My 35 year old married step-daughter is constantly calling her father and asking for money. She isn't working, has no car, abandoned her children and is living with some guy and his parents. Her father (my hubby) can't seem to refuse her and is always running to Western Union to send money. I'm fed up. How can I get him to stop sending our hard-earned money to her when she isn't even trying to help herself?
Dear Fed Up,
You probably can’t get him to stop. What you can work on though is establishing boundaries. His behavior isn’t terribly unusual. He enables her and she takes full advantage. The problem is that she won’t learn to be responsible and self-sufficient if you aren’t able to establish some boundaries. Parents sometimes find it impossible to stop giving help. They fear the worst…she will die without my help or how can I abandon my own child like this? But the truth is that all his financial support is doing is allowing her to continue making poor decisions. Children of any age learn to feel capable based on how their parents treat them. If your husband can show her that he feels she is capable of taking care of herself, maybe she will be.
What I would suggest for you is to read a book on co-dependency. It’ll help you understand how your husband is feeling and may give you ideas about how you can help him see that his “help” isn’t really that helpful. If your husband is willing, I would also suggest seeing a counselor to work on this issue. Whatever is causing him to have this co-dependent relationship with his daughter needs addressing so they can both be more healthy and have a healthier relationship.
Don't be shy! Say what's on your mind and get a good dose of perspective in return.