Dilemma: my stepson needs to take responsibility for his finances
My stepson is 45, but he’s never grown up. My husband and I have helped him so often, giving him money when he’s in debt and furnishing various flats over the years. He ricochets from one girlfriend to the next and one job to another.
We recently allowed him to stay in our home (while we were away for a few months) and he left it in a terrible state.
Now he’s asked for money towards a new car. My husband wants to help him out, but I’d like to draw a line. I’m 64 and work as a nurse. The situation is causing rows between us.
Should I just give in?
Dawn French's advice
It can be tricky being a stepmother, I know, and ordinarily I would say that it’s best to operate in the slipstream of the biological parent’s decisions and methods.
But it seems that your ol’ man is a bit wobbly and lost here, and perhaps your stepson is exploiting that. If so, I think it’s fine for you to step up and make a suggestion; perhaps you could say that you will contribute towards a new car (within reason) so long as everyone agrees that the sole condition is that there are no further demands whatsoever.
You could draw up a contract that you all sign. Raise a glass to it and say: ‘Guys, this was such a good idea because we all know where we stand now, you’ll have a lovely new car, and we can stop infantilising you in the way we have, sorry about that, and you can grow into the fine adult human we know you can be - cheers!’
Of course, if that doesn’t work, agree absolutely get him the car of his dreams, and buy Corgi Only Fools and Horses Diecast Trotter three-wheel van in a Dinky toy box. See if he likes that.
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