The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday

I blame myself for spoiling my daughter after my wealthy parents died


Growing up, I didn’t realise that my parents were rich. We had a lovely home and holidays, but I went to the local school and did chores for my pocket money. While my parents were generous, they were careful. If I wanted something, they would help me if I saved for it, from a Barbie castle to my first (very old) car. Although an only child, I was never spoiled.

I wish I could say the same about my daughter, though I blame myself.

My mum died suddenly nine years ago and my dad lost all interest in life and died just a year after her. I was derailed by grief and it was a double shock to realise how much money they’d left me – I had absolutely no idea how wealthy they were.

My husband and I have good jobs and were reasonably comfortabl­y off, but this was in a different league and I went a bit overboard. We bought four cars, moved to a mansion and I went designer mad. My husband was delighted to have some financial freedom and a great car, but that was it. Our son was much the same: he was just finishing school and took it all in his stride, enjoying being at university without having to take out any loans. Now at 26 he has an excellent job and seems to really enjoy life – he works hard, has a lovely girlfriend and a close circle of friends. We recently helped buy him a flat. We offered to pay for it but he just wanted a boost up the property ladder, so he has a mortgage and is busy redecorati­ng.

Our daughter was 13 when we moved house and was keen to change to a private school, which wasn’t an issue. But she’s now 21 and just obsessed by money. I gave up excess spending years ago, and my husband and I love our jobs, but our daughter has no qualificat­ions and seems to have no interest in getting any. She says that she is an “influencer” – she has 3,000 followers on social media – and spends most of her time posting images of herself and everything she has on Instagram, from the Range Rover we bought her to her collection of designer handbags. She wants to be a designer and wants us to fund her to start a business, but I honestly feel if she had any artistic talent she’d have shown it in school.

She’s never worked and I hate the cosmetic treatments our money goes on – her face is Botoxed and she has those dreadful ducklips. My husband says she’ll grow out of that, but I’m not convinced. I’m worried she will never be happy, despite all the cash: she’s a chronic malcontent and takes responsibi­lity for nothing. I wish I had been the same as my own parents and careful not to spoil her, but she and her brother were treated the same and they’ve turned out so differentl­y.

She is now pestering us to buy her a flat, but I feel I have to repair some of the damage I’ve done or she’ll never be happy. I told her that if she goes to college and gets a part time job we’d discuss helping her start a business and she accused me of hating her and being selfish, but I’m not giving in. It’s my fault she’s so materialis­tic and lazy, though my husband says I’m overreacti­ng and she has her good points. I think that’s just wishful thinking. It’s far harder to be a good parent than a bad one and I feel that I did the damage, so I need to sort it.

She and her brother were treated the same and they’ve turned out so differentl­y

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