The Spoiled Adult Children Epidemic: Has it Affected You?

Spoiled Adult ChildrenYou’re in college. You’re on the path to an amazing career and a bright financial future. Since you’re reading this blog I’m willing to bet you are a step ahead of the pack.

You care about your financial situation and you are mapping out a plan for eventual financial freedom.

But, how many of your peers can say the same?


The Spoiled Adult Children Epidemic

Parents taking care of their adult children is something in my career that I see all too much. I mean really, should parents buy their twenty three year old children new cars and pay their insurance?

I don’t think so.

I see this daily in my job and I see it in my personal life as well.

When I turned eighteen my dad gave me all of my own bills. Sure, he would help me out if I really needed it but I paid my car payment, insurance, bought my food, and ventured out on my own at a very early age.

I wouldn’t accept money from him even if he tried to give it to me. I have always had a strong sense of independence and it felt wrong to ask my father for money no matter what financial mistakes I had made.

However, this is not the case of my brothers. At twenty one and twenty four their rent, car insurance, occasional utilities bills, and at times gas and party money is still paid by my father. And, more than likely always will be.

The result? They’re losers. They have no drive, no ambition, and no goals. But, why would they? They have a mediocre life handed to them. Why work hard for something more when they barely have to work at all?

Sadly this is the case of many, many adult children in America today.


When Parents Push Money in Your Face

I want to disclose that I don’t think it’s awful to occasionally let your parents help you out financially. If you are giving it your absolute all then you may have no other choice. And, borrowing money from parents is better than taking out a payday loan any day.

As a parent myself, I would do anything in the world for my two kids. The majority of parents feel this same way. They don’t want to see their children struggle or go without…..anything.

Personally, I would never accept a dime from my dad. As an immature child I may have thought my dad was rich. As an adult I can see that those thoughts were far from the truth. I realize what financial burdens my brothers are to him and it makes me sick.

He loves his children. He thinks he is helping. He just doesn’t see that he is enabling two of his adult children to do as little as humanly possible. He doesn’t know how to stop.

So, if your parents are pushing money at you but you know you can make it on your own resist the money at all costs. Be polite. Let your parents know you appreciate the gesture but you’ve got this on your own.

If you take unneeded help from your parents too often you WILL come down with the spoiled adult children syndrome and all of the negative associated consequences.


Why Help From Your Parents Should Be a Last Resort

I’m sure you can think of a least a couple of your peers who seem to have it made. Their parents pay for everything and at times you can’t help to be a little envious.

Really you’re the lucky one.

Adult children who have everything given to them from their parents often lose sight of their own goals. They don’t get to experience the character building that trying to make it on your own instills. They often have a horrible work ethic and bounce from career to career.

They have no drive, ambition, and develop a sense of self entitlement.

This creates a vicious cycle. Before long they are so dependent upon the money from their parents that they can’t fathom surviving financially on their own.

They turn into spoiled, often depressed, adult children. And their parents wonder where they went wrong.


You Should Thank Your Parents

It can be hard for parents to hold back from over-providing for their children. If your parents were strong enough to do this you should thank them.

They gave you the opportunity to learn valuable life lessons. You know what barely scraping by feels like, the importance of picking the right career, and the value of financial freedom. That is something that money cannot buy.

What are your thoughts on the increasing support parents are providing their children?

Get Rid Of Your Student Loans - Legally!
Sign up below and discover 3 ways to ditch your student loans.

A lot of places will tell you that you can't get out of your student loans. But guess what? There are ways to do it, and I give them away for free right here.


  1. says

    I was never offered any financial help from my parents, nor would I have accepted it if I were. I worked hard throughout college to live on my own and get by with minimal student loans, because it was important to me to set myself up for a solid future. Doing everything myself may have been incredibly difficult and even a little bit depressing at times, but it gave me a lot of self confidence.

  2. says

    My parents spoiled my sister and I constantly. Especially my dad. They still do, but more so in free groceries here and there now that I have my own house. (My bf and I used our own $ for the downpayment). I actually wanted more independence and almost had to fight for it. That was one of the main reasons I had to go away to university.

    This may be a generalization, but it may have been a culture thing. My dad wanted me to stay at home until I got married. I was like, No way Jose!!

  3. says

    Like Daisy, I never received help as well. However, I do know of so many people who receive help. My friend recently bought a house and they realized they couldn’t afford it. Their parents paid for the down payment, all of the furniture, and are currently buying them weekly groceries. It amazes me since neither of their parents are well-off.

  4. says

    My parents did a great job raising me to be financially independent. They helped me out with a little spending money through college and such, but once I hit the real world, I realized that they had instilled a lot of great knowledge in me. I saved, and was the first person of my friends to buy my own place. I have to say that the biggest method they used to teach me solid financial principles was by setting a good example. Above all, this is the most important thing parents can do for their children if they want to learn good money habits.

