Financial Favoritism: Giving More Money to One Child

Do you think parents should provide financial assistance to their adult children? If so, do you think they should do so equally, or is it okay for parents to give more money to one child? Is providing an unequal inheritance or favoring one child financially ever fair? Is inequality always a sign of sibling favoritism?

Questions like these pour into my inbox each month. These letters come from distressed and heartbroken readers who are trying to figure out how to deal with financial unfairness from their parents.

What happens when parents financially support a sibling? Does that child become dependent on his or her parent’s money? Does he or she ever learn to break free from the cycle of handouts?

How do financial gifts impact the other siblings? What happens when that sibling favoritism continues into adulthood?

Each time I open one of these letters, I pause, reflect on my thoughts, and respond as honestly as possible. The first set of questions arrived in an email six years ago. Since then, a slew of letters have trickled into my inbox, including one I received two days ago.

Why do they keep coming, and what do readers hope to gain by reaching out to me? The answers may surprise you.

Parents Favoring One Child Financially

Six years ago, I watched a close family member deal with issues of sibling rivalry. After a lifetime of witnessing financial favoritism, he began to break down.

It’s hard to watch someone you love struggle this way. After wrestling with my own thoughts, I wrote a short post about it. I described a set of parents that continually give more money to one child.

To be clear, I’m not talking about grown children with special needs or emotional or physical hardships. Splitting an estate into equal amounts may not be possible when one adult child requires more financial resources to survive and thrive. In these situations, estate planning must take these different needs into account.I’m talking about two healthy adult children who have similar capabilities and intelligence.

The story plays out in families everywhere. One child works hard, saves his or her money, and succeeds in life. That child doesn’t watch his or her siblings act the same way. Instead, he or she watches them play hard, have fun, and struggle to pay their bills.

Parents fill the gap between the second sibling’s income and the life he or she wants to lead. As the days turn into months and years, the depth of financial inequality grows.

The rest of the children witness this financial unfairness. They continue to watch their parents financially support a sibling—a sibling who is unwilling to make it on their own.

As the scale tips in favor of one child over another, the resentment between siblings builds. When the emotional toll becomes unbearable, sibling relationships shatter.

Favoring One Child Over Another

It’s been many years since I wrote that post, but the old timestamp doesn’t deter readers from reaching out to me. I still receive heartfelt emails from readers who stumble upon it. These readers feel broken and defeated by financial favoritism in their family.

They reach out for comfort. They want someone to say I understand and I’m sorry. The pain in those letters is palpable. The raw emotions often bring me to tears.

How to Deal With Parents Who Favor Another Sibling

One letter begins; “My parents favor my older sister, and it hurts me to see them together.” Another says, “I feel left out of my whole family. How can I deal with parents who favor my sibling and have favored her for years?”

The third reads, “Why do my parents favor the bad child? My parents favor my brother over me and buy him everything. He is selfish and only cares about himself. My parents never give me any money.”

I am not a trained psychologist. I’m just a blogger who writes about money. I read these words and provide my opinion when readers ask for it.

After years of reading those letters, I felt the need to revisit this topic. I hope that others will stumble upon this new post. I hope they will find an outlet to express their thoughts and feelings.

What are some ways in which parents show financial favoritism? Here are a few details I’ve received from readers over the years. Each is a demonstration of parents favoring one child.

  • My parents bought my sister a car but didn’t buy one for me.
  • My parents paid for my siblings college tuition and expenses but not mine.
  • My parents buy my sister everything.
  • My parents bought my sibling a house.
  • My brother gets everything he wants.
  • My parents bought my sibling a house.

My Parents Favor My Brother Over Me

Let’s discuss a hypothetical scenario—picture two biological sons raised in the same household. The first grown child is a go-getter. He works hard in school, graduates on time, and secures a decent job after college.

As the years wear on, his salary increases. This sibling earns money and saves. He doesn’t live an extravagant life by any means. He eats at home, drives old cars, and vacations close to home.

The second grown child does not take advantage of his opportunities. He fails out of college and begins working at a lower starting salary than his brother. He burns through money as quickly as he earns it.

My Parents Keep Giving My Brother Money

When he runs out of cash, this brother is happy to spend his parent’s money. He consistently accepts their handouts and always chooses the pricier options in life.

His parents buy him a house and an expensive car. They do not offer the other child any of these benefits. This enables the favored child to spend his own money on extravagant vacations.

He can spend money on anything his heart desires. If he goes into debt, his parents hand out money to repair his bad spending habits and poor life decisions.

