Yesterday four of my kids had meltdowns -- each specific to their own personalities. Ranging in age from 13-19, you would think that they would have moved beyond screaming defiant fits by now. I am grateful, however, that none of them moved to the point of seriously injuring anyone, though when the Ipod Shuffle, complete with charger, was thrown from 3 feet away, it did hurt the hand it hit. And a few items were damaged, but none of them were people. So we are making progress.
I'm again trying to discover a balance in my head between being merciful and gracious and teaching lessons about life my children, especially those who are young adults. The challenge I"m finding is that even when I explain my lack of willingness to purchase things they need if they are unwilling to chip in any of the money, they don't seem to be getting it. The attempts to make me feel guilty when they are unwilling to move a muscle to meet me halfway is intense. I don't disagree that they need some things. I don't disagree that good parents buy things for their children. But how are they to ever learn responsibility if they are allowed to get something for nothing when they are unemployed?
I'm sure that many of you have struggled with this same issue as your children have reached adulthood and it is difficult regardless of which side you find yourself erring. To err on the side of generosity can make parents feel like enablers and can make them resentful. To err on the side of love that is too tough results in damaged relationships and misunderstandings.
I usually toe the line well. But my current dilemma is bugging me and I'm not sure which way to go. I'd ask your advice about something specific, but I don't want to share too many facts about this individual as he has been complaining lately that I shouldn't "Make money off telling stories about my kids."
So what do you do when your adult children are asking for something that they do need, but that they have been unwilling to earn money to pay for and when they have had money they have spent it on foolish things?
How tough should love be?