Treating siblings fairly is the eternal struggle of parenthood. It’s almost impossible to keep the oldest from taking on too much responsibility or having the youngest end up in some sort of eternal babyhood. With all the challenges of balancing fair treatment, I don’t know why this mom on Mumsnet is introducing money issues into her kid’s dynamic, but here we go.
Posting under the name BelleClapper, she asked commenters, “How do you square this without causing resentment?”
“Dd (17) is working full time on an apprenticeship course,” she explains. “We are charging her rent/keep/petrol equivalent to 25% of her take home. DS (18) up until now was planning to leave college and get a job. He announced yesterday that he is now accepting the three University offers he got a while back. As an aside he’s just split up with his GF of two years who was absolutely definitely in no way the reason he wasn’t going…”
“So we will be in a position of taking money from DD and sending money to DS,” she continued. “Which has totally changed the dynamic. I’m really conscious of causing resentment from DD who already suffers a bit with middle child syndrome and jealousy.
“If you’ve been in this situation what did you do? I want DD to contribute for lots of reasons, none of which go away just because DS now needs three more years of support.”
A lot of people suggested that mom collect the money, then save it and give it back to her when she moves out, like a surprise nest egg. Unfortunately, that still means several years of brewing resentment. Some said she should just stop taking money from her kid to give to another kid:
But mom didn’t seem to see reason, insisting that her daughter needed to learn some responsibility. I guess the question is, what then is her son learning?