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  #1  
Old Jul 24, '08, 8:41 pm
paulines paulines is offline
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Default How do I help my parents stop enabling my brother? He's 43 years old


Okay, I need advice. I just found out, my parents are giving my brother $1400 a month for rent. He has 3 kids and a wife. They are all healthy and able-bodied. What's the problem? I don't know, I need to intervene.

My parents are 80 years old. I have told them in the past to stop giving my brother money. I have given him money too, but it stopped after about the first $600. I can't remember because that's when my niece was in preschool and he needed the money to pay for it. I gave it to him and then he asked me again. I told him to have his wife stay home and watch my niece. I also said if he can't afford that, then he needs to bring all 3 kids to my house and I will provide for them until such time that he and his wife can provide for their family.

Well, it's about 8 years later and they never asked me for anything but I guess they just burdened my mom and dad more. I asked my parents "why do you give them money?" Their reply was that they didn't want the grandkids to suffer. But, instead, my parents have taken out a reverse mortgage just to give my brother money every month.

They should be enjoying their retirement. I'm afraid that they are just so deep into this that they have just programmed themselves to the end. I am the executor of their will. But they still won't listen to me.

I need to do a tough love with my brother. So, any advice before I take him on would be appreciated. He's not a hateful or harmful person. But, he has just always asked and my parents never said no. HELP.
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  #2  
Old Jul 24, '08, 10:32 pm
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Ana Ana is offline
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Default Re: How do I help my parents stop enabling my brother? He's 43 years old

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulines View Post
Okay, I need advice. I just found out, my parents are giving my brother $1400 a month for rent. He has 3 kids and a wife. They are all healthy and able-bodied. What's the problem? I don't know, I need to intervene.
If they are lucid and of sound mind, there is nothing you can do. Since the kids are healthy, are they supposed to be working too?
Quote:
My parents are 80 years old. I have told them in the past to stop giving my brother money.
Do you frequently "tell your parents what to do?"

Quote:
I told him to have his wife stay home and watch my niece. I also said if he can't afford that, then he needs to bring all 3 kids to my house and I will provide for them until such time that he and his wife can provide for their family.
You seem to TELL people what to do a lot. That may be why you make so little headway.

Quote:
Well, it's about 8 years later and they never asked me for anything
I guess not with your rude reply that he send his children to live with you. A simple "no" would do without the self rightous and haughty attitude. But you got what you want, he doesn't ask you for money.


Quote:
but I guess they just burdened my mom and dad more. I asked my parents "why do you give them money?" Their reply was that they didn't want the grandkids to suffer. But, instead, my parents have taken out a reverse mortgage just to give my brother money every month.
Not, what I would do, or you obviously, but they are within their rights to make seemingly unwise choices. Free will, you know.
Quote:
They should be enjoying their retirement. I'm afraid that they are just so deep into this that they have just programmed themselves to the end. I am the executor of their will. But they still won't listen to me.
That's because they are not dead yet.
Quote:
I need to do a tough love with my brother. So, any advice before I take him on would be appreciated. He's not a hateful or harmful person. But, he has just always asked and my parents never said no. HELP.
He's not hateful or harmful, then maybe try talking to him instead of telling and insulting.

You seem like you probably have good intentions, but your forceful personality gets in the way.

ETA: I see this is your 2nd post. I don't want you to think I am being rude. I actually do sympathize with your situation. My parents work hard and struggle to support my 31 yr old brother, who delivers pizzas and lays on the couch all day. it is infuriating. BUT, there are also parenting decisions I make that they are not in agreement with. They respect my right to make these choices, whether they agree or not, and I respect theirs. It does not stop me from sharing my opinion though.
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  #3  
Old Jul 25, '08, 12:30 am
paulines paulines is offline
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Default Re: How do I help my parents stop enabling my brother? He's 43 years old

Thanks for the reply.

I probably do come off as rude because I TELL people but only after I am ASKED. I don't just walk in and give my opinion to others. But I guess because you don't know me, you are assuming my personality is as such. I came to this forum to get advice not analyzed.

My mom told me today that they are giving my brother and sister in law the money after I asked "how is my brother doing?" I didn't TELL her anything today after she made that comment but I did ASK how long have you guys been giving him money? And she said since last year. Then she said,"I don't know," with kind of despair in her voice. I'm sure if your mom had that same sigh, you would feel compelled to help her too. My mom and dad are in so deep that they probably think they can never get out of it.

