Ask Amy: I’m in financial trouble since I keep giving money to my son

Dear Amy: I am a mother of three “adult” sons. One of them, soon to be 21 years old, is not acting like an adult.

He chose to move a little over a year ago, with no plan and no place to live. He’s bounced between friends’ houses, had a brief stay at his brother’s house, and stayed with a family he met at a church he attended. Not sure where he lives now.

I have given him a lot of money over the last 14 months, and I mean A LOT! I put myself in a terrible financial situation (didn’t pay credit card bills for months, cashed out the tiny amount of retirement savings I had, etc.).

I did this to help him, only to find out (by his own admission) that he lied to me about many things, including the value of money, having a job, and letting other people text me on his phone asking for money as if it were him, etc.

There was a brief hiatus in asking for money for about six weeks when he lived with a family from his church and worked. Now he’s back to asking for money almost every day.

I promised myself I wouldn’t help him again, but I can’t bear the thought of him going without food or a place to stay. I need your help to figure out how to say no to him without feeling terrible guilt and constant worry.

I worry that he doesn’t have the skills to do it on his own (he’s on the autism spectrum, high functioning), but then again, I think he’s a master at tripping me up to get what he wants.

My fear is that when I finally say no to one of his requests, that will be when he really needs it. No one knows how much I have sacrificed and given up for him — not even my partner. I’m ashamed to tell anyone.

Poor: You know you shouldn’t give your son money, so the next time he asks you, you should offer to meet him in person to share a meal with him or give him food.

If he is involved with a church community, you could reach out to the leadership to thank them for how they have helped him in the past and ask what resources might be available to him now.

Do NOT give him cash — ever. Your practice of doing this has impoverished you and may have contributed to his problems.

A clinical social worker could work with both of you to connect them with supportive programs and resources for someone with their particular challenges. He sounds like a savvy survivor, but he desperately needs some training and support for work and life skills.

You need to let your partner know about it. Your financial privacy will damage an important close relationship, at a time when you need personal support.

Dear Amy: What’s up with all these hugs?

I may consider you a good friend, but I don’t want to hug you at every (or any) meeting. I especially don’t want to cuddle in a pandemic! It seems that this happens so quickly, that it is difficult to stop the unwanted physical contact.

Any ideas, other than sending an email to known people I don’t like this physical contact? Shouldn’t people consider that others may not welcome physical contact, especially these days?

Hands down: The pandemic has freed people from social pressure to hug and be hugged. Now that our world seems to be opening up again, many people are constantly running in close physical contact.

If you don’t want to be hugged, you might have to be very strong for it. And you’ll need to educate the huggers in your circle.

Use body language (putting both arms out) and say, “Sorry, I stopped hugging. I hope he lands a punch?’

Dear Amy:”A Worried Mother” she was appalled by the disgusting conditions in her son’s college suite.

I agree that teaching kids early to clean the house is a great idea. But many years ago, my son, who worked summers cleaning houses (and was “the china expert”), was so boring in his college dorm that he was threatened with eviction.

I completely agree with your original comment: Never visit a child’s dorm room.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *