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(39 Posts)
Lynker Fri 07-Jun-19 16:50:32

We have 4 adult children between us. Two are married working hard and doing well. One is divorced, but doing well. The other one is a single parent, has 3 children, works only 16 hours a week and claims benefits. They are struggling financially. If you help one out, do you think you should give equally to the other three? Has anyone else had a similar situation? Any advice gratefully received.

Nonnie Fri 07-Jun-19 17:05:47

We helped one more than the others and put a Letter of Wishes with our wills asking them all to take it into account when we die. This works for us as we are a very close family but for many others it would cause conflict.

Bridgeit Fri 07-Jun-19 17:14:58

That’s a brilliant idea Nonnie.
Lynsey I think I would go one step further than Nonnie & tell them all face to face, the one who is struggling will then know not to expect too much later on, hopefully realising how lucky she is to have you help, but knowing that she can’t have it twice so to speak.

janeainsworth Fri 07-Jun-19 17:17:45

We always give them the same.
You never know what’s round the corner, and the ones who are ok now may not be, in the future.

HildaW Fri 07-Jun-19 17:33:42

We help out for specific needs - so there is no actual equality per se. Three different families in three quite different situations but all trying their best. When there has been a real problem we have helped. The others will know we are helping without any real specifics (unless they communicate to each other - its their business after all) but there will always be the certain knowledge that if its needed we will help if we can.
I think we are very lucky that despite varying circumstances all three are hardworking, independent minded, understand the value of money, will try their very best to solve their own problems but know if there is a real fix we will help. This has been the situation for over 15 years and there has never been any sense that anyone feels hard done by.

Nonnie Fri 07-Jun-19 17:37:26

Bridgeit we did that too. As children they were never treated the same because their needs were different so I think they grew up understanding. There was no resentment about the one getting more because they all realised he needed it. We are so lucky that we don't have competition between them, they are each supporters of the others.

jane in our case if the others needed something more in the future we would help them more too. Now that they are all settled I think they would help us out too if we needed it. They have all had the help they needed to gain the future they wanted and help with buying their homes. I think it helps that we have always been open about money.

cornergran Fri 07-Jun-19 17:52:42

Historically we have ensured our two had the same. So when we helped with a wedding the other one had an equivalent amount. Recently it has been necessary to provide a, for us, considerably amount of financial support to one. It was openly discussed and agreed that it was both necessary and the right thing to do. There is a schedule kept with our copy of our wills intended to show any future repayment and stating clearly what had not been repaid is to be deducted from any future inheritance. We can’t afford to give both the same substantial amount, wish we could. This was the fairest we could be. As with so many family issues it’s individual to the family. The important thing for us was openness and clarity.

Septimia Fri 07-Jun-19 17:56:16

We only have one child, so no problem for us. However, my friend has two sons; one is doing well and needs no help, the other has struggled from time to time. If my friend has to help the second son she always gives the first the same amount.

DinaLK Sat 08-Jun-19 00:27:11

We have three adult children. We have been blessed to be able to help each one at different times financially. If we provided for the other two evenly during the one who is currently in need, we would go broke. So, we do what we can at the time the need is present. All three fully understand their own situations are different and require a different amount of finances for assistance. No heart-aches from anyone.

Buffybee Sat 08-Jun-19 02:26:17

My daughter went back to University to train in a different professional sphere.
After a couple of years it became apparent that they were struggling financially, with three children and were talking of selling their house and renting, so I stepped in and paid their mortgage until she graduated.
My Son was aware of this and agreed at the time that it was the right thing for me to do for his Sister.
I think he might have been a little bit miffed though but "swings and roundabouts", five years later he became ill and unable to work, so I did the same for twelve months for him and his family, not just mortgage but more or less everything.
When everything got on an even keel again, he told me how grateful he was and I told him, it was nothing, we are a family and if one of us are floundering the others will step in and do whatever they possibly can.
He said, "I know Mum", with tears in his eyes.
My goodness!
That is all it is about, at the end of the day.

BradfordLass72 Sat 08-Jun-19 04:41:25

Help the ones who need it now. You never know the future, the others may fall on hard times; then you can help them too.

The other one is a single parent, has 3 children, works only 16 hours a week and claims benefits

She's doing amazingly well. Life isn't easy, in any sense for solo parents who get such a bad and usually unjust press for claiming benefits.

I had such a struggle even with two boys and wasn't entitled to much benefit as my husband was at home but too sick to work. Not that the authorities cared too hoots about that.

Be careful how you help though because unless things have changed drastically in the UK (and I live in hope), any monetary contributions, even from parents, has to be declared. Then its deducted from benefit.

When I lived in Cornwall I worked in a wholefood-health shop. I was paid no wage but could take bread, lentils, fruit etc. The DHSS made me add up the value - then they took it off my benefit.

Nansnet Sat 08-Jun-19 06:55:14

In the past, we've helped out both our son and daughter. As long as we can afford it, we'll help them if need be, but we don't then give the other one the same, as you never know if/when they may need help themselves in the future. We can't afford to give out to both of them, when only one needs help, and they understand that. They'll both get an equal share of inheritance when we're gone, regardless of the fact that one may have had more help than the other ... we don't keep tabs on how much. Although, if one of them needed a very large amount, then of course we would take that into account, and make sure that the other had extra.

