My childhood was not a pleasant one, to say the least. I was able to see the complete burden that can be caused by financial irresponsibility. Several times we had very little food, visited the food pantry, and even went without electricity or natural gas when we needed them the most. My parents had their priorities, such as cigarettes, alcohol, and bingo, and the electric company just couldn’t wait for that $4,000 that they were behind. A few times, my sisters and I ended up in group homes and foster care which felt like a luxury hotel.
Even now, financial responsibility is not a strong point for either of my parents. Cigarettes still come before bills, and at three packs a day, it is a pretty hefty bill on its own. Currently, they sit without power, and there is nothing I can do. Since I have children, bailing my parents out is not high on my priority list. Ensuring that my children do not go without is.
When to Break the Bond
For years, I held on to the bond with my parents, and allowed them to suck money from me, with intentions of paying it back. After all, they are my parents and “took care of me” for all those years. With help from my fiance, I was able to realize that I was only hurting my children by cutting us short on money. My parents financial irresponsibility should not cause my kids to eat Ramen for dinner at any point in time.
After getting a grip on the fact that I cannot save the world, my parents included, I set limitations on the amount of help I was willing to give.
Where They Are Now (And Where I Never Plan to Be)
The most recent turn of events that I have not bailed my parents out of, is yet again, lack of electricity. Since my mother works for the state prison, she has plenty of income to ensure that she is able to pay her bills. However, Walmart takes priority.
My parents have custody of my nieces, and so they use them as their bail out plan. Since my nieces have asthma, they were able to get a temporary hold placed on their electric shut off. Six months later, they still hadn’t paid a dime. They applied for energy assistance, to get another temporary hold placed on their electric bill, which brought them up to the point that the electric company could not legally shut off their power because it was winter. Winter came and went, still no money paid on the bill.
The first day it was legal to shut off their power, the power company showed up at the door with a whopping $5,125 bill that had to be paid in full before the man could leave. Since they spent all of their money, they did not have anything to give him. When my parents called me and asked for the cash, I of course didn’t have it. I did however offer to take my nieces until my parents found a way to iron out the issue. Two months later, they still sit with no power, and I am not paying that bill. I had to learn financial responsibility on my own, and now they do too.