Helping Adult Children

Dear Sara,

Our oldest son and his wife, parents of a ten-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl are having serious financial difficulties. Over the past few years, my son has had several jobs and seemed to lose them because of one reason or another and spent time at home while his wife worked full time and he has become a house husband because of their finances. Now he has been forced to take a job from 4:00 PM until 1:00 AM. Their parenting skill are very different and they rarely talk or present a united front. Our granddaughter has taken to writing her Dad notes almost daily, regarding Mom’s behavior (bad cooking, discipline issues, etc.) for him to read when he gets home. He doesn’t share these with his wife though she has read some and tells me she is “being thrown under the bus.” I believe she really wants to try but is impatient with the children. and mostly yells. I am very concerned and see the kids manipulating both of them and it is affecting their relationship. I know they need to be on the same page and present a united front. Is there anything you can recommend to help them get it together? They can’t afford counseling. Thanks for any advice.

Dear Francie,

By being passive your son is communicating to his children that it’s OK to disrespect their Mom. She is right in saying she is being “thrown under the bus”. What the kids need to hear (like yesterday) is that even though they disagree with Mom she is the boss. They also need to ask “what did you do that made Mom angry”? The main problem here is that your son and his wife aren’t talking to each other. This inability to communicate is affecting their relationship and their role as parents. I realize that having financial problems puts a strain on the whole family and that your son losing his income probably has affected his self-esteem. Part of being married is to support and each other. Encourage them to take some time to talk face to face and try to resolve the problems this way. If they can’t get through this by themselves without help maybe you could help them financially to get some family counseling.


  1. Until they communicate and get on the same page, they have a problem. Parents need to be on the SAME PAGE when it comes to parenting, not working against each other. There is also a lesson here to keep the kids from being divisive, sniveling little tattle tales.

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