Sara65 Sat 08-Jun-19 08:01:23

We have helped one child more than the others, she works really hard, juggles goodness knows how many balls in the air with her three children and their various commitments, but it’s all been brought about by her bad choices, not once but twice!

We don’t do as much for the other two, our son is fine, our other daughter is a bit sniffy at times, but knows we’d do the same for any of them if necessary.

It’s an awkward situation , because our younger daughter was on the verge of a very good career, after a first rate education, but she threw everything away, and now her life is quite hard, but whatever she’s done, we love her, and try and ease her burden as much as possible

I think my son has also helped her out occasionally, it worries me that she’ll always be dependent on us

sodapop Sat 08-Jun-19 08:15:30

I just help as required, not always with finances but in other ways too. I have never believed in making an issue of treating children equally, sometimes one had a treat sometimes the other. I had a relative who took things to extremes even down to measuring the amount of liquid in glasses so her children didn't argue. I said I would never go down that road.

dragonfly46 Sat 08-Jun-19 08:16:43

We are like Nansnet, we give as needed. We have two children, we paid for two weddings and two house deposits. When our son was very ill we supported him but I did not give our daughter the same amount. We talked about it and she understood. She knows we are there if she needs us but I don’t add it all up or make provision in our wills.

Sara65 Sat 08-Jun-19 08:29:11


We never treated them the same either, and we don’t necessarily treat our grandchildren the same.

Christmas I would always try and have roughly the same amount of presents, but the value varied year to year, depending on who wanted what.

fizzers Sat 08-Jun-19 09:34:54

I always felt resentment when I was younger, I struggled finacially to raise my daughter single handed, I worked a full time job with no help from anyone, my sister on the otherhand went to my mother all of the time to bail her out of whatever difficulties she had gotten herself into - and believe me there were plenty! If I ever went to my mother in dire need I was made to feel guilty about it and I got the 'well you're in full time work, you shouldn't be struggling' whatever my sister wanted, she got, this also spread to my nieces, they used to go to my mother to bail them out too, used to make my blood boil!

harrigran Sat 08-Jun-19 11:01:57

We gave DS money for a deposit on a property when he lived in the south but did not give DD the same amount.
When DD went to live abroad we paid off her mortgage here so that she could keep the property, we did not give DS the same amout as we had already agreed that we would be paying school fees for GC.
DD has told me that she does not mind the GC getting money spent on them as it was her choice not to have children.

Nonnie Sat 08-Jun-19 11:20:19

When I look back at what we did from the age of 11 onwards it was different for each one and I couldn't go back and calculate it all. Perhaps that is why none of them mind now. One of them keeps telling us to go and spend it all now while we can still enjoy it so I don't feel there is any issue at all

quizqueen Sat 08-Jun-19 11:33:12

I have two adult daughters and treat them the same as much as I am able, albeit their circumstances are different. If, hypothetically, one had children and lived on benefits, I wouldn't 'reward' her for that choice by helping out more financially, neither would I 'punish' the other, who may have done well in her career, by not helping out as much. What message does that send out! I do help them out in different ways, as and when needed e.g. pet sitting, but financially they are both treated the same, as are their partners and all grandchildren.

Sara65 Sat 08-Jun-19 11:38:33

I wonder if your place in the family has any bearing on your level of dependency, sometimes I think my youngest daughter behaves like she’s never grown up, it’s not just about money, it’s about everything, she still thinks she’s the baby sister and the little girl

Starlady Sat 08-Jun-19 12:44:56

I agree with the "give as needed" mindset. IMO, it's ok to give the others the same amount - if you (general) can afford it - but as PPs have said, what if they really need it later? If they don't, towards the end of life, you can always "make it up" to them or in your will. Personally, if I felt a need to make it up, I would do it while still living, if I could, and let my will divide the rest equally, but that's just me. IMO, so much depends on what parents can afford and still stay solvent themselves. AC need to realize this and not act like babies.

But if two AC find themselves in need and the parents only want to help one, IMO, that's totally lopsided. Fizzers, what you describe sounds very unfair. I am so sorry! I'm not clear, however, on whether your mother just complained while helping you or refused to help you at all. If she still gave you the money, despite her gripes, maybe she did the same with your sister and nieces? Helped them out but complained while doing it?

Humbertbear Sun 09-Jun-19 09:59:42

A friend of ours has two daughters. One is well off and secure. The other has four children and always struggles. She has given her a lot of financial support but has rewritten her will to make it clear that the daughter has already received a lot of her share.
Our son is married and well off, our daughter is single and works for a charity. We give her much bigger presents at birthdays and have bought her a car. We have discussed this with our son and DiL and they are quite comfortable with the situation. They also know that our daughter will be left more with it eventually going to their children.

ReadyMeals Sun 09-Jun-19 10:33:18

I've had to help one child more than the other, and what I did is explained it to the self-sufficient one to check her reaction. Had she shown any sign of being upset at the unfairness I'd have had to reconsider, but she thought it made sense.

CrazyGrandma2 Sun 09-Jun-19 12:07:05

Agree with all the 'give as needed comments". Much depends on your own financial situation at the time of the need arising. I completely agree with ReadyMeals. I was so proud of the AC who instructed us to do what we could to help their sibling AC to get on to the property ladder. You can't put a price on everything and treating them the same isn't necessarily fair IMO. I guess we're lucky to be a close family not troubled by sibling rivalry. We are thankful for that.