for senior pictures?  I am fairly sure I was told by my teacher that I needed to pass in a yearbook picture, so I had a friend take one of me outside and I passed it in.  But this was 1991 so maybe things are different.