Now put yourself in those shoes. What if your parents buy your brother everything he wants. What if you pay for the things you need while your brother spends your parents money without batting an eyelash? How does it feel when your parents favor your brother over you? How does it feel when your parents keep giving your brother money?

My Parents Favor My Sister Over Me

Now let’s discuss a second scenario. This time picture two biological daughters raised in the same household. In this example, the older child chooses a career in engineering while the younger child chooses a career in teaching. Again the first child can afford the items she desires. The second child cannot.

In this case, should the parents provide financial assistance to the younger sister? Should they buy her sports equipment, summer vacations, and a down payment on a house or new car? Should they buy nice things because she cannot afford them?

If you were the parent in these scenarios, would you offer financial assistance? Would you answer the same way for the scenario for both examples? Did the details of the story cause you to react differently? How would it feel if your parents provided your brother or sister with a handful of cash, but didn’t offer you any?

Now imagine you are a sibling in these examples.

My Parents Bought My Sibling a House

How would you feel if your parents bought your sibling a house and didn’t give you anything at all? Maybe your parents helped your brother buy a home he could never afford on his own, or your dad secretly pays your brothers’ rent. How does it feel when you watch house prices rise and know you can’t save up for a down payment?

Maybe you’ve approached your parents for money. Do they refuse to give you cash or tell you they can’t help? In a perfect world, your parents wouldn’t buy your sibling a house without providing you with a similar financial gift, but if you’ve read this far, you know the world isn’t perfect.

parents giving more money to one child

Parents Giving More Money To One Child

As a parent, would you be willing to give more money to one child than another? If you are willing to offer your adult children money, you are not alone. Nearly 75% of parents are helping their children financially.

Many parents provide financial assistance to their adult children, but what happens when gifts aren’t handed out equally? Is it ever okay for parents to give more money to one child? What happens when parents keep giving more money to one child? What happens when sibling favoritism continues into adulthood?

Children can grow into angry, frustrated adults. Imagine yourself in the same situation. How would you feel if your parents gave money to one child without ever offering to help you?

The examples above are not fictitious stories. They are real-world examples emailed by grown men and women.

Why do readers email me? Because it feels awkward and strange to discuss this topic in the real world. Admitting that your parents favor one child financially isn’t an easy task. It’s one of those dirty money problems no one wants to talk about. Once you utter this sentiment, you can’t take back your words.

Many of my readers feel ashamed and embarrassed. They can’t talk openly for fear that others will judge them or perceive them as being greedy.

They can’t discuss the situation in real life. When they do, friends tell them to keep their noses out of their parent’s business.

“You have everything you need,” their friends tell them. “Why are you asking for equality? Things aren’t equal now. You can pay for your own stuff. Why do you care if your parents give more money to one child? Why do you want more?”

Some of you will agree with these sentiments. You may be reading this post, thinking “get over it” or “stop complaining.” You may say, “It’s the parents’ money; they can do whatever they want with it.” If you feel this way, you were most likely raised in a balanced family where you felt appreciated and loved.

I’ve never dealt with financial inequality in my own family, but I have seen it many times. In those cases, the favoritism was extensive. Parents didn’t just give one sibling more money. They gave more love and attention too.

Sibling Financial Favoritism

What is sibling financial favoritism? Financial favoritism occurs when parents provide unequal financial gifts to their children. Giving more money to one child isn’t just a monetary issue. Favoring one child financially disrupts the family balance. It can lead to a lifetime of resentment and pain.

Siblings talk about money, balance ledgers, unequal inheritances, wills, and other financial jargon. Talking this way makes them appear greedy and selfish, but in reality, this isn’t about money. Complex family dynamics create a wide range of emotions, and these grown children feel angry, sad, and distressed.

This pain extends back through childhood. It involves sibling rivalries that began when they were small. It stems from the belief that parents love one sibling more than another. They feel like their parents play favorites and provide preferential treatment to the child they love.

As young children, kids measure parental affection in hugs and kisses. As adults, they begin to equate money with love. The idea of sibling financial favoritism weighs heavily upon them. Parents who favor one child over the other leave can leave one child with deep emotional scars. It occupies their thoughts and leaves them feeling hurt and unloved.

Some of you want to know, “Why would the successful sibling feel jealous of financial inequality? If the child is financially stable, why would they care if their parents give more money to one child?”

The reasons are complex.

Helping One Child

Here is an example: One reader spoke at length about wanting to become an artist. Although she dreamed of creating art, she chooses a job as an accountant. She chose a stable, well-paid profession so she wouldn’t have to worry about paying her bills.

In contrast, her sister studied writing and dreamed of becoming a novelist. While she wrote books, her parents paid for her food and housing.

The ‘successful’ sibling was miserable. What would her life be like if she had pursued her passion? If she knew her parents would foot the bill, she would have chosen a different profession.

She was successful but miserable. The ability to pay her bills did not leave her feeling happy and fulfilled.

The same goes for many other readers who talk about working in jobs they hate. They trudge off to work while their lower-paid siblings live off their parents’ subsidies.

These readers feel less love from their parents. If they quit their jobs, would their parents support them? Most of the people who write to me believe their parents wouldn’t give them a dime.

Why Does a Parent Favor One Child?

Why does a parent favor one child? Sometimes parents gravitate towards certain children. This often happens if they have similar temperaments, personalities, or physical attributes. Other times they side with a child who is easy to get along with or one who can be easily manipulated and controlled.

Favoritism hurts. When parents favor one child financially, this pain intensifies. Sibling financial favoritism destroys relationships between family members. It’s difficult to watch a sibling get more love, attention, and financial rewards too.

Complex Feelings: Bitterness and Anger

It’s hard to stand by while a sibling receives handouts. Will your sibling ever stop spending your parents’ money? Will he or she ever stop accessing the bank of mom and dad?

It makes some adult children cry out, “It’s not fair!” Sure we all know life isn’t fair, but when the inequality stems from within the family unit, it can be harder to bear.

Some of my readers are mistaken for being greedy. One reader said she didn’t really want the money. She wanted her family to recognize that she didn’t have an amazing life.

Her parents kept telling her she had everything and to feel grateful. It didn’t matter that she was horribly unhappy in her stable job.

She said, “My sister has it so easy. She works in a job she loves, and my parents foot the other bills. In the meantime, I stare miserably at the side of a cubicle all afternoon. I’m stuck in a job I don’t love.”

Defining and Judging Needs

Many of the readers who write to me live within their means. They carefully weigh their wants and needs. Many of them drive old cars and live in smaller houses. They watch their parents pay for new cars or bigger homes for their siblings.

Disciplined adults buy used products and forgo camp for their kids. Their siblings are unwilling to live with less. They ask for money for equipment and pricey sleep away camps.

Their definition of the term needs differs greatly from their family’s definition. They want their parents to say, “no, you don’t need that pricey stuff’ and they feel hurt when that doesn’t happen.

Parents Financially Support Sibling

parents giving more money to one child

I have not experienced financial inequality from my own parents. I have seen it many times via extended family members.

Conflict arises when one sibling perceives the other as lazy. Readers say things like: If I work hard, stay on track and save my money, I can afford a house in a nice community.

If my sibling does not do these things, does he ‘deserve’ the same life that I live? Do we not make choices in our lives and have to live by the choices we made? What about the sacrifices I have made to achieve my goals?

If I choose to become a software engineer, then I may earn a lot, but I might not enjoy my job. In that case, money wins over enjoyment. If my sibling chooses to become an artist, she may love her job but not be able to afford a house in a nice community.

Resentment grows when a sibling sees his or her counterpart getting the best of both worlds: a life they enjoy and financial success (in the form of money from their parents).

The bitterness blooms when a sibling has to forge his own path in life. Then watches his parents financially support a sibling without a care in the world.

Imagine working hard in a job you don’t love to pay your mortgage. Now imagine watching your parents buy your sibling a house he can’t afford.

How does it feel for one sibling to settle into a career while the other runs up debt? Is it fair for the parents to play favorites and even the financial score?

That sibling had the time of his life and ends up right on track with his sibling, who had to work hard. Many readers are resentful of their siblings. “I didn’t enjoy the last ten years the way my sibling did, and now we are on equal ground.”

How to Deal with Financial Unfairness from Parents

How do you deal with unequal financial support from your parents? Do they divide their money in a way that feels unfair and unjustified? How do you handle their financial favoritism?

First, ask yourself, “What bothers you about your parents’ decision to give more money to your sibling?” Is it really about the money, or is there something deeper to explore?

Why are you upset about your parents’ decision to provide unequal financial gifts? Have you always felt less important than your sibling? Have your parents always treated your brother or sister differently? Do you think your parents love your sibling more than you?

What can you do in these types of situations? How can you deal with financial unfairness from your parents? First, try to accept your feelings.

It’s easy for outsiders to say, “I wouldn’t be upset or feel angry.” Good for them. They are not you. You have a right to feel unhappy about the situation. Don’t let anyone shame you for the way you feel. Recognize the complex emotions for what they are rather than what others tell you they should be.

