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Weekly Reader 6.27.11

Bank of Mom and Dad?

Many adult children know that if financial troubles befall them they can turn to the “bank of  mom and dad.”  While parents whose own financial situation allows them to provide a safety net are willing to help their adult children in a crisis, they don’t want to be considered an ATM machine either.

In “Should You Bail Out Your Adult Child?” the Jackson (Michigan) Citizen Patriot asked financial advisors for points to consider before writing that check:

  • Work as a team with your spouse: Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page when your child comes knocking.
  • Assess the need: Determine whether your child’s request is either a need or want. Your son wants a flat screen TV and your daughter needs rent money after she lost her job.
  • Be realistic: Before handing out any money, consider whether the terms will actually be met. If the adult child has shown a consistent lack of financial responsibility, the odds are that a loan will not be repaid. If you still would like to give them money, give it as a gift instead.

The advisors also suggest that be clear whether the money is a gift or a loan.  If it’s a loan put down the repayment terms—how much monthly and over what period of time—on paper and have both parents and child sign the document.

Family Democracy vs. Dictatorship

What’s the difference between authoritative and authoritarian when it comes to parenting?

Authoritative parents set rules but are open to discussion, sort of like a family democracy.  Authoritarian is more of a dictatorship where parents lay down the law and expect it to be followed…or else.

Not surprisingly, the democracy-minded fathers have a closer relationship with their adult children than do the dictator-types, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. The study was conducted by Brigham Young University professors.  HealthDay News reports that Larry Nelson,  a BYU family life professor, found that:

Dads who combine love, high expectations and respect for their children’s independence were closer to their kids — even as they transitioned into young adults. In turn, the children of authoritative dads were also kinder and had more self-worth than children of more authoritarian fathers.

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