So, I haven't told her anything but I just listened. But I know I have to do something. I just thought that someone else out there had a similar situation and maybe some ideas on how I should protect my mom and dad from their own child abusing them with their ungratefulness. That's all. Hopefully, you have more background to go on than think that I am just person with a rant. Thanks.

p.s. I don't " frequently tell " my parents to do anything. I told them to stop giving my brother money once or twice 8 years ago and have not mentioned it until today. On this forum.
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  #4  
Old Jul 25, '08, 12:58 am
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Default Re: How do I help my parents stop enabling my brother? He's 43 years old

[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulines View Post
I probably do come off as rude because I TELL people but only after I am ASKED. I don't just walk in and give my opinion to others.
Telling someone your opinion after you are asked for it, or even unasked, is diffferent than telling someone what to do.

Quote:
But I guess because you don't know me, you are assuming my personality is as such. I came to this forum to get advice not analyzed.
Hopefully, someone else will reply and give you more of what your looking for.



Quote:
My mom told me today that they are giving my brother and sister in law the money after I asked "how is my brother doing?" I didn't TELL her anything today after she made that comment but I did ASK how long have you guys been giving him money? And she said since last year. Then she said,"I don't know," with kind of despair in her voice. I'm sure if your mom had that same sigh, you would feel compelled to help her too. My mom and dad are in so deep that they probably think they can never get out of it.
I was not trying to imply that your parents and your brother's situation is healthy or functional. Just pointing out that however much you don't like it, other than suggesting to your parents and talking with your brother, there really is little you can do. Unless, of course your parents are not of sound mind and are incapable of making their own decisions.
Assuming they are, your parents have the right to do what they wish with their money, even if it's unwise.


Quote:
So, I haven't told her anything but I just listened. But I know I have to do something. I just thought that someone else out there had a similar situation and maybe some ideas on how I should protect my mom and dad from their own child abusing them with their ungratefulness. That's all. Hopefully, you have more background to go on than think that I am just person with a rant. Thanks.
I don't know. My tactic is to complain about my brother to my parents and to encourage him to get a life. Sometimes, if I get my mom riled up enough, she will lean on him a little harder and he'll start showing some sign's of life. It's usually only temporary though. What he really needs is deliverance from slothfullness and procrastination.

Ultimately, I have had to learn to detach and give my parents the same respect that they give me. The right to make my own decisions, even if they don't agree.

If your mom's sigh sounded like an invitation to discuss it further, perhaps some suggestions and roleplaying future situations may help provide them with some tools to SAY NO to begger boy.


Quote:
p.s. I don't " frequently tell " my parents to do anything. I told them to stop giving my brother money once or twice 8 years ago and have not mentioned it until today. On this forum.
I bring it up with my mom at least once a week.
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  #5  
Old Jul 25, '08, 6:39 am
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Belle10 Belle10 is offline
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Default Re: How do I help my parents stop enabling my brother? He's 43 years old

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulines View Post
Okay, I need advice. I just found out, my parents are giving my brother $1400 a month for rent. He has 3 kids and a wife. They are all healthy and able-bodied. What's the problem? I don't know, I need to intervene.
Do your brother and his wife work? While that sounds like a lot of money your parents are giving them monthly (especially if it's over and over and over), if they are working and simply cannot find a way to make it, then your parents are doing the kind, compassionate thing in helping them. If your brother and his wife are being lazy, not working, using the money for cable and/or other unnecessary things, that's another story.

My DH and I have had to borrow money from our parents in recent years to make ends meet -- and we were both working at the time and not using it for frivolous shopping sprees. DH has been out of work for awhile now and is trying so hard everyday to find a job, but nothing yet (despite his college education). We might have to ask for yet another loan soon....... so while I understand your frustration, things might not always be what they seem. I guess without more detail from you on the exact situation it's hard to offer advice, you know?
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  #6  
Old Jul 25, '08, 6:48 am
BlessedMomof2 BlessedMomof2 is offline
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Default Re: How do I help my parents stop enabling my brother? He's 43 years old

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulines View Post
Okay, I need advice. I just found out, my parents are giving my brother $1400 a month for rent. He has 3 kids and a wife. They are all healthy and able-bodied. What's the problem? I don't know, I need to intervene.

My parents are 80 years old. I have told them in the past to stop giving my brother money. I have given him money too, but it stopped after about the first $600. I can't remember because that's when my niece was in preschool and he needed the money to pay for it. I gave it to him and then he asked me again. I told him to have his wife stay home and watch my niece. I also said if he can't afford that, then he needs to bring all 3 kids to my house and I will provide for them until such time that he and his wife can provide for their family.

Well, it's about 8 years later and they never asked me for anything but I guess they just burdened my mom and dad more. I asked my parents "why do you give them money?" Their reply was that they didn't want the grandkids to suffer. But, instead, my parents have taken out a reverse mortgage just to give my brother money every month.

They should be enjoying their retirement. I'm afraid that they are just so deep into this that they have just programmed themselves to the end. I am the executor of their will. But they still won't listen to me.

