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S/O College Money- hand over or retain? What Conditions??


TranquilMind
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With virtually unanimous agreement on the idea that parents should dole out college money as needed, instead of hand it all over at once, other questions arise.

 

 

What obligations, if any, does a college-aged dependent child have in exchange for the money?

 

None?

 

Good grades? How good?

 

Communication with parents or can they be ignored?

 

Not to engage in alcohol or drugs?

 

Not to get involved with that undesirable character, whether friend, bf/gf, or whomever who is sucking time and making grades suffer?

 

Not to have a job? To have a job?

 

Church (For Christians?).

 

What other obligations, if any, do you believe college age student has to parents in exchange for paying for university? Explain, please. All ears.

Edited by TranquilMind
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I don't have any lines in the sand. If kid is carrying out life in a respectable manner, they will still benefit from our good graces. If they throw away their opportunities wholesale, then yeah, the money train is going to stop. I don't hold to the idea that they would be out on their ear at the first indescretion, but OTOH, I'm not throwing good money after bad. I would help strategize with them about what other paths they can take if college/that particular college/whatever is not a good path for that child. If, God forbid, they just flipped me off and said they were running away with their boyfriend on the west coast and they will have a rosy future working at Pizza Hut, I would be sad, of course, but I would say, "Good luck with that." I would not give them any more of the money I have saved on their behalf.

 

I would not use money as a puppeteer, though; i.e., we don't like that boyfriend, we don't agree with you buying a motorcycle, you got arrested by campus police for underage drinking, etc.

 

So far, I am thanking my lucky stars because my college kid has done wonderfully well, is on a good path AFAIK, has a boyfriend we adore, and is generally just everything I could have hoped in a young adult.

 

So far!

 

ETA: DD appears to have adopted the Christian faith as her own. She is interested in a different expression of worship and I would be totally unsurprised if she eventually converts to Catholicism, or at least, goes to a traditional type of church. She already visits traditional churches or attends mass with her boyfriend pretty often. At college, she celebrated Easter at an Episcopal church on campus.

 

But I do view a child's faith as their own to determine as they grow up. We raise them as Christians in an Evangelical environment, but I don't propose to "make" my child adopt a faith. I really don't think that often ends well.

Edited by Quill
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Ok, I answered in the other thread, but you have given a few more questions, so I will address those:

 

Nothing specific.  It will depend on our finances when middle and younger son go to college.  I am trying very hard to get a job right now and if I can, the sole purpose is to help pay for college.

 

Christian college would be wonderful.  We have told our kids that if they go to a state college, we want them to find the Christians, get involved in Young Life or something.  I don't know that that is a requirement, but we certainly encourage it.

 

Drugs, absolutely not!  Alcohol, after 21 and within boundaries that we set.

 

Grades are important and to their ability.  They just need to do their best.

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I don't know how parents would "police" alcohol, drugs, friends, and church attendance for adults off at college. My parents didn't have a college fund for me, but if they had tied oppressive strings like that to college money, I would've walked away from them and the money. It's money for college. If the kid isn't being successful at college, that's different from them making life choices I wouldn't necessarily make myself. 

 

LOL--Young Life was better known as Drunk Life in my high school and college. :)

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I don't think I have requirements so much as expectations.

I expect them to take their studies seriously.

I expect them to behave like respectable members of society.

I expect them to test their limits and fly.

I expect them to remember that they can always come home no matter what.

Edited by kewb
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I don't know how parents would "police" alcohol, drugs, friends, and church attendance for adults off at college. My parents didn't have a college fund for me, but if they had tied oppressive strings like that to college money, I would've walked away from them and the money. It's money for college. If the kid isn't being successful at college, that's different from them making life choices I wouldn't necessarily make myself. 

 

LOL--Young Life was better known as Drunk Life in my high school and college. :)

 

 

It is more a matter of discussing our expectations and why with them.  They honestly haven't given me any reason to worry, but since it was part of the question....

 

Young Life isn't like that everywhere.  I actually haven't been a part of it, but I have friends who have.  I went to a Christian college.

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So long as there is a limited amount of money, I would say they need to manage to stay enrolled without blowing it all before they have paid for necessities.

 

For example - I failed a class one year, so I had to take a summer credit.  The amount of money I had from parents, bursary, and work, did not somehow increase, it had to come out of that.  If my marks were so poor I got kicked out, whatever the cause, that would be my responsibility.  They probably would have let me move home if I needed to until I could get a FT job. 

 

I suppose if I robbed a bank or was running a prostitution ring they would have probably turn me into the police, or if I was heavy into drugs they would have treated me as sick and possibly take some action.

 

But really, I think controlling university aged people with money is nasty. I had a high school friend whose patrents insisted on choosing his major, on the grounds they were paying for it.  I thought it was immoral at the time, and I still do.

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I don't agree with trying to police adults as far as alcohol use or who they are in a relationship with. I wouldn't try to control their faith either.

 

My girls are very motivated to make good grades so if anything, I try to diffuse the pressure rather than put more on them.

 

The only requirement I've put on my oldest is that she spends Christmas and summers at home. It is going to be very hard on the little girls...and me to be across the country from her, so I want to know that we will spend time with her after each semester. I also want to make sure she gets a rest since she pushes so hard.