  5. says

    My parents definitely made me fend for myself during college. I’ve worked since I was 15, and I innately just have the drive/ambition to be independent so I’ve just always shyed that way. There’s definitely a difference in having your parents help you and shield you from the real world vs. fending for yourself. I just wish my parents taught me how to save when I was young, but actually if they did, I may not have learned as much as I do about PF since I got myself into consumer debt during college and had to pay it all off on my own too without their help or advice!

  6. says

    Hey Alexa, thanks for the great post. The truth is, I never accepted money from my parents. It was offered several times but, I like to do things on my own. I really think it’s better off that way. But, my parents aren’t those rich, throw money around like it’s nothing kind of parents. Just like most of the rest of the U.S., my parents struggled for a long time and still struggle to some extent. So, the way I look at it is, they gave me life, they paid my bills for 18 years, who am I to ask for another dime or accept one if it’s handed to me?

  7. says

    I’m aware of many families where the cord has not been cut yet.

    My parents paid for half of my undergrad degree and that was more than they probably ever should have done.

    There’s nothing better than earning something, and these kids are missing out on that experience.

  8. says

    My parents cut the cord after I got my degree, but (hilariously) we shared a phone bill to avoid the early cancellation fee for a bit. I was mainly on the front edge of the curve of spoiled adult children, but I ran into plenty of the type at USC (one nickname: the University of Spoiled Children!).

    “should parents buy their twenty three year old children new cars and pay their insurance?” – Well, I say no, but the law seems to say yes. I’m not a huge fan of this “adult children on medical insurance” thing… but then again I had my college insurance and transitioned to job insurance within a few months of graduating.

  9. says

    My parents paid an arm and a leg for my private undergrad education so they have done more than enough for me!! I became financially independent from them shortly after college and haven’t looked back. My husband and I accept gifts from our parents but nothing ongoing or dependence-inducing. My MIL is very generous and often offers to buy things for us (most recently to hire professional movers for our move next month) but we politely decline.

    My parents are perpetuating dependence in my two younger siblings, though. At 26 and 23 they are still living with or on our parents. I don’t feel that I should say anything about it, though, because their educations haven’t been anywhere near as expensive as mine. I am concerned about how they are going to transition out of this state without becoming dependent on a SO/spouse, which is a recipe for disaster.

  10. says

    One of my roommates in college was fortunate enough to have their tuition, rent, and even an additional 500$/month spending allowance from their parents. Back then I was jealous of this as I was hard up working a full time job while going to school for my engineering degree. How ever when the money train ran our watching him couch surf for 3 months was nothing to be envious about. Now looking back I could never thank my parents enough for teaching my financial independence at a young age.

  11. says

    My parents spoil me in their own way, but they don’t enable me financially. They helped me through college. It was a big deal for them, as they don’t have a lot of money. But I did work very hard to get scholarships to pay most of my way.

  12. says

    Interesting article and interesting responses. While my parents are extremely supportive and I know that if i am ever in a bind, I can depend on them, they were very committed to me pave my own way financially. My parents paying for college was something I knew wasn’t going to happen. They made it known that I better get a scholarship, despite having a part-time job and training hard enough to becoming All-State in Track and field and I did get a full academic scholarship. I didn’t realize how many parents help their kids pay for college until I left an HBCU and attended a college with a more affluent demographic. Would different opportunities be open to me had they helped pay for an education at a top-tier school? probably. But my work ethic is impeccable as a result of their expectations.

  13. says

    I started taking on bills and such at the age of 16. At 18, I moved out, and have been independent ever since (well, except when I moved back home for a few months at a time between apartments). My parents would have helped, but were horrible with money, and I’m glad I had to learn to fend for myself. Handouts from parents don’t teach anything, and hurt both parties involved. I’m super excited to teach my kids about handling money and show them how to take care of their own expenses. But I won’t let them go homeless or anything ……. if they are making good choices. :)

  14. says

    This wasn’t ever an option for me. My mom was pushing me to work at an early age. I know she would provide me money in an actual emergency but otherwise I’m on my own. And that is probably how it should be.

  15. says

    I am very lucky that it is rare that my children need financial support. My children are adults and successful in their careers and can take care of themselves.

  16. says

    I think there is a balance, and there isn’t anything wrong in principle with a parent wanting to help his or her children. College expenses is a good example. However, if that help actually inhibits the grown child’s ability to survive independently if he/she had to, then it’s a problem. I suppose the best of both world is a kid who can totally operate independently and doesn’t rely on parents financially, and is able to take help without regressing or growing dependent on it.

  17. SP says

    I think it depends on your culture and upbringing too. In my culture (Indian-American), it is very common to spoil your kids with nice items, paid for college, luxury cars, etc. Yet Indian kids tend to still be motivated and have the highest income and education of any ethnicity. So why do some spoiled kids stay motivated?

  18. Bluticia Blu says

    Hello! Hello!
    Financial Literacy needs to be taught much earlier than it is today (if it is taught at all).
    An adult’s respect for money is learned at an early age and actions speak louder than words.

