My husband's sister's son, Jack, is 21 years old and moved from Ohio to Florida to go to school three years ago. It was a two-year program and they found him a job in Florida after he completed it. So he's been working in Florida for about a year now. His parents pay some bills of his, all in the name of "so they won't lose touch" with him. They pay his cell phone and they send him about $200 a month to put toward his living expenses plus gift cards for the grocery store. They would also pay for his travel expenses to come up here whenever he wants.
His mother is very upset that he's (finally) told her he's not coming home for Christmas. Like take-to-her-bed upset. Like "no one better mention his name during the whole holiday or she'll burst into tears" upset. Like if you ran into her at the grocery store and said hello, she'd start crying and saying "Why does he hate me so much??" upset. But he doesn't hate her. He just doesn't want to come up here. He has a girlfriend, friends, lots of stuff going on down there.
This morning, my husband was talking about it and said, "He really ought not to be like that."
I said, "No, his mother shouldn't make him feel so damn guilty for not wanting to come up here."
Husband: "Well he shouldn't let on like he's coming and set her up to be disappointed."
Me: "He hedges because she gives him such a hard time if he dares to mention he doesn't want to come up here!"
Husband: "If he wants to be like that then he can just damn well stop taking her money every month then."
So, AMA... does money give you leverage to demand certain things from your grown children? If you truly want independence and the abilty to make decisions for yourself, should you refuse to take any monetary help from family? Should my nephew stop accepting the financial help so his mother doesn't have the ability to guilt-trip him any longer? Should my sister in law stop sending the money because he never comes to visit?
I guess I can sort of see it both ways, but I personally can't stand it when family members make other family members feel guilty for not visiting or doing such-and-such because of how it looks or whatever. If Jack doesn't want to come up to visit, that should be the end of the matter, IMO... and the money shouldn't come into it at all.