 

Our son works full time and has his own apartment, but we still pay his phone bill and car insurance. I told him that I am requiring him to come for a couple of days at Christmas and again in the summer. I'm just not ready to not have all of my children with me on Christmas morning. He said that wouldn't be a problem.

 

Nothing is more important to me than my relationships with my children. I don't want to damage that or give them a reason to lie to me.

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I don't agree with trying to police adults as far as alcohol use or who they are in a relationship with. I wouldn't try to control their faith either.

 

My girls are very motivated to make good grades so if anything, I try to diffuse the pressure rather than put more on them.

 

The only requirement I've put on my oldest is that she spends Christmas and summers at home. It is going to be very hard on the little girls...and me to be across the country from her, so I want to know that we will spend time with her after each semester. I also want to make sure she gets a rest since she pushes so hard.

 

Our son works full time and has his own apartment, but we still pay his phone bill and car insurance. I told him that I am requiring him to come for a couple of days at Christmas and again in the summer. I'm just not ready to not have all of my children with me on Christmas morning. He said that wouldn't be a problem.

 

Nothing is more important to me than my relationships with my children. I don't want to damage that or give them a reason to lie to me.

That last line...YES! This.

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With virtually unanimous agreement on the idea that parents should dole out college money as needed, instead of hand it all over at once, other questions arise.

 

 

What obligations, if any, does a college-aged dependent child have in exchange for the money?

 

None?

 

Good grades? How good?

 

For my dd, the grades have to be good enough to maintain her placement within the college. Her department requires students with her major to maintain a minimum 3.0, so that's what has to happen.

 

Communication with parents or can they be ignored?

 

I assume dd and I will speak weekly. Dh and his parents used to speak that often when he was in college. If our relationship were more difficult, I would still want to keep trying to nurture the relationship by touching base with each other,

 

Not to engage in alcohol or drugs?

 

All I can do is pray. If grades are maintained, then all is well. If drug or alcohol abuse becomes a concern, that would be addressed from the perspective of support and practical steps towards freedom from those bonds, not with threats.

 

Not to get involved with that undesirable character, whether friend, bf/gf, or whomever who is sucking time and making grades suffer?

 

It's not my place to dictate friendships. I can, however, offer whatever kindhearted coaching dd is open to hearing. Rather than focusing on losing the loser, I would focus on proactive strategies for study if grades are suffering. Losing the loser may be a natural byproduct of increased focus on study.

 

 

Not to have a job? To have a job?

College is expensive. Dd must maintain a job unless her grades are suffering. If her grades dip, then the job will have to go. Better to focus on getting done with the degree successfully. However, I believe 8-10 hours a week working will not hurt anything, and dd is prepared to work through college.

 

Church (For Christians?).

 

What other obligations, if any, do you believe college age student has to parents in exchange for paying for university? Explain, please. All ears.

I believe we get to be involved in her life and we have input into her decisions. We cannot control her as we did when she was a toddler, but we hope that as she faces choices she will discuss them with us as she always has.  We give what wisdom we can, and she makes her own choices.

.

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With virtually unanimous agreement on the idea that parents should dole out college money as needed, instead of hand it all over at once, other questions arise.

 

 

What obligations, if any, does a college-aged dependent child have in exchange for the money?

 

None?

 

Good grades? How good?

 

Communication with parents or can they be ignored?

 

Not to engage in alcohol or drugs?

 

Not to get involved with that undesirable character, whether friend, bf/gf, or whomever who is sucking time and making grades suffer?

 

Not to have a job? To have a job?

 

Church (For Christians?).

 

What other obligations, if any, do you believe college age student has to parents in exchange for paying for university? Explain, please. All ears.

 

I think money always comes with obligations.  For us the minimums would be good grades (B average, but we're not withdrawing support because of 1 bad class, if that makes sense...it would be overall effort) and mass attendance. 

 

Of course I would expect communication! We're family.  That's the only reason that I give financial support.  If the kid wanted to cut me off, fine, but then you're cutting off my money, too.  But there wouldn't be a specific communication schedule (though I could see having to put that in place with some kids who need it to remind them to call mom).  Alcohol/drugs...mm...obviously?  I mean, I wouldn't be searching their room or doing breathalyzer tests or anything, but if there is enough booze/dope for me to find out, then it's obviously too much, kwim?  Undesirable characters....hm...I wouldn't make this specifically my line in the sand, though I would definitely give advice if I thought these characters were a contributing factor in problems (grades, booze, whatever).  The job thing, I would actually prefer that my son have a job in college if feasible (even just 1-2 days per week), but I wouldn't require it and it's not always feasible.

 

I dunno.  I think the whole thing is about the obligations of relationship.  We're providing financial support because we have a relationship.  We expect that support to be treated with respect, which might look like different things, depending on circumstances.

 

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Mass attendance? You mean Roman Catholic Mass?

 

If so, what if that kid (hypothetically) just says, "Screw you! I don't want to go to Mass."

 

Just curious. The last few posters seemed to feel that maintaining the relationship was paramount to whatever might be happening. So I wonder.

 

You do make a good point that of course you can expect communication. You aren't supporting total strangers. You are supporting this kid precisely because he is your kid.

Edited by TranquilMind
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Communication is an interesting one.

 

I tend to think if someone totally dropped off the face of teh Earth, parents might be reasonably concerned.

 

But communication today seems to mean something much different than when I was a sudent.  Then, we all shared a phone in the hallway, and a lot of kids talked to parents once a week or so.  Now many seem to talk daily, or sometimes even more often, and want a lot more details about life as well.

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Mass attendance? You mean Roman Catholic Mass?

 

If so, what if that kid (hypothetically) just says, "Screw you! I don't want to go to Mass."

 

Just curious. The last few posters seemed to feel that maintaining the relationship was paramount to whatever might be happening. So I wonder.

 

You do make a good point that of course you can expect communication. You aren't supporting total strangers. You are supporting this kid precisely because he is your kid.

 

While I do value my relationship with my children, I do not consider it the paramount issue.  And if the kid can't drag themselves to a 1hr per week mass, even when they know it means so much to their mother, then I would say the relationship issue is already in trouble.  Frankly, if I could go and just sit somewhere for 1hr per week and have it mean a ton to someone I care about, I would consider it a cheap way to get huge investment, relationship-wise.  Put another way, if the kid can't sit somewhere for 1hr per week to make their mother happy, then I think they already don't respect the investment enough to be trusted with it. 

 

If my kid ever said "screw you" about anything that I requested then we would be wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy past the point of me even considering making any investments in anything having to do with that kid.  No one who talks to me like that is someone that I'm trusting with anything of substance.  My mother was horrible.  Horrible.  And I would never talk to her like that.  So, I guess to answer your question, my answer to, "Screw you! I don't want to go to Mass." would be to say, "Ok, then don't.  We'll talk about this again next semester.  Maybe you'll be mature enough.  Let me know what you're going to do between now and then."

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To me, requiring religious attendance by someone tha ge is a lot like telling them who they can date, or be friends with.  Way out of line, and saying "do it to make me happy" is out of line too.

 

I don't believe that "people this age" are necessarily to be free of their parents and parenting.  And clearly neither do the colleges as they require our financial information and our financial contribution.

 

I'm parenting or I'm not.  I'm not parenting just when people like it.

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In my plan, students pay the cost of their first semester up front (their own savings or scholarships) and are refunded that cost by us at the end of semester 1 -- by providing proof of a successful semester (I would set a GPA -- but I'm not yet sure what it would be) and a receipt for having paid the original cost. I would need to find the institution minimally acceptable.

 

They then can use that refund to pay for the following semester, or they can do anything else with it, if they aren't returning. I would not refund the cost of classes that weren't successful. I world not refund the before-summer semester until the fall semester was starting, unless the student was taking summer classes (or had another proposal that made sense in the context).

 

With respect to conduct, keeping on minimal good terms with at least one of us, at least most of the time, (being able to have a polite conversation, apologizing if there's a blow-out) would be nessisary, but any of the other issues would not be improved by dropping out of school, so I would plan on continuing to fund-by-refund each successful semester.

 

(A faith journey that included not wanting to 'hypocritically' attend worship while doubting isn't something I would consider unexpected or disrespectful.)

Edited by bolt.
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I don't believe that "people this age" are necessarily to be free of their parents and parenting.  And clearly neither do the colleges as they require our financial information and our financial contribution.

 

I'm parenting or I'm not.  I'm not parenting just when people like it.

 

But then I do think the role changes at that age.  I'd want my kid to be respectful and not a jerk to be around, but in terms of micromanaging his life, no I don't think that is fair.  And to me the money is about my kid getting a good education so he can be successful in life and not some sort of excuse to control him.

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But then I do think the role changes at that age.  I'd want my kid to be respectful and not a jerk to be around, but in terms of micromanaging his life, no I don't think that is fair.  And to me the money is about my kid getting a good education so he can be successful in life and not some sort of excuse to control him.

:iagree:

 

While I want my kids to make choices that I think are in their best interests, I think controlling via money often backfires.  I believe that I can have the most influence on my children if I am in their lives, not how much control I exert via purse strings.  If I am treating them with respect, I can expect respect in return.  But, I don't equate obedience (which often is surface obedience when you get to that age) with respect. The quickest way to lose their respect is to not treat them like adults.  I look at college funds not as a way to control my kids to make them be who I want them to be (BTDT.  It doesn't work, even with the most compliant, obedient kids.  They are who they are.)  I look at those funds as an investment in their future.  If they are not working in good faith toward that future (meaning attending class, getting good grades to the best of their ability), then I would reevaluate further investment into that path. 

 

But, maybe I am just different than many of the people who express other views.  I have seen my children as people from the start, not minions who must obey me, not clay that I can form into whatever I want.  My goal from the very beginning has always been to teach and guide.  I don't ever want to put them into a position where I am encouraging them to lie to me.  Once they do that, then the mutual respect has been damaged. 

 

This does not mean that I am a pushover with my kids.  But hard lines in the sand make for hard hearts. 

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Church (For Christians?).

 

What other obligations, if any, do you believe college age student has to parents in exchange for paying for university? Explain, please. All ears.

 

I answered the other questions in the other thread.

