You owe me, mom and dad

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LIFE - An­nie Lane Dear An­nie

My hus­band and I have two chil­dren, one adopted at birth and the other born to us later. Our adopted child never at­tended col­lege be­cause of un­for­tu­nate choices he made in his teens. Trou­ble with the law fol­lowed, but he was able to pick up a GED while in­car­cer­ated.

Our sec­ond child had no prob­lems grow­ing up and so was on track to at­tend col­lege — which we paid for, ex­cept for a Stafford loan she ap­plied for each year. Our son has come through his early trou­bles (we never aban­doned him) and has his own man­ual la­bor busi­ness.

Now to our prob­lem: Do we owe both chil­dren money to launch them on their ca­reers?

Our son be­lieves we owe him money now to help him build up his busi­ness, as his sis­ter re­ceived an ed­u­ca­tion (some years ago) to help her in her pro­fes­sional life. I’m not sure what’s go­ing on, but he went on a tirade re­cently, cas­ti­gat­ing us for over­look­ing his needs, etc., and ask­ing why he was adopted, say­ing he would have done bet­ter with his nat­u­ral par­ents. We are now many years past be­ing able to help him sub­stan­tially in his busi­ness needs, as my hus­band and I have been re­tired for about nine years and live on a fixed in­come. — Mom and Dad

Just be­cause you helped your daugh­ter through col­lege does not mean you retroac­tively “owe” your son an equiv­a­lent amount, and the fact that he is de­mand­ing as much makes this clear: The only thing you owe him is a fat stack of tough love.

Our job as par­ents is to do ev­ery­thing we can to sup­port our chil­dren and give them strong foun­da­tions while they’re un­der our care. It sounds as if you did as much of that as you could.

And now he is try­ing ev­ery tech­nique in the guilt trip­per’s hand­book to push your but­tons and get what he wants. It’s ma­nip­u­la­tive and self­ish. To fold would only re­in­force this at­ti­tude.

Your son is an adult now, and he has the abil­ity to make money and ap­ply for loans on his own. It’s time to help him spread his wings, whether he wants to or not.

We live in a very pop­u­lar neigh­bor­hood for trick-or-treaters. One year, I even saw a bus un­load a bunch of kids onto our street so they could trick-or-treat here. My hus­band and I go to Costco and get two huge bags of candy for all the kids. We al­ways en­joy see­ing all of the neat cos­tumes, but this year was a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. We have a new­born baby. We took him out to visit some houses around 5 p.m., but as I’m sure you know, sleep is very im­por­tant to a new baby, so we had him in bed around 7.

The prob­lem is that peo­ple con­tin­ued to ring our bell well past 8 o’clock. We didn’t want to be rude and put the house to­tally dark, so we kept giv­ing out candy un­til we ran out, but we paid for it the next day, as our baby’s sleep sched­ule was all thrown off from wak­ing up with the com­mo­tion. What can we do to avoid this next year?

— Sleep-Deprived

You are so right that sleep is very im­por­tant to a new­born baby. Re­spect­ing his and your sched­ule should take prece­dence over not want­ing to up­set some trick-or­treaters. There’s noth­ing wrong with set­ting a “lights off” time of 7 p.m. next year. You could al­ways leave a note on your front door say­ing “out of candy.” Bet­ter to deny the neigh­bor­hood kids some treats than your son his sleep.

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