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Should parents always support their student children if they can afford it?

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    • Thread Starter

    I'm a mum, rather than a student - so possibly shouldn't be using this forum, but I would really appreciate some advice please on whether I should finance my daughter through uni and I have nobody else to turn to for advice.

    Her dad and I are high earners, but have little spare cash after paying the mortgage, the independent school fees of our younger children and financially supporting our eldest child through uni.

    Our second eldest child is now due to start uni. Unlike the rest of our family who are close, she has behaved really badly to us for around three years. She rarely spends any time at home and, on the odd occasion that she is home, she is constantly verbally abusive. Everything that she says to us is an insult or deliberately designed to be as hurtful as possible. She holds the view that she can be as abusive as she wishes but that we are duty bound to support her because we have to pay the same as we are doing for her older sibling. Whilst I feel that it is important to treat all my children equally, I also feel that an important lesson in life is to treat everyone with a basic level of respect and to treat others how we would like to be treated ourselves.

    My feeling is that we need to withold funding for her uni course until she acts like a member of the loving family of which she is part. In so doing, I would hope that she supports herself by working with people that have not benefited from her priviledged upbringing, and therefore teach her that her wonderful life (and her family) are not as dreadful as she believes. I would make up for this lack of support by reinstating it in later terms if she modifies her behaviour to us or saving up the unpaid uni support for help towards her first house deposit for after uni.

    Am I being uncaring, unhelpful or unfair if I withold uni support? Can you think of any better solutions please? Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and offer any advice.

    I don't believe that you can blackmail a child into loving or appreciating their family. Such action is only doomed to make the problem worse.

    Having said that, I don't think there's any easy answer to your problem. Treating her less favourably than your other children is just going to entench her imagined view that she is somehow separated from the rest of her family.

    It is only a suggestion (from an outsider who doesn't have to deal with the situation) but from what you've told us, this may be the wrong point at which to put your foot down. You could instead tell her that she will get the same type of support as her older sibling whilst at uni (thus proving that she is wrong and you are right), but if that means she has to get a job at uni then she will be no different to many other undergrads. You can emphasise that any kind of financial support will stop when she leaves uni.

    To my mind, giving her ammunition which validates her wonky world view is just going to perpetuate the problem and make it worse. She clearly has some growing up to do and if you think about it, uni might be the right place to do it. She will be thrown in the deep end to make her way amongst a bunch of strangers from all sorts of different backgrounds, most of whom won't put up with her nonsense. She will meet people who genuinely have no family support available. Going to uni might be the making of her as a person, with a degree just being a useful side-effect!

    And trying to look at it from your perspective, the alternative of having her at home full-time whilst she finds a job and establishes a large enough wage to move out, doesn't sound terribly attractive for you.

    Just don't use all of this as an excuse. You not being able to afford to give her as much support as her older sibling, is a completely different issue. "Don't want to support her" is not at all the same thing as "Unable to support her". Don't confuse the two in your on mind because that really will make things worse for everyone involved.
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