 

I wouldn't REQUIRE church attendance* but I EXPECT it. So does our Church :seeya: we have a Sunday/Holy Day obligation of which they are all aware and in the habit of fulfilling (or to seek dispensation for). One caveat: Attendance is mandatory when family is visiting. It's also mandatory if you're attending college local to me. Because I'll know. LOL What you do when I can't see you is on you.

 

Other obligations? I guess this: You carry the family name and represent us, like it or not, want to or not; live accordingly. Or as my brother just summed it up: "Don't be an a-hole." But that's an obligation/expectation regardless of who's paying for college LOL.

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What if the kid just doesn't care about carrying the family name,

representing the family, or that you will know if he doesn't go to church?

 

Maybe that truly is a prodigal son situation. And if so, should one do what the prodigal's father did? Lots of discussion here about all this.

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While I do value my relationship with my children, I do not consider it the paramount issue. And if the kid can't drag themselves to a 1hr per week mass, even when they know it means so much to their mother, then I would say the relationship issue is already in trouble. Frankly, if I could go and just sit somewhere for 1hr per week and have it mean a ton to someone I care about, I would consider it a cheap way to get huge investment, relationship-wise. Put another way, if the kid can't sit somewhere for 1hr per week to make their mother happy, then I think they already don't respect the investment enough to be trusted with it.

But Tammy! You would really want your child to attend mass just to make mom happy? I actually think to appear a certain way is the worst-ever reason to carry out religious activities.

 

I mean, I hear what you're saying with the idea that surely someone who loves you can make this tiny investment, however they actually feel about it...that is why I fold laundry, afterall. But carrying out a faith is not in the same category for me. If it does not come from within the person then, to me, that is as good as Josh Duggar saying he loves his wife.

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What if the kid just doesn't care about carrying the family name,

representing the family, or that you will know if he doesn't go to church?

 

Maybe that truly is a prodigal son situation. And if so, should one do what the prodigal's father did? Lots of discussion here about all this.

 

I think that could backfire.  Sometimes you need to back off and let your kids figure their own life out.  I think some people forget what it is like to be that age.  Or maybe they had a very different life at that age.  At 18 I was in college.  At that same age my mother was married with a child.  I'm nearly 42.  When my mother was 42, I was 24 years old.  Now, my oldest is 14.  Life has gone quite differently for the both of us.  But what was not really different is that at 18 we were both still figuring life out.  Stuff like religion.  Stuff like responsibility and juggling all of that.  We don't always get it right at 18.  My mother's mother was so controlling my mother ran away at 16 and the relationship never recovered.  I don't want that to happen with my kids. 

 

Probably the most controlling I'd be is to insist on not being self centered.  For example, if you live here you don't leave a disastrous mess for other people to clean.  You let me know you won't be home tonight or will be home very late.  Those are reasonable things to insist on.  Thinking about stuff like church.  Oh gee, I worked a lot.  There was a good chance I didn't have time for that.  I would have been pretty bent out of shape to have to make the time especially if I didn't feel it was important. 

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So I've condensed your list to make it easier for me to think.

 

Obligations in exchange for the money? none, good grades, communicate with parents, drinking/drugs, bad company, job, church .... any other obligations

 

For our family, it's more a matter of limitations, not obligations. Our kids are older and so are dh and I. We all realize that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them, and are truly grateful for it. Our family had a really bad couple of years back in 2012 - 2014 (?), and dc witnessed how circumstances can change overnight, for better or for worse.

 

Anyway, most of the things you listed are things they learned at home before they ever got to college. Things like working hard and doing your best translated into getting the best grades you can with what you have to work with. Our years and years of discussions about everything under the sun translated into keeping communication open among all of us. Studying the Bible and learning from mature pastors for years and years translated into discerning, mature Christian adults who can size up a situation, person, or church, and make the best decisions they're able to make, sometimes consulting each other or me or dh if necessary. And the list goes on. The point being that those things were well-established before college ever entered into the picture - because that's how we raised our kids.

 

So how does this play out IRL?

 

They've all gotten mostly A's along with various kinds of recognition for their hard work - awards, more scholarships, comments from professors, etc.

 

We hear from most of them at least once a week, some more, some less. That's entirely up to them because they're the ones with the busy schedules at this point.

 

But they also know we don't drink or do drugs, and if they were to begin that stuff they would probably have to find somewhere else to live, and their own source of money. We won't be paying for those things.

 

They've all tried various churches in the area. They're having the same problems we had when they were small and we were hunting for a solid church - finding gimmicky, shallow, Biblically incorrect churches lead by shallow, emotion-based preachers. This seems to be especially bad in a college town because all these churches are catering to the college students, which means they're ignoring the mature believers and trying to make it 'fun' for the college kids. So the mature believers are starved for the solid 'meat', while the leadership plan program after program of 'milk' for the immature college kids. Very sad.

 

.... So, overall, the church thing has been left up to our kids. They learned about how to find a solid church in their hs'ing years at home...

 

Other things/obligations? I guess we expect them to use all the resources we're able to provide for them wisely. And they do that. Not because we've demanded it. But because that's how we raised them. Those are the values we passed on to our children. :)

 

I snipped some things because I wanted to address them. We

Agree that much of the work is done before they ever leave home (and I would argue before 16 years old) yet we all know kids who were raised "right" and their parents did everything possible to transmit their values, yet one (or more) fled that right upbringing the moment they got a chance. They rejected some or all of their parents' values.

 

They might be the perfect student and remain so - but are disrespectful, or suddenly begin to do drugs or drink or become promiscuous, even from the best of families where the parents really tried to do everything right. You can drink and remain a top student.

 

They might be perfectly polite, but are selling drugs. (I read an eye opening account of this).

 

Why are some grateful, like your kids seem to be, and remain solid believers, yet other parents, who did the same thing, have prodigals?

 

It's easy to say you would just cut a child off who became a drinker or did drugs when that is already not going to happen for you.

 

Would you really, if confronted with that?

 

What about rejection of your faith, or a demand for all the money up front (assume you have it), or promiscuity?

Or (insert possibility - we are discussing all of this and find it interesting).

 

What is your business? What is not your business (if you personally and not loans are supporting said child)?

 

This is all very interesting.

Edited by TranquilMind
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What if the kid just doesn't care about carrying the family name,

representing the family, or that you will know if he doesn't go to church?

 

Maybe that truly is a prodigal son situation. And if so, should one do what the prodigal's father did? Lots of discussion here about all this.

 

There's something very icky to me about the idea of "carrying the family name". I think posters are using it in the sense of "make good choices and don't embarrass the family", but I think the idea of "carrying the family name" can just be another way to try to control and micromanage adult children. There's a really deep lack of respect for the adult child there, like you don't trust them to make good, moral choices except out of obligation to some idea of "the family".

 

My FIL once had a friend pass away while he was out-of-town, someone dh and I had never met. FIL asked dh to go to the funeral on his behalf as a "representative of the family". Dh was still in grad school and had a midterm scheduled at the same time as the funeral, so he apologetically told his father that he wouldn't be able to attend. FIL reamed dh (tore him apart verbally - it was pretty ugly) over his lack of personal responsibility and not caring about the family and not carrying the family name, etc. He had never helped dh with college expenses, but he sure threatened a lot of other stuff. Apparently dh was out-of-line for not prioritizing his father's feelings and this "easy request" over a midterm.

 

I think you earn respect from adult relatives by treating them with respect. I think that's true regardless of whether you are the adult or the child. I don't think that means handing over money without some general expectations for how that money's going to be used (tuition!) and maybe for behavior directly related to the money (please attend classes and let us know if you're struggling academically), but you get into pretty murky waters when you start dictating anything outside of that. Do you treat your mother or sister or cousin that way (dictating that they go to Mass & checking up on it)? Why would you treat your adult child that way?

 

By the way, my husband lied to his parents. A lot. He was a 4.0 student in high school, and he went on to do well in college & grad school. He never did anything "bad" in a legal or moral sense. But he lied to his parents as a teenager and a young adult. A lot. He snuck out of the house as a teenager, he kept secrets as a young adult, and his parents aren't really a part of his life now. It was easier to hide things from them than to deal with their controlling attitude. 

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I don't believe that "people this age" are necessarily to be free of their parents and parenting.  And clearly neither do the colleges as they require our financial information and our financial contribution.

 

I'm parenting or I'm not.  I'm not parenting just when people like it.

 

Colleges require financial information so they can make sure limited financial aid funds go to the students who truly need them. It has nothing to do with whether or not the student is a legal adult, and it is in no way a message that colleges believe you should be continuing to "parent" your adult children. They just want to make sure that financial aid dollars go to the child of struggling, working class parents and not to the child of wealthy lawyers who would rather spend their disposable money on their yacht than on tuition. 

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Why are some grateful, like your kids seem to be, and remain solid believers, yet other parents, who did the same thing, have prodigals?

 

 

 

I've seen the Prodigal Son mentioned several times here.  To me, the point of the story wasn't how bad the kid was, but about the attitude of the father and the welcoming forgiveness.  If we burn bridges trying to teach our prodigals a lesson (through punishment or control), how likely are they to come back when they have realized their folly? 

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Colleges require financial information so they can make sure limited financial aid funds go to the students who truly need them. It has nothing to do with whether or not the student is a legal adult, and it is in no way a message that colleges believe you should be continuing to "parent" your adult children. They just want to make sure that financial aid dollars go to the child of struggling, working class parents and not to the child of wealthy lawyers who would rather spend their disposable money on their yacht than on tuition.

Not only that, but I well remember the meeting with parents at DD's freshmen orientation. They said, "You are not entitled your child's school records. A lot of parents find that shocking, as many of you are paying all or some of this endeavor. But your kids are legal adults now and we (the college) interact with them as adults."

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Minivan Mom, to me that does seem extreme to demand an adult child ditch an exam to attend a funeral of someone he never even met.

 

That seems far outside the kind of expectations we have discussed so far with various levels of agreement regarding grades, substance use, appropriate relationships and the like.

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I've seen the Prodigal Son mentioned several times here. To me, the point of the story wasn't how bad the kid was, but about the attitude of the father and the welcoming forgiveness. If we burn bridges trying to teach our prodigals a lesson (through punishment or control), how likely are they to come back when they have realized their folly?

Or you realize that maybe what they are doing isn't the end of the world? (Not referring to you, Ellen, but thinking about some things I thought were hills to die on, or I thought my parents thought were hills to die on.)

