Preferring one child over another?

Hi everybody,
I work at a Catholic University in ny and I get free tuition for my 2 eldest who would start next year. They don’t care where they go to college because they don’t know yet the weight of a college loan.

We planned me working there for the free tuition years ago. Fast forward 5 years and the baby is born, possibly my last baby (I’m 44) and the last CAF post I made some time ago regarding this everyone made me feel great because they supported my husband and mine new plan of moving to an affordable home away from the city so I can finally say home and raise this baby. (My greatest desire since my first child 20 years ago was to be a stay at home mother).

Well my son just returned from the military and is struggling to find work and is talking about taking college now (he’s Reserves so the military pays only partial) and all of a sudden it hit me that I’m being selfish only thinking about wanting to care full time for the baby when these older kids need my help too.

My husband (who I’m trying to let lead…it’s difficult as he even leans on me for decision making…said to me once “we have to think about them too”)

I’ll be honest, I’m so sick and tired of having worked and going outside to work away from my kids to a secular culture I just want to raise this baby.

I sense I’m not thinking clearly and appreciate levelheaded insight. When I mentioned this to my husband last night he said “Yeah maybe we should reconsider maybe they should go a year”. Well that was a shock because for the past year we were saving and planning for me to finally stay home.

I will be praying hard, frankly I’m just numb from exhaustion, not physical but the exhaustion of 20 years taking care and sacrificing and the one chance I thought I had to finally stay home I realized I may be doing a disservice to my other older children.
Thank you all for your advice.
edit- older kids ages are 19 and 17

The older children, in my humble opinion, need to fend for themselves. I would not step in to save them from the inevitable. They have to start earning money themselves. Perhaps your son could work as a fireman. Perhaps he needs to find work in another city. That’s for him to decide. In no way is staying home to raise a baby a selfish thing to do.


Doesn’t your son have educational benefits from having served? My son does and can not only attend college, but get money to pay his rent.


Something I remember from college - there are a ton of scholarship opportunities that go unclaimed because they are only for a thousand dollars or so. No one ever applies for them because they aren’t full ride, but getting a couple of those with a part time job can really help out.


Please, do not think you must foot the entire bill, or any part of the bill for your children to attend college. Yeah, it’s nice if you can do it, but if “all” you are able to do is allow them to live at home while they attend college, you are contributing. They can get part time jobs to get extra money. You did your job as a parent. Don’t put this burden on yourself when you still have a baby to look after!


An adult child is exactly that, an adult.

Your son is a grown man. You may choose to give him support by allowing him to live rent-free in your home, it does not mean you support his every expense.

Since you work at the Uni, can he just start Uni now between your employee discount and military supplement?

Honestly, fretting about what is going to happen 2 - 5 years down the road is not helpful. A million things can change. Give it to God.


Thanks so much❤️

1 Like

I forgot to mention my older kids are 19 and 17 if that makes any difference, does it actually? They’re teens.

1 Like

thanks he didn’t qualify to attend straight away, the admissions department said he needs to do a semester at a community college and then reapply. By then we would have moved, God willing. He’s 19 years old

They are 17 and 19, I think they’re grown kids right? I ask honestly.

Thank you Lara, they are 19 and 17 years old, I don’t know if that makes a difference but I wanted to add that thank you

Thank you. We are looking into him taking the test to be an apprentice in the electricians union, and he will take the test to see if he qualifies, but he’s gung hi about doing computer certifications because he says it’s good money too. But that requires college. This union apprenticeship if he gets it, to me, is a great step.

Oh wow! My son is Reserves and his college help is partial , which we still appreciate very much, his friend is active and gets full college.

Yes, my son served 4 years, it’s full. Maybe your son would consider enlisting full time?

1 Like

Maybe he might in the future but he’s so happy he just returned home a few weeks ago :blush:

1 Like

Your son in the Army Reserves is a grown man who has been living independently during his time in the military. He should be able to plan his life from here on out without needing to send his mother out to work to pay for it.

Your other child is 17 and while they might still need a little help getting launched, it shouldn’t be the kind of help that would need you to take on a full-time job when you have a baby at home.

If your kids were 12 or 13 I might understand, but one is an adult and the other is nearly an adult, and it’s time they took more responsibility for themselves. In previous generations, they would have been helping to contribute to pay for the raising of the younger sibling.


Mainly, it’s nice to see resourceful children who come up with ideas of their own. Nowadays, because there are fewer children in the family, perhaps, it seems parents want to give their children answers to help set them up. But I think it’s better to give them questions.

It’s lovely if you can provide them with room and board. But everything else could be on them. They need to feel the need for money themselves. Then they will change as needed to come up with money. They can earn for college themselves. For instance, your son could help people who don’t understand their computer get it going again for a low price. This could take several hours at each person’s house.
Plus, many computer courses are offered in the evening.


This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit