She's Got "Kids" Who Mooch


Dear Jack,

Although I am not old, I have two grown children. One is married, one is in (for her) a long term relationship of a little over seven months.

My problem is that anytime my spouse and I try to do anything, like go on vacation or even just go out for dinner and a show, my children get mad if I don't invite them along. I wouldn't mind inviting them, in fact I welcome their company, except that they expect me to pay for everything for them and their partners/spouses: everything from picking up the tab at dinner to airline and cruise tickets. I find myself sneaking around or making up stories to explain my absences. I am thankful that they call every day, as I have friends who rarely hear from their kids at all, but sometimes I am a little envious and would prefer not so much attention.

You have grown kids. Do yours do this to you? What can I do to make them stop?

Tired of Sneaking Around

Dear Sneak,

I decided to use your letter not because I expect to be able to help you with your problem, but as a warning to all young parents out there.

Your kids do this to you for one rather simple reason: because you let them. I suspect they ruled your house from an early age, because it was just easier to give in and let them have their way, wasn't it? I would also bet good money that you are divorced from their other parent and spent their teenage years competing with your ex for the affections of your children, most likely by buying them whatever they wanted.

Spoiled brat kids grow up to be spoiled brat adults. But I might be able to help you, if you have the spine to follow my advice. What you have to do is this: Tell your kids to piss off. Let them get mad at you. Tell them they are welcome to come along, but only when you want them there, and if they come, they have to pay their own way. The gravy train has reached the end of the line. Time for everyone grow up.

But you already knew this, didn't you?

Got a problem? Jack Waggon will set you straight:

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