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Not only that, but I well remember the meeting with parents at DD's freshmen orientation. They said, "You are not entitled your child's school records. A lot of parents find that shocking, as many of you are paying all or some of this endeavor. But your kids are legal adults now and we (the college) interact with them as adults."

You know, this would fly with me except for the hypocrisy of demanding FAFSA forms of parents of these adults who are often well above legal age. If they are adults, they stand alone and there is no justification for demanding parental financial information, which is demanded even for merit scholarships.

 

So in my view, that statement is invalid.

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There's something very icky to me about the idea of "carrying the family name". I think posters are using it in the sense of "make good choices and don't embarrass the family", but I think the idea of "carrying the family name" can just be another way to try to control and micromanage adult children. There's a really deep lack of respect for the adult child there, like you don't trust them to make good, moral choices except out of obligation to some idea of "the family".

 

My FIL once had a friend pass away while he was out-of-town, someone dh and I had never met. FIL asked dh to go to the funeral on his behalf as a "representative of the family". Dh was still in grad school and had a midterm scheduled at the same time as the funeral, so he apologetically told his father that he wouldn't be able to attend. FIL reamed dh (tore him apart verbally - it was pretty ugly) over his lack of personal responsibility and not caring about the family and not carrying the family name, etc. He had never helped dh with college expenses, but he sure threatened a lot of other stuff. Apparently dh was out-of-line for not prioritizing his father's feelings and this "easy request" over a midterm.

 

I think you earn respect from adult relatives by treating them with respect. I think that's true regardless of whether you are the adult or the child. I don't think that means handing over money without some general expectations for how that money's going to be used (tuition!) and maybe for behavior directly related to the money (please attend classes and let us know if you're struggling academically), but you get into pretty murky waters when you start dictating anything outside of that. Do you treat your mother or sister or cousin that way (dictating that they go to Mass & checking up on it)? Why would you treat your adult child that way?

 

By the way, my husband lied to his parents. A lot. He was a 4.0 student in high school, and he went on to do well in college & grad school. He never did anything "bad" in a legal or moral sense. But he lied to his parents as a teenager and a young adult. A lot. He snuck out of the house as a teenager, he kept secrets as a young adult, and his parents aren't really a part of his life now. It was easier to hide things from them than to deal with their controlling attitude. 

 

Carrying the family name is an odd concept to me.  This must be something in certain circles of people?  Really, I don't know.  Maybe in areas where everyone knows your business?  Where I live nobody would really know that stuff unless it was something huge and outrageous and splashed all over the news.

 

 

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I snipped some things because I wanted to address them. We

Agree that much of the work is done before they ever leave home (and I would argue before 16 years old) yet we all know kids who were raised "right" and their parents did everything possible to transmit their values, yet one (or more) fled that right upbringing the moment they got a chance. They rejected some or all of their parents' values.

 

They might be the perfect student and remain so - but are disrespectful, or suddenly begin to do drugs or drink or become promiscuous, even from the best of families where the parents really tried to do everything right. You can drink and remain a top student.

 

They might be perfectly polite, but are selling drugs. (I read an eye opening account of this).

 

Why are some grateful, like your kids seem to be, and remain solid believers, yet other parents, who did the same thing, have prodigals?

 

It's easy to say you would just cut a child off who became a drinker or did drugs when that is already not going to happen for you.

 

Would you really, if confronted with that?

 

What about rejection of your faith, or a demand for all the money up front (assume you have it), or promiscuity?

Or (insert possibility - we are discussing all of this and find it interesting).

 

What is your business? What is not your business (if you personally and not loans are supporting said child)?

 

This is all very interesting.

IMO, it is precisely the child who has been raised with the parents always concerned about "don't makes us look bad" that is most at risk for the behaviors you mention. That is exactly why I said I don't want my kid to go to church/mass grudgingly because it makes mommy happy. I only want my kids to participate in religious activity (as adults) if they desire this for themselves. Otherwise, they are waiting to move away/get out from under your thimb/waiting for you to die so they can be an adult all the way.

 

I used Josh Duggar upthread, but I don't think that's a bad example at all. He was raised to put on all the outward appearance of being an upstanding, conservative Christian. Never wear jeans; always wear polo shirts; don't kiss a girl until you marry her. Look this way. Act this way. Talk this way. Seem this way.

 

The large majority of the times I've seen prodigal children (or even just kids who veer off the tracks a bit) this has been a factor.

 

Having said all that, kids are not recipes. There's no Bobby Flay throw-down that guarantees your kids will turn out how you wish. You seem, TM, as if you're saying, "How can I guarantee they will do what I want?" But I am sure you know the answer to that: you can't.

 

I think a genuine relationship is the closest thing to insurance against kids going (really) wrong, but I also have a pretty broad definition of what "going wrong" means. It's not if they kiss someone before marriage, and it's not if they wear pants.

 

My mother once said (this was only a few years ago) that her highest goal for her kids was that we would all "be a part of a church community." I thought that was a staggering admission, because the church isn't faith. The church isn't the location of my child's goodness or decency, humanity or graciousness. To me, part of a church community - that's the gravy. I think that shows clearly that my mom wanted things to look a certain way. (She was largely disappointed, BTW; most of her kids are not/were not in a "church community.")

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You know, this would fly with me except for the hypocrisy of demanding FAFSA forms of parents of these adults who are often well above legal age. If they are adults, they stand alone and there is no justification for demanding parental financial information, which is demanded even for merit scholarships.

 

So in my view, that statement is invalid.

Yeah, well, I'm no fan of FAFSA. That's a system badly in need of an overhaul. But the college itself has no choice about whether or not to comply with FAFSA.

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Minivan Mom, to me that does seem extreme to demand an adult child ditch an exam to attend a funeral of someone he never even met.

 

That seems far outside the kind of expectations we have discussed so far with various levels of agreement regarding grades, substance use, appropriate relationships and the like.

 

It's an extreme example, but it's indicative of what all of dh's interactions were like with his parents. They checked up on his church attendance, they asked what classes he was taking & then showed up on campus unannounced to take him to lunch, they expressed strong opinions about who he should be friends with & who he shouldn't date (me!). FIL actually contacted the dean of dh's college to make a special request regarding dh's undergrad graduation ceremony (dh found out afterward and was so angry & embarrassed).

 

I think you either have an underlying attitude that you are now dealing with an adult and will treat your child with the respect an adult deserves . . . or . . . you think you are still dealing with a child who needs to be parented and managed. That underlying attitude will shine through in all your interactions whether it's money or girlfriends/boyfriends or attendance at Mass. I'm suggesting that there needs to be a huge shift from "parenting" toward respectful, adult-to-adult interactions. Because your child is now a legal adult even if you choose to contribute financially.

 

And it does go the other way. If your child is demanding all the money in her college fund upfront and being disrespectful to reasonable expectations from you in regards to that money then that's a very different set of issues than those suggested by other posters who feel their child owes them weekly attendance at Mass. I think that's a situation where you need to explain that it's not really her money, as well as the legal & tax rules related to dispersing that money. I would view grades as a reasonable expectation related to the money. On the other hand, I don't think "appropriate relationships" is related in anyway to school nor is it something I'd be comfortable dictating (but I've been on the receiving end there).

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:iagree:

 

While I want my kids to make choices that I think are in their best interests, I think controlling via money often backfires.  I believe that I can have the most influence on my children if I am in their lives, not how much control I exert via purse strings.  If I am treating them with respect, I can expect respect in return.  But, I don't equate obedience (which often is surface obedience when you get to that age) with respect. The quickest way to lose their respect is to not treat them like adults.  I look at college funds not as a way to control my kids to make them be who I want them to be (BTDT.  It doesn't work, even with the most compliant, obedient kids.  They are who they are.)  I look at those funds as an investment in their future.  If they are not working in good faith toward that future (meaning attending class, getting good grades to the best of their ability), then I would reevaluate further investment into that path. 

 

But, maybe I am just different than many of the people who express other views.  I have seen my children as people from the start, not minions who must obey me, not clay that I can form into whatever I want.  My goal from the very beginning has always been to teach and guide.  I don't ever want to put them into a position where I am encouraging them to lie to me.  Once they do that, then the mutual respect has been damaged. 

 

This does not mean that I am a pushover with my kids.  But hard lines in the sand make for hard hearts. 

:iagree:  :iagree:  :iagree:

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You know, this would fly with me except for the hypocrisy of demanding FAFSA forms of parents of these adults who are often well above legal age. If they are adults, they stand alone and there is no justification for demanding parental financial information, which is demanded even for merit scholarships.

 

So in my view, that statement is invalid.

 

Then again, the IRS has this information.  When you bought a house (if you bought one) they have this information.  This isn't all that highly personal to be honest.  I don't see the big deal really.  I know some people are highly secretive about money, but it's one thing to be asked by Joe Doe down the street and another to be asked on a government form.  If the government were more organized they wouldn't even have to freaking ask.

 

Filling out immigration paperwork is 1000 times more invasive.

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I am not paying for 6 years of partying. I might have to pay for 1 semester, but that will be it. If said child who God forbid, flunks out one semester, and then later decides to become responsible, then I'll give them another chance. I'm not planning to hold friends, church, etc over their heads for money either, but I'm also not going to support other people on the money. For example, if one of my children (oldest is in elementary, so these are memories of my college days and bad behavior of others, not me) decides it's cool to let the neighborhood drug dealers sleep on her couch, then no, I'm not paying the rent anymore. (I went to a school without adequate campus housing so many people had apartments). I would also expect the children to earn money for things besides food, housing, and very minimal clothes/expenses, not because we couldn't afford to pay for it, but because I want them to learn to earn their way.

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Carrying the family name is an odd concept to me.  This must be something in certain circles of people?  Really, I don't know.  Maybe in areas where everyone knows your business?  Where I live nobody would really know that stuff unless it was something huge and outrageous and splashed all over the news.

 

Dh is not from any kind of ethnic group or minority where you would expect cultural expectations like that. He grew up white and middle-class, living all over the US. His dad is white guy from CA with a science doctorate. I don't even know where FIL's nonsense comes from - he just wanted so badly to control everything his kids did and the image that the family projected in their little upper-class suburb. 

 

Dh and I made fun of FIL saying that he wanted dh to go to the funeral "as a representative of the family" for ages. Which was probably very disrespectful of us, but if you say "as a representative of the family" in a Godfather voice, it's freaking hilarious.

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Government bodies can be involved in a number of financial things between related people, like inheritances, gifts of money, eldercare, but it doesn't really have anything to do with someone having moral authority over another.

 

If I support my parents when they are old, even if they live with me, I don't get to tell them they need to go to church.  At best I might say something like "no band practice in the living room, dad!"

 

And parents always parent, even their adult kids, but the thing is parenting an adult, or someone who is 18 or 19 or 20, looks a lot different than parenting someone who is 6 or 10 or 14.  Somewhere between about 15 and 17, most of the decisions about things like friendships or religion need to be turned over, barring stuff like being taken into a cult or recruited into a prostitution ring.

 

Even before that, I think some religious decisions are on the child's terms.  My dd who is 11 chose to be confirmed last year, and while I discussed what it meant with her, and told her I thought she was ready, it was very much her decision.  And things like communicating, or confession, are also pretty much in her court, with parents or our priest as advisors, in so far as she allows us to do that.

 

 

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Then again, the IRS has this information.  When you bought a house (if you bought one) they have this information.  This isn't all that highly personal to be honest.  I don't see the big deal really.  I know some people are highly secretive about money, but it's one thing to be asked by Joe Doe down the street and another to be asked on a government form.  If the government were more organized they wouldn't even have to freaking ask.

 

Filling out immigration paperwork is 1000 times more invasive.

 

ONLY the IRS is supposed to have this information because we are forced by law to comply. 

 

That applies nowhere else.  Colleges do not have a right to MY information; I am not asking them for anything.    And certainly never should apply for MERIT scholarships. 

 

So don't tell me they are adults, yet ask to see MY financial information to decide if you want to give a scholarship to said "adult".  Non sequitur. 

Let me tell you how I really feel about this....   ;)

 

Immigration is a different issue.  You are asking another country if you can reside there or become a citizen, so I guess it is legitimate to check you out. 

 

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ONLY the IRS is supposed to have this information because we are forced by law to comply. 

 

That applies nowhere else.  Colleges do not have a right to MY information; I am not asking them for anything.    And certainly never should apply for MERIT scholarships. 

 

So don't tell me they are adults, yet ask to see MY financial information to decide if you want to give a scholarship to said "adult".  Non sequitur. 

Let me tell you how I really feel about this....   ;)

 

Immigration is a different issue.  You are asking another country if you can reside there or become a citizen, so I guess it is legitimate to check you out. 

 

 

I do get what you are saying.  I wish they didn't do this.  I don't think the way they go about it is entirely fair.  it's especially unfair for the student if their parent's don't want to hand over the information.

 

We are forced to comply if we want to apply for financial aid.  The money is in part government aid. 

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Government bodies can be involved in a number of financial things between related people, like inheritances, gifts of money, eldercare, but it doesn't really have anything to do with someone having moral authority over another.

 

If I support my parents when they are old, even if they live with me, I don't get to tell them they need to go to church.  At best I might say something like "no band practice in the living room, dad!"

 

And parents always parent, even their adult kids, but the thing is parenting an adult, or someone who is 18 or 19 or 20, looks a lot different than parenting someone who is 6 or 10 or 14.  Somewhere between about 15 and 17, most of the decisions about things like friendships or religion need to be turned over, barring stuff like being taken into a cult or recruited into a prostitution ring.

 

Even before that, I think some religious decisions are on the child's terms.  My dd who is 11 chose to be confirmed last year, and while I discussed what it meant with her, and told her I thought she was ready, it was very much her decision.  And things like communicating, or confession, are also pretty much in her court, with parents or our priest as advisors, in so far as she allows us to do that.

 

For some reason, cannot snip, so I bolded.

So where are the lines on that?  In your mind, it must be as extreme as a cult (and some people would call really sold-out Christianity a cult), or prostitution? 

 

What about drugs?  What about alcohol or partying?  Or do you only care about grades, so if your kid can party a lot and maintain grades, that subject is hands-off? 

 

What about if your college kid starts dating someone old enough to be a parent.  These predators who are smart enough to target the barely-over-18's exist.  ?   Still hands off?

What about drug usage that isn't illegal, say weed in Colorado?  Cool with you?  You still supporting that kid who gets high all the time, so long as he can do his work?

 

Just curious where all of these lines are.  It seems one thing to announce it, but another thing altogether to state what your response looks like. 

 

 

 

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Dh is not from any kind of ethnic group or minority where you would expect cultural expectations like that. He grew up white and middle-class, living all over the US. His dad is white guy from CA with a science doctorate. I don't even know where FIL's nonsense comes from - he just wanted so badly to control everything his kids did and the image that the family projected in their little upper-class suburb. 

 

Dh and I made fun of FIL saying that he wanted dh to go to the funeral "as a representative of the family" for ages. Which was probably very disrespectful of us, but if you say "as a representative of the family" in a Godfather voice, it's freaking hilarious.

 

Heh heh.  Apparently, FIL made an offer that your husband could refuse. 

 

But seriously, why didn't FIL go to the funeral himself on the family's behalf?  I've been wondering that ever since I read your post.  Now that my internet finally came back after two days, I'm asking.

I love desktops....

 

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