I need to do a tough love with my brother. So, any advice before I take him on would be appreciated. He's not a hateful or harmful person. But, he has just always asked and my parents never said no. HELP.
My opinion - if it's not effecting you in any way, then let it go. It's none of your business what they do with their money as long as they are of sound mind. They know what they're doing. Helping your brother, even if they complain about it, gives them some sort of pleasure or they wouldn't continue to do it.

I would simply step back and don't' entangle yourself in this situation.
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  #7  
Old Jul 25, '08, 6:57 am
redtech redtech is offline
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Default Re: How do I help my parents stop enabling my brother? He's 43 years old

I had to ask my mom for a couple thousand to get out of a credit card problem. I tried to start paying her back this week and she said she wouldn't take it. I feel like a BUM! I feel like a failure. I hate borrowing money. She and Dad have set up college accounts for the kids so I told her to put the money in there and she agreed. I'm GOING to pay her back, if she keeps it or puts it towards my kids college is her own business. (and yes, we do otherwise give them money to put in the kids college fund. We don't expect them to send our kids to college)

I just can't understand how a 43 year old would feel good accepting money from his elderly parents? What's he going to do when they're gone? He needs to start being a grown up NOW!
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  #8  
Old Jul 25, '08, 7:58 am
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SwizzleStick SwizzleStick is offline
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Default Re: How do I help my parents stop enabling my brother? He's 43 years old

Quote:
Originally Posted by redtech View Post
...I just can't understand how a 43 year old would feel good accepting money from his elderly parents? What's he going to do when they're gone? He needs to start being a grown up NOW!
This is probably more common than you would think. I have a 42 year-old relative who still regularly relies on his 79 year-old widowed mother to help him out financially. She gives him money several times a year (and has for years), a few hundred bucks here, a few hundred bucks there, money at Christmastime to help him out, money when his paycheck just doesn't cover his needs, money when he has visitation with his kids. He also relies on others to help him fly or drive his kids to see him and then watch/help with them when he has visitation. He does not have a vehicle or drivers' license for several reasons, so he needs help seeing them. Without the help, he likely would not see them twice a year. As long as others are willing to give it and enable his behavior, I'm sure he will be willing to accept help. He does work, but will likely always need help financially. At least he pays his child support.

He owes us several thousand that we will never see. He owes others money too. I don't know what he will do once his mother is gone.

Last edited by SwizzleStick; Jul 25, '08 at 8:15 am. Reason: Addition
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  #9  
Old Jul 25, '08, 8:09 am
danimay danimay is offline
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Default Re: How do I help my parents stop enabling my brother? He's 43 years old

To the original poster...You aren't my sister, are you? LOL. Couldn't be...my brother is 28 and has 4 kids and my mom is 60 and a widow.

Sad situation and all too common. I don't know what to do. Some people are just users. My brother has "borrowed" $70, 000 total from my mom over the last 5-6 years...he will never pay back a cent of that money. He will keep on until he sucks her dry. He doesn't care how it will change her future and he won't be there for her when her money runs out. He is asking to move in with her now, as she won't pay his rent (can't anymore) and he has to be out of his house by the end of the month. He wants her to make my 17 year old sister share a room with my mom to make room for his family of 6 to move into their house. Craziness. She let them stay with her a couple of years back. They didn't buy any groceries, pay any electricity or water bills, didn't even help with the housework...nothing..and they are a family of 6! They were going to stay a couple of months to save up for a down payment on a house. Ended up staying 10 months in my moms room. My mom slept on the couch for 10 month! When they finally moved out, they literally hadn't saved a penny. My mom went and rented them a house and paid to have everything turned on and paid rent for the first many months just to get them out of her house. Now they want to come back!

Even more sad. My mom had to change the locks on her doors to keep them from taking her groceries. Stuff was always disappearing...like the pork chops she was defrosting for supper...she'd get home and they would be gone...and he wouldn't admit he was taking it. I have been at his house when he came back from my moms with bags full of her groceries. Lame...Sad....

Maybe it will make you feel better to realize it could be worse.
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  #10  
Old Jul 25, '08, 8:17 am
KCT KCT is offline
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Default Re: How do I help my parents stop enabling my brother? He's 43 years old

If you have a good relationship w/ your parents you can tell them it bothers you that your brother is taking advantage and that they seem to be enabling him. After that, let it go.
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Old Jul 25, '08, 8:25 am
BlestOne BlestOne is offline
 
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Default Re: How do I help my parents stop enabling my brother? He's 43 years old

I feel for you! I see alot of parents that use their kids to get sympathy and money from aging parents and even friends. My advice is to take a good look at it... and make note of what it is that bothers you about it... is it just the $1400 or is it more? Most of the time it is more... the money, the babysitting, the grocery shopping for them...etc. Once you take an inventory of the situation it is really easier to see the whole picture. If both your brother and his wife are able to work, are they? If they are, is there a reason they need the money? What about their kids? Are they old enough to at least be working for spending money? Next find out what mom and dad get in exchange... this is key! Some grandparents fear getting cut off from grand kids if they don't provide or pay up. Does your brother or his wife drive them around on errands? they may fear that nobody will be there for them. There is usually some sort of emotional blackmail going on whether it involves the grand kids or is about a past situation.