Unfortunately, you may not be able to change the situation. Most of the time, you have to accept it for what it is without letting your negative feelings overwhelm you.

If your parents give more money to your sibling, they will probably continue to do so. Unfortunately, once your brother or sister accepts your parents’ handouts, he or she will continue to ask for more. It’s incredibly difficult to break the circle of dependency once it begins.

If you are able to pay your bills, then the good news is that you don’t need your parents’ money. You made it on your own.

You can count the blessings in your life and focus on the positive things that surround you. Do you have a good relationship with your spouse or significant other? Are the people in your life healthy and strong?

How to Deal With Parents Who Favor Your Sibling

If you are struggling to cope with your emotions, consider seeking advice from a trained therapist or counselor. Professionals can provide tools and techniques to help you deal with parental favoritism.

It’s not easy to deal with parents who favor one child over another. It may be difficult to watch your parents provide handouts on a routine basis. Pain and resentment may grow with each passing gift.

Bitter feelings often arise when parents become a crutch for a sibling’s bad behavior. The angriest letters come from readers whose parents financially support a sibling.

A little money here or there seems reasonable, but when the sibling can no longer survive without those handouts, the anger builds. Readers become downright irate at the thought of their siblings spending their parents’ hard-earned money.

In these situations, it’s important to keep a calm mind and clear head. Take deep breaths and reflect on your thoughts and feelings before talking to any members of your family.

Remember that your words and actions may impact your future relationships. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it should not be taken lightly either. Make sure you can discuss the subject matter calmly and rationally if you do choose to speak up.

I know that this won’t make up for the injustice you feel, but the truth is you have little to no say in the matter. If your brother or sister is willing to put his or her hand out for money, your parents will continue to supply gifts.

This will probably continue for most, if not all, of their adult life. Since the situation is unlikely to go away, your best option is to do your best to look beyond it.

If you are unhappy with your current life, search for ways to make it better. Learn about financial independence and strive to pursue your goals independently.

Sibling Spending Parents’ Money

Will your sibling ever stop spending your parents’ money? Over time it will become extremely difficult for your brother or sister to grow strong and capable. With each financial handout, your parents destroy your sibling’s desire to work and succeed. Over time a dependency forms that cannot be broken.

It’s little consolation, but this family situation will provide you with incredible resilience. As your parents support your sibling, they weaken his or her resolve.

You, on the other hand, have no choice but to make it on your own. So you will dig deep within yourself to achieve greatness. In many cases, you will become more successful in life than your favored sibling.

You will end up with more friends and deeper relationships outside of your family. Determined to be a success, you will strive for feats your sibling will never take on.

It’s easy to become weak when you don’t have to work hard to achieve financial success on your own. Look the other way when your parents support your sibling financially. Be thankful that you can find the will and determination to stand on your own successfully.

How do you deal with financial unfairness? What can you do when you feel less supported by your parents than your siblings? How do you come to terms with parents who don’t treat each child equally?

I don’t have all of the answers. They depend on your family dynamic, your ability to speak openly with your parents, and your belief that things could change.

Take Pride in Your Success

Be thankful for all that you have accomplished in life. Look around at your successes, write them down, and read that list to yourself regularly. You are in control of your life and your finances. Pat yourself on the back for that, because many people are not in the same situation.

Recognize that your parents may continue to enable your sibling. As a result, your brother or sister may continue to make the wrong choices and to act carelessly at times. Talk to them if you feel it will help, but approach your conversation carefully. Recognize, in most instances; they don’t want your advice and most likely won’t change their ways.

Accept the discrepancies. Your parents are not keeping a ledger of payments or ensuring their estate plan levels the playing field. In reality, they may not be able to ‘even the score’ or divide their estate equally.

Don’t keep a scorecard or lay your hopes on receiving more money upon their death. That’s just creepy, plus for all, you know, they will outlive you. Don’t waste your time on this Earth waiting to see what happens when someone dies. Make peace with the situation as it stands right now!

I realize this is all easier said than done. Believe me, I do, but in time it does get better if you change your frame of mind. Once you know you can’t do anything about it, you can stop carrying the bitterness around with you. Sometimes therapy is the best way to address your resentment.

Sibling Harmony and Balance

I hope to provide equal gifts to my own children, but I really have no idea what their lives will entail. I plan to talk to them about financial decisions. My goal is to avoid hurt feelings and pain. I will discuss my thoughts and ensure that communication remains open as much as possible along the way.

