When grown children ask their parents for money, it can place a significant financial strain on the parents while preventing the grown children from taking responsibility for their own finances. While it may be difficult for parents to deny help to their children, tackling the issue in a loving and supportive way can create a healthier financial future for everyone involved.
Evaluate the legitimacy of the request. Grown children may have legitimate and not-so-legitimate reasons for asking their parents for money. For example, if a child is going through a divorce, unexpectedly loses a job or becomes disabled and is unable to support himself, a parent may decide an otherwise financially responsible child has a rational reason for needing financial assistance on a short-term basis. In this instance, a short-term loan may help solve the problem and put the adult child in a better position to not request additional money in the future.
Demand accountability. If an adult child is chronically unemployed, has a substance abuse problem or has a history of making poor financial decisions, parents may be able to stop the child from asking for money by demanding accountability. This can involve insisting the child receive medical assistance, complete an educational program on financial independence or seek help for the underlying problem that leads to the poor cash flow.
Help with budgeting. An adult child may be requesting money because he does not understand how to budget for his living expenses. Suggest the child enroll in a personal finance class through a local college or university so he can learn to live within his means and budget his money.
Support training and education. If an adult child is unable to support himself because he doesn’t have the credentials or knowledge to find a job with a decent wage, recommend or support going back to school or getting specialized vocational training. This can position the child to be self-sufficient and stop asking for money.
Set limits. If you decide to make a short-term loan or provide financial support to your adult child, set a time limit for when the support will end. This will put him on notice that he must develop his own financial support system within your stated time parameters.
Be honest about your finances and limitations. Adult children may not understand the financial strain their requests are putting on you. Be honest in telling your child that you are not financially able to provide money that is earmarked for your own living expenses.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.