Then after getting an idea of the whole picture maybe a concerned talk with mom and dad would be in order. Do they realize how much they are giving? Do they think this will help your brother learn to live within his means or motivate him to work harder? Always approach it from the standpoint that this is not good for your brother in the long term....
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Old Jul 25, '08, 8:25 am
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Fran65 Fran65 is offline
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Default Re: How do I help my parents stop enabling my brother? He's 43 years old

paulines,
Using the term enabling suggests to me that you know that the underlying dynamic between your parents and brother is dsyfunctional. Its a term used when discussing 'codependency' which you may or may not have heard of. Its very interesting, but what is relevant is that by becoming aware of what is going on you have a choice - either to continue to be involved and be upset or to allow your parents to make their own decisions.
There are two suggestions I would make, ask your Mom if its a problem and if they would like your help to sort it out, but be clear what the boundaries are - reading about codependency will help you to do this.
The second suggestion and this may the only way - hand it over to God and pray for them. That's where I am with my parents and my sister. I'm not involved at all after years of upset over similar issues, but still have a good relationship having established that we just don't go there - talking about my sister and their financial decisions I mean.
Its really hard, but you are not alone in this.
God bless
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Old Jul 25, '08, 8:32 am
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Default Re: How do I help my parents stop enabling my brother? He's 43 years old

Some neighbors of ours were doing that, as well - the wife's father was giving them money every month, and that money was what they were living on. They are in their fifties.

Well, he recently died, and boy, are they ever having to grow up now! They can't touch the money in the estate for at least one year, because of various legal things that have to happen first. So, they are without any income at the moment, and they have a fairly middle class lifestyle that they are trying to support. Suddenly, they can't just play at having a home business, any more - they have to actually get out there and start knocking on doors to get business. It's quite a shock to their systems.

Also, because of the fact that he had been supporting them all these years, there isn't as much money in the estate as they were expecting - so they really are going to have to start supporting themselves for the long term, now.

I guess my point is, eventually, the problem is going to solve itself. And since they have reverse-mortgaged the house, your job as executor of the will is going to be really easy - all you have to do is empty the house of the effects, have a yard sale, and use the cash, plus any money remaining in their bank accounts, to pay for the funeral, and then you're done. The bank will take the house; you won't have to deal with any of that, and there isn't going to be any estate to deal with, because your brother will have emptied it out.
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Old Jul 25, '08, 8:42 am
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Default Re: How do I help my parents stop enabling my brother? He's 43 years old

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And since they have reverse-mortgaged the house, your job as executor of the will is going to be really easy - all you have to do is empty the house of the effects, have a yard sale, and use the cash, plus any money remaining in their bank accounts, to pay for the funeral, and then you're done. The bank will take the house; you won't have to deal with any of that, and there isn't going to be any estate to deal with, because your brother will have emptied it out.
That's where we will be with my parents - as you say, fairly straigtforward.

Karen
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Old Jul 25, '08, 9:10 am
Monicad Monicad is offline
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Default Re: How do I help my parents stop enabling my brother? He's 43 years old

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Originally Posted by paulines View Post
...I have told them in the past to stop giving my brother money....

.. But they still won't listen to me.

...But, he has just always asked and my parents never said no. HELP.
Hello, sending you prayers for this frustrating situation.

There is nothing you can do but I think you already knew that. You have already told your parents to stop, they won't listen to you. I think you already know that they won't listen to you if you tell them again but you came here for hope to change things...sadly this hope will only come from God and from prayers.

You can talk to your brother too but I think you know that won't make a difference. I think you are hoping for some magic words to say to your family that will change everything. Why should he listen to you when his parents are willing to help? Do you imagine you will have a talk with your brother and suddenly he will say "Sis, your're right! It's time to get a job and stop going to mom and dad for money! Thanks for telling me I never knew!" I think you know that probably won't happen.

Focus on your life and pray for peace for yourself. How often does this situation frustrate and anger you? How often do you talk about this frustration with your husband or friends? How much time do you spend worrying? That is where your focus must be...you must do your best to let go of this. Let go of this and pray...the same way that Christ has to let go of sinners. He can call us, he can tell us the right way but in the end he lets us make our own decisions.

This will be very difficult and painful for you to do. Remember, above all that your brother needs your sympathy more then your irritation. He is not living honestly and has not developed a good moral character...that is something to feel sorry for.

God bless you, hope this helps a little. Glad you found this internet forum! Take care as best as you can.
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