My mom served as a great example for me. She tried her best to create harmony in our family. As children, neither of us suffered from emotional or physical hardships, which certainly made it easier to balance our needs.

Still, I don’t want to diminish my mom’s efforts. She split her time, attention, love, and money equally. As a mom of two children, I know that’s harder to accomplish than it sounds.

Inheritance Favoritism

Unfortunately, this balance isn’t always easy to achieve. Family dynamics are complicated. Unresolved conflicts between siblings and parents can fester and grow well into adulthood. Add in the complexity of money, and the lines between love and loved ones can easily blur.

These negative feelings can persist as parents age and need financial support and long after they’re gone. Favoritism issues don’t end after a parent dies; in many cases, they flare after the funeral when inheritance favoritism rears its ugly head.

Sibling Balance: My Story

My own memory of familial balance came at the age of four or five.

“Am I your favorite?” I asked my mom as I climbed into her lap just before bedtime. I was sleepy from a long day of activities and in need of extra reassurance and love.

My mom’s expression grew soft. I paused quietly so she could answer. She looked down at me with her big brown eyes, pulled the hair away from my brow, and spoke without hesitation.

She didn’t have to ponder the question or think of an appropriate answer. “You know I love you and your brother equally,” she said. Her response felt like a simple fact, a truth that cannot be denied.

She gently cupped my face within her hands and planted a kiss upon my forehead. At that moment, I wholeheartedly believed her. To this day, I still do.

I hope one day, my children can say the same. I know we all do.

93 thoughts on “Financial Favoritism: Giving More Money to One Child”

  1. The most effective solution is to go no contact and walk away from the broken family unit. The number one reason for favoritism is narcissistic parents. Narcissists never change but can be shamed.

    • @Kris, I think it’s extremely difficult to walk away, but I agree in some cases it is the only solution to end the pain.

  2. Great thoughts put into words there. What some people fail to recognize that family is a system and it needs to remain in balance after the children have left the household. If parents don’t deal with all kids openly at a round table and instead do deals behind the others’ back that’s already a big no no. Once siblings no longer live in the same household with their parents the balance should remain.
    I am 5 years older with two kids living abroad and my father goes through great lenghts to convince himself that he is a loving grandad towards my family with nice meaningless words.
    When my little brother still without dependants had a free place to live over the lenght of +10 years, have been given a land, another land with a new 3 appartment building structurarly financed for him.
    On my end even though I had an appartment my Dad was enjoying it’s proceeds over the same period and I was renting and eventually paying mortage. And the best excuse my Dad can come up with that he gave me $5k after my marriage. Needless to say thats change compared to the uneqality I am referring to. My relief is meant to be that my father dies I can expect to get some handouts which puts me into an evil and greedy position.
    I am experiencing how “tolerating” this inbalance is eating me like a cancer from the inside. Shame on all those parents who not only break the balance but are also coward to admit their doing.

  3. Thank you for this article. I don’t know how I came to search for support around this topic, but I found reading this validating. The feelings I have make me feel ashamed and I can’t talk about it in real life with anybody, but I am hurt deep inside. My situation is that I am the older one, who was a top student and skilled artist as a teen, but went a practical route to pursue a corporate job and something like less enjoyable. I was responsible, and made sacrifices to save money including sharing a dodgy apartment in a weird neighborhood. My sister, whom I love very much, has been described as ‘living in my shadow’ – Something that I never realized growing up, but was pointed out to me later and I feel badly about. Her grades were always pretty good, but a shade lower than mine, she had more health issues, and she could never really get things over the finish line. As an adult, she pursued nonprofit careers, often criticising my choices, And my parents were constantly supporting her monetarily In ways that I never needed them too. She would always subtly ask them for monetary help and they would willingly provide it to her. I don’t necessarily think you would call it favoritism, because I think that if I asked for help they certainly would’ve happily given it to me as well. However, I never wanted to do that, and I have planned and made sacrifices in order to replicate the lifestyle that my parents gave to me when I was growing up. However, over the past 20 years this has continued, adding up to 100s of thousands With support for cars, more support for housing (whole down payment for a house in seattle since she has unpaid student loans still) than I ever received. I do not believe that there is any part of them loving her more than me. I really want to see her in a while a position as well, and it concerns me that she married somebody who is irresponsible and in some ways has been a burden to her. However, I see my parents as enabling my sister to never grow up, even though she is over 40 years old now, And it is something that I have felt bad about for over 20 years now. I have talked about it with my mother on and off over the years, and I think that there is part of them that feels bad seeing that their two daughters are in different places economically and they are trying to even things out; I have a more financially stable marriage, and I have earned my way over the years to an executive role, while my sister is a social worker. I think that what made me dredge this up again recently is that I know see a slight disparity in how our children are being treated… There are so many pictures of my niece up on their walls but none of my youngest son. I feel guilty for even voicing this, I’m really sad. It makes me feel selfish for thinking these things. Thanks for a venue to silently voice myself.

  4. Stumbled across this article while looking for support in my own situation. It helps to know I am not alone.
    My situation is not as bad as some of the other posts here. I have an older brother and who my parents support financially. I am not sure to what extent exactly. I know he and his wife receive 2000usd per month for their children (a few years ago it was 4000usd). I also know they get various financial gifts throughout the year, and some other things (e.g. they have received multiple cars as gifts when a previous one broke down, though usually they were hand me downs). My brother works for my parents, basically handles a lot of their apartments and building projects, and is trying to get his wife involved as well. He also runs a small business on the side, and homeschools all 4 children.
    Meanwhile, I work full-time and am financially independent, ever since I finished my university education, and some years before that. I had some inheritance that I used to finance my time at university, and still have a large sum leftover that I hope to invest in a house some day. My brother burnt through it years ago.
    For a while I was fine with my parents supporting my brother. I even turned down gifts from them and told them to give them to him because I thought he needed it more than me. At that time he had his first infant and was having issues with his partner, but he was working full time in logistics and was mostly independent. After his struggles before that, he seemed at least financially to finally get his life under control. He separated from his partner and met his now wife, who had a child from another relationship. They had two more children together, and at some point he decided to quit his job and open his business, which he has been struggling with for the last 7 years. He barely makes enough income to cover the rent for the office. He has told me he will never work for someone other than my parents again, and I know they are really easy on him. If he had worked for someone else he probably would have been fired a long time ago.
    I feel horrible about my jealousy. I tell myself my parents only do it for the grandchildren, and I sincerely believe so, but I still feel resentment about it. It is less about the money, but I have been feeling hurt because I chose the safe career option instead of pursuing my passion more, and my parents pressured me to do so because they didn’t want me to end up like my brother. I have been doubting my life choices for the past three years and have been growing more and more bitter towards my parents and brother. I have overanalyzed the situation, because not only does he get aid from my parents, he doesn’t have to pay taxes as his actual income is so low, because they gift him so much. Through their gifts they’re also saving him a ton of money. And on top they are involving him more and more in their business because he refuses to work for anyone else. I am worried he and his wife will drive us out. Also, my father seems to disapprove of me because I haven’t had children yet, and has made multiple comments about how women are ruining the workplace and are better off being stay at home mothers. I know he doesn’t say it about me directly, but it hurts nevertheless, because I worked hard to be where I am at. I am at the point where I am considering breaking off contact with them, because talking to them about it has not made the situation better. My parents put in more effort to spend time with me, and my mother tries to involve me more and splits her inheritance equally, but my father I think doesn’t agree with it.

  5. 5 siblings, 3 older girls, older brother then me …youngest girl. Others all 1year apart in age me 5 to 8 years younger. Entire life i was the weakest link. Too young and too small to count. My opinion meant nothing and still doesnt ascfamily dynamics dont change no matter how old you get. My father as he always said lives for my mother first and then us kids, my mother other way around. My Dad always treated us all equally my mother always favoured my brother and then had an order for the rest of us of which i come last. My Dad has always done whatever my mum says, she runs the family and makes all the decisions about the finances. My brother partied hard and Travelled the world did whatever he wanted whenever he wanted, has lead a very carefree life and although he still rents lives quite comfortably. He married once but never had children and got divorced because he wanted to keep partying. He always bagged our father and still does and lapped up the attention and money and other gifts my mother gives him and hides from my father. My sisters and i all had children but at some point became single parents. We went without and scrimped and saved and clawed our way back and never got handouts from our parents. Our parents (usually my mother) constantly gave my brother cash and other gifts and he lived with them again for years in his 40s, claiming he had no money and needed help. Within 6months he bought a brand new 75k Car. Us girls all have houses, the older 3 have at least 2 if not 4 properties. I have one. My parents are now in their 80s with ailing mental and physical health, they have decided to gift my brother 500k to buy a house because they dont want him to be renting anymore. (he rents an aprtment in the city with harbour views). He has a good paying job and earns over 100k per year. He was the highest paid in the family for several years.He hasnt bought a house because he doesnt want to. Its not about the money, i wouldnt take it even if it was offered. My parents arent rich 500k is 25% of their worth including their home. They dont live in luxury or own an expensive car. They basically have gone without, compromised their own aged care to look after my brother who doesnt need or deserve it. At the very least he could just leave their money with them until they die. And encourage them to spend it on themselves and live it up for the time they have left. I protested and told everyone what i think, now they say im the problem and my brother is not speaking to me. I just dont get it. Its like your own struggle means nothing and you are punished for being good children whilst he is rewarded and praised/ favoured for being an arshole. My father threatens giving it all to charity, to be honest i wish he would, as at least that would be fair and he wouldnt be breaking a 50 year promise that what one gets we all get. My brother has blatantly said several times that my dad will die first and as hes my mums favourite she will spend her money looking after him until she dies sadly this is probably true.

