I want to thank all of the readers who left comments on last week’s posts: What Do You Think: Unequal Financial Handouts From Parents and Unequal Financial: Handouts Would You Turn Down a Gift From Your Parents? I appreciate the honesty and sincerity in your words.
Before closing this topic, I wanted to leave a few last remarks. First, I’ve never dealt with financial inequality in my own family. For the most part, my parents treat my brother and me equally. If my mom buys something for me, she makes every effort to purchase a gift of equal value for my brother or his family.
There is only one time in my life that I can remember my parents not evening the score. They once paid for gutter covers for my brother’s house but did not offer my husband and me any money in return.
When I brought the inequality to my parents’ attention (I only mentioned it because the discrepancy had gotten into my husband’s craw), they offered to write me a check for the same amount of money. (I did not take them up on that offer.)
My brother and I hold/held down high-paying technical jobs and are both careful with money. Thankfully neither one of us has ever needed to rely on my parents.
When we were growing up, my father stressed the importance of a college education. My parents paid for our college expenses. Once we received our diplomas, we would be on our own.
As for my immediate family, I have only one child, so I cannot comment on financial equality among children in my household. Though I hope I would always be fair, I’m sure that many other parents who mistreat their children once believed the same thing. Wouldn’t we want everyone to be treated equally in an ideal world?
Unequal Gift Giving
Although I haven’t dealt with financial inequality in my own life, I have witnessed it with other family members. Regardless of the reason for unequal financial handouts, the result is usually the same: someone gets hurt.
No matter how strong and capable you are, it can be challenging to watch a sibling receive financial handouts from your parents, especially when that sibling does not appear to work as hard or focus on saving as much as you do.
There is nothing worse than seeing a loved one hurt by their family members. Parents may feel that they are simply providing more money to one of their children, but in reality, the other child feels unappreciated and unloved.
In my heart, I like to believe that most parents do not willingly hurt their children. I like to think parents don’t understand how their children perceive unequal gifts. I hope that they want the best for all of their children, not just the one who is always holding a hand out for them to fill.
Am I being naive? Perhaps parents know what they are doing and proceed, knowing that one of their children will be hurt. Maybe they think their other child is strong enough to handle their decisions. Perhaps they don’t care.
Gifting Money to Siblings
From what I’ve seen in families where financial inequality exists, there is also a lack of communication among family members. The golden child continues to receive handouts while the other child sits by, unable to speak up about the situation.
Of course, in these situations, communication may not matter. When broaching the subject, parents often have one reason or another to continue favoring a child. While parents try to legitimize their actions, the other child may hear nothing but excuses.
The best course of action in this situation is to try and release the bitterness you feel. You have to accept the case for what it is and try not to let the negative feelings overwhelm you.
You have no control over the way your parents dole out their money, so your best action is not to brood over their unfair treatment.
Unequal Financial Handouts and Bitterness
If you are successful, 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 surrounding you. Do you have a good relationship with your spouse or significant other? Are the people in your life healthy and strong?
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 their hand out for money, your parents will continue supplying them with gifts.
These behaviors will probably continue for most if not all of their adult lives. Since the situation is unlikely to go away, your best option is to relax, breathe and do your best to look beyond it.
I realize this is all easier said than done, but in time it does get better if you change your frame of mind about it. I am thankful that we do not need the support of other family members.
It doesn’t make their actions right, but it does feel good knowing that we don’t need to rely on anyone other than ourselves. These days I’ve changed my perspective on the topic of unequal financial gifts from family members.
I know I can’t do anything about it. As a result, I’ve decided not to carry all of that bitterness around with me anymore.