  19. So Hurt says

    My boyfriend allowed his 24 yr old Son to move in to help him thru a break up. Truth is no discussion was made to me about the future . Like what is the goal ? When will he be on his feet ? Etc. The Dad decided the Son is going to stay until he finishes college. That is 5 years real time . His Son however has not finished his AA degree (a two yr thing) in four and a half years. Now the Son makes $25,000 a year . Dad let’s him pocket all his money. The son only has 3 classes a week . This adult has taken over my boyfriend and his Son is now in full control . His friends come around on the weekend leaving no intimacy for us on our days off. Comes and goes as he pleases . No boundaries , goals to date . I couldn’t take it anymore so I left . It is all about his adult child with no consideration towards me . I have no say so and no power . Of coarse the Son watched this unfold but not once did he asked his father how he felt or what he can do to help. Mean while Dad pours every ounce of energy into his Son . I am left with nothing at all . It is so pathetic .

    • rock says

      Look at it as a life experience. Never hook-up with other men who have raised, or who are raising, entitled adult children. If I were single again, I wouldn’t even consider any man who lets his adult children abuse and walk all over him, or any other freeloading relative. If he lets them abuse him financially, he will let them abuse you as well. It’s not worth the hassle. On a personal note, I had to tell my husband that I cannot be around a certain set of family members who have tried to take advantage of us financially. He finally agreed with me and cut off all communication with the abusive relative(s). Thank God! We’re finally feel free!

  20. Jenny says

    I am 23 years old and I currently receive ssi, and I help my parents with rent out of that. I suffer from depression. I dont consider myself a loser, I attend online college. I think that was quite harsh of you to say their losers. After all who are you to judge?

  21. Umm says

    I was raised in a family in which all of were expected to become doctors. I can honestly say it’s been very bad for me to be dependent on my parents — but in my own case, I have had some stubborn medical problems that have hindered my progress in life.. and I also have suffered from severe bouts of depression, alienation, loneliness, etc. through my 20’s. I am in my late 20’s now and am determined to become financially self sufficient. After reading plenty of articles like this I have realized that I have to admit where I have gone wrong and how I have allowed my parents to enable me. I think people have many reasons for enabling their children.. but now I realize how it has shaped a lot of negative aspects of my attitude and character… now that I know that.. I am totally humbled.. I’m just glad I can do my best to do what I have to do to change now.. and raise my own future children with more of a self sufficient attitude. I’ve got to stop taking my parents money!

    • Sanya says

      I am also the one who has realised how spoilt I have been throughout these 23 years. I love my parents the most but they say I hurt them too. I realize they are right. They have supported an expensive education for me to which I could not commit justice completely.

      Now having realized who I am: where should I start from in mending the ways?

      I am a fresh graduate who doesn’t want to do job because of reduced self confidence borne of academic performance.

      I would be humbled to your support and replies :)

      • rock says

        You sound like a spoiled brat to me. My wealthy family never gave many handouts to me. In fact, they wanted me to work for the things I wanted. They did give me a very old car that barely ran well to get to college, but it did the job. It wasn’t worth much. I think I sold it at age 21 for $500. If I wanted a luxury car, I had to pay for it myself. And when I left home, at age 21, I got jobs where I had to ride a bike or take two buses to get to. When I saved up enough money, I purchased my first luxury car. I paid what is the equivalent to $34,000 in cash when I was 23 years old. Between the ages of 21 -23 I had to take the bus or ride a bike to work, love, and my family is very wealthy. I am so glad that they taught me how to be financially independent and cultivate a solid work ethic leads to financial independence. Although I don’t take buses or ride bikes anymore – except to ride an exercise bike at our local country club — I learned how to be financially independent. That life lesson is priceless.

  22. rock says

    I left home, age 16, lived independently while attending high school, found it a bit difficult, so I moved in with my grandparents, at age 17, right before I graduated. First thing they told me was that I had to get a job while in high school. I did have a job when I was living on my own in 11th grade, so I had no problem with the transition. When I graduated high school, not only did I have to hold down a job, I had to go to college and pay my very wealthy grandparents rent. Now I don’t know about you, but when your grandparents make what is now the equivalent of $24,000 a month — that’s right, it’s not a typo — you have to wonder what is going on here. I had to pay them rent when I turned 18, get my own phone line (we only had land lines then), clothes, credit cards, etc. They did pay for my college (I mean they were loaded!), and fed me. However, I had to pay for everything else myself. No way was my family going to hand me over a credit card, clothes, phone line etc. And if I was living with them today, I would have had to pay for my own cell phone and whatever other expenditures I may have incurred. I came from a very well to do family. I don’t understand how some parents just hand kids over a credit card and then pay for it?! In fact, they just told me how to obtain my own credit card, without their help. By age 19, I had my own credit card, and only I was responsible to pay it back. All I can say is, by the time I turned 21, they told me to leave. They said I was old enough to make it on my own. Surprisingly, they gave me all the rent money back. I had no idea they were going to do that. They just wanted me to get a taste of the real world. At first resented it all, but looking back, I am so glad they taught me a bit of tough love. I would hate to end up like the spoiled brats out there that feel entitled to everything. There is nothing like being financially independent because you have your freedom to do whatever you want. When you are financially dependent upon others, you open yourself up to manipulation.

Leave a Reply

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