  6. All of these scenarios seem based on the notion of successful hard working and struggling children .
    Which then I’d say , why even ask why so ?
    There are different dynamics in every family .

    In my own , my Mother worked hard in multiple jobs .
    We grew up poor , but learned how to survive with what we had .

    Each of my siblings and I have our struggles, with poverty and life circumstances. Each of us strong and unique in our own ways .

    My mother found a new partner , they have been together for longer than my parents were
    He is a driven man , hard working, takes care of her wonderfully .
    And I’m thankful for that .

    We all still struggle. They have over all these years , helped my siblings time and again with money and help , and their grandchild and great grandchild.

    In all of these years .
    I have only ever been given money once by them in my life , the sum of 200 dollars. That’s it . And I’m the one who actually makes an effort to come visit regularly .

    I have schizophrenia, am unable to work . Yet I am happy and have found a good life by my own decisions and effort . I think, am I upset by all of this apparent disregard ?

    The answer is no .
    It is what it is . My life has taught me to accept what is , to cherish the good you find , the love you find .
    Nor to envy or hold anger to others for what they have and I not.

    It is what it is . I enjoy what benefit of laughter abs good conversations I recive , and they have been very helpful and giving in other ways .

    Ultimately, I rather take this all as a compliment as a sign of respect that they both feel that I’m up to the challenges of my life .
    And the same , many times I have wished I had the money to help my siblings and family .
    So I feel grateful that they are receiving the help that they need when those circumstances arise.

    Life is enough of a struggle , to want to waste ones time and energy creating more problems for oneself.
    And the same, life is too filled with an abundance of wonder and beauty .
    To waste ones time darkening ones days with bitter anger and resentment .

    Be where you are !
    Love those who you can love .
    Be grateful for the gifts you have .
    And learn to hold the struggle and pain in your life , close to your heart in a loving grateful embrace .

    For tho all of the good things you recive are a blessing in life .
    It is the strength you find in the struggles of life , which may give one the currage and confidence you need to walk proudly towards your dreams .

    And better then one is able .
    To appreciate the magic of a setting sun , clear cool drinks of water , and the beauty and wonder of a mirrical which is this world , our home .
    Our Mother Earth .

    When one observes nature , one can see , that amongst all this beauty .
    Our Mother Earth doesn’t coddle her children , she wants them to be strong !

    So don’t be petty or make yourself spiteful and bitter .
    Life can be sweet along with the sour.

    One just needs to choose the right attitude .
    No one has it easy .
    Love and accept, forgive yourself , so you can learn to gift the same to others .

  7. Your post and the subsequent replies almost left me crying. Thanks everyone for bringing out your stories and helping me get rid of the guilt I am carrying around, despite being the unfavoured child.

    And yes, I can make out most of the people posting here are in US or UK. Well, here’s one from India. So the trend of financial favoritism is ethnicity agnostic.

    I will not really write my story here, as it resonates with a few of the posts made already. But I will write about my feelings and the guilt as a 39year old unfavoured younger brother to a 42year old one.

    * Firstly, my parents “claim” he is not talking about individual money and cares more about the overall family wealth. Therefore they brand me as greedy and selfish.

    * Secondly, like someone else, they pose of his business as innovative and cutting-edge etc to the outer world, while they continue to pay his expenses (both large and small). But the catch here is – his own business isn’t struggling either, infact is quite successful financially. He just doesn’t withdraw money from it and keeps mooching the ‘family wealth’ for his expenses.

    * Thirdly, and again like someone else, I missed out on pursuing my dream career in-order to chase financially rewarding one so I feel unfulfilled when I see them sponsoring his expenses and he pursuing his dream career. My parents term it as my jealousy.

    So now I am greedy, jealous and he is successful to the world. Sort of double-whammy that not only is he good – but I am bad.

