Bankruptcy And The Adult Child.

07 Aug Bankruptcy And The Adult Child.

More often than not I see parents filing bankruptcy in part because they are taking care of adult children. These parents do not understand the court does not care that they have chosen to take care of a healthy adult child. Is this a harsh stance?

Families are often complicated.

Families are often complicated.

Harsh or not it is the reality of the system. If you want to reorganize or eliminate your debts you must abide by the system or have your case dismissed. In two of my cases the parents were willing to lose their home and/or vehicles in order to continue to care for their healthy and capable adult children. These adult children did not have specials needs but rather could not afford the life style they were living and are not willing to change their lifestyle.

These hardworking parents will seek out a second or third job to stay afloat but the adult child either will not work or refuses to take on a second job. My response has been and will continue to be: Why would they? In this generation we do not reward or instill a work ethic anymore. All you have to do is look to reality television to confirm this notion of entitlement.

When someone says to me I cannot find a job, I will update them with the latest companies who are hiring. They begin to squirm and say: Well it does not pay enough or I would never work there. Reality glaringly reveals that it is not that many people cannot get a job it is that that do not want a job. Many want money but they are not willing to do what it takes to earn it. Hence the reason why so many adults move back home to their parents.

Now some adult children are busting the back ends to work a job and simply cannot afford to live because of taxes and student loans. This is not the group of adults I am referring too as these adults will do whatever it takes to achieve success. There are accepting their responsibility of being adults. But not every adult is a responsible adult regardless of how great the parent is.

One of the toughest jobs as a parent is letting your child grow up. The ultimate goal for the child is to stand on their own two feet and become a productive member of society. Enabling them to avoid leaving the nest and becoming a productive adult not only hurts that adult child but it can hurt the parent as well.

Parents only see their child in need and swoop in to help but often do not think of the consequences the assistance can bring. Keep in mind that if you lose your home, none of you will have shelter. If you lose your vehicle, none of you will have transportation. If you lose your job taking care of others, no one will have money to take care of everyday needs.

What is the solution? How do you assist your adult child without losing everything you spent your whole life working for? I subscribe to the Dr. Phil’s school of thought and tough love is sometimes the best kind of love you can give.

If you are in this situation set guidelines and goals.

  1. Review and assist with their resume. You can go online here.
  2. Require that they submit five applications a week and ask where they submitted the applications.
  3. If you are providing food, shelter and/or transportation require them to assist with chores around the home. You worked hard for the money to pay for these things. They too need to earn the privilege of your rewards. Additionally it helps their self-esteem by assisting you.
  4. Set a deadline to get a job, any job and keeping a job.
  5. When they starting working, immediately require rent. It does not matter how much you charge, charge something. Then increase it each month. This is a non-confrontational way to encourage them to get back out in the game of life.
  6. Above all else place them on a contract laying out all the terms above. Although it may not be legally enforceable it allows both you and the adult child to be on the same page.

If they do not comply with the program or wish to be held accountable this is okay. Why? Because this does not make you a bad parent and it does not mean that they are a bad human being. Just as you have free will and make the choice to do whatever it takes to survive, THEY HAVE WILLINGLY MADE THE CHOICE to just take whatever handouts you or anyone else is willing to provide.

Respect their choice and take control of the situation. If they want your help to get back on their feet then they must willing to accept your terms. NOT the other way around.

Remember, knowledge is power and the more knowledge you have about your adult child’s progress in seeking employment the more power you will have in assisting them to get back on their feet without losing everything you worked for.

Image credit: Rachel Lynn Foley

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Former Bankruptcy Attorney to the Kansas City UAW: Ford and GM workers, now assisting the general public in Missouri and Kansas with regaining financial control using the Bankruptcy Code. 816-472-HELP (4357).

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