    I know it can’t be fixed. But I’d welcome suggestions on how to cope with it and improve my self-image as it has drowned to the lowest, especially due to years of favoritism.

    • Stories like yours are difficult to read. My suggestion is to find people who believe in you and to believe in yourself. Unfortunately, we can’t change the lot we’ve been given by our parents, but we can learn to see all the greatness within ourselves. Money is not the means by which we should measure ourselves. Think about all of the other characteristics about your self. If your family can’t see them, look in the mirror and see them with your own two eyes. I wish you all the best. I know this journey is hard.

  8. Found this through a Google search. Thank you for the good info.
    Read through it because it’s happening through my whole adult life, and I am 60 now. My sister chose to drop out of programs, to get drunk a lot, to stop working when she got pregnant with her first child, and my parents have floated her and her husband their whole lives. Now my mother has made her executor of her will, given her POA, and is leaving her more money.
    My sister’s son is going to college on my mother’s dime My kids took out loans.
    I have worked my entire life, since age 15, am divorced, raised my children myself, and have struggled. I barely have retirement money. My sister is a difficult person and has physically assaulted me, literally assaulted me. I had to get a restraining order. Yesterday at the bank my mother laughed and said, “I guess you better hope your sister is in a good mood when I die.”
    I decided I am moving. Just leaving them. Father is dead, Mother has chosen her Golden Child, and let them have a wonderful lifetime together. I don’t feel like visiting my elderly mother anymore.
    It’s maddening. I have struggled. I’m not watching this from the CEO suite
    Thank you for letting me vent.

  9. I discovered my parents continuously gave my brother automatic monthly payments in the bank and paid his child support for his kids only after my mom developed Alzheimer’s disease. My parents kept it a secret from me for almost 30 years. With the Alzheimer’s she forgot to keep the secret.
    I was so hurt and felt a huge betrayal. I felt I have been a dream daughter all my life. I decided to fight my parents and pressured my father to adjust their will in a fair manner. I calculated what I knew, for sure, they gave my brother, including all monthly payments for 20 years and the difference of buying him an entire apartment while paying for 50% of mine, and they went to their lawyer and fixed the will. The corrected will still did not reflect the total truth but it was an improvement for me.

    Always fight for justice! It’s the only way to ever be any closer to fix corruption. Corruption can happen anywhere: countries, governments and sadly parents.

  10. We are three, the 2 oldest have been independent for most of their lives, but my younger sister has always been mooching off my parents. I’m not sure if she asked them at one point, but they feel bad for her (divorce, low paying job) and soothe their feelings with money. Growing up they were big on equal treatment for all of us, but now that we’re adults, that went out the window.

    Casually I discovered they were footing the bills for her family, almost completely, even paying for cruises and vacations. Both sister and her husband worked, but my parents felt they needed help so they had a free house, free trips, and probably more. As a result my sister marriage collapsed since her husband, not feeling financially responsible for the family, spent all his money on parties, motorcycles and luxuries, eventually abandoning the family to “enjoy” his life.

    Instead of recognizing the part they played, they felt even worse for her and supported her totally. She stopped working at all. 3 years later, she married again and they bought a house for her and kids, only on her name. That was OK with me, since they also helped me and my other sibling with a down payment (not a whole house, but prices are different where we are). I thought the financial train had stopped, but come to find out they are still sending her money monthly since, in their opinion, her husband doesn’t make a lot. She’s still not working and my parents haven’t learn their lesson. They as a family have all the potential to support themselves, but since they don’t feel the need…

    My family, through not fault of our own, have been unemployed for 2.5 years (long story: caring for relatives on my husband side, Covid). We sold our house and went to live with my parents since now they need help, but my parents insist we pay for everything other than food. We’ve been helping and we’re looking for jobs, but when I mentioned to my father that I needed money, he was unmoved. A day later he deposited money on my sister’s account. I try not to feel slighted, but I feel they’re being unfair to us (both other siblings) that are supporting ourselves.

    I know she (my sister) can work, she just decides not to. Her husband probably can get more clients, but again, doesn’t feel the need. Why if they’re getting a nice amount monthly just for existing? Meanwhile, my family is living off our savings, with no money coming in at all and my parents feel we should keep spending our few assets.

    If they were not helping her, I wouldn’t feel so bad about our situation, but is a glaring difference that they choose to fund her expenses, and have done so for 20 years and cannot help us when they are completely aware of our financial status. It’s mostly my father, who was the bigger earner and has more resources, though my mother doesn’t say anything to try to change it.


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