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I hope this is at least marginally on-topic, but I ask here because I knew no better place to ask.

I know a father of two teenagers and there are no major issues in the family except that he seems to do the bare necessities for his own (kids and wife), but puts excessive effort into supporting his friends' families.

For example, he used his contacts to get his friends' kids into the country's top private school, whereas he neglected his own kids future despite their potential. When taking his family out, they go to simple, humble places, but when taking out others (without his wife and kids) he goes to top notch places. Even other small things like buying birthday gifts, or school material, if he spends $1 on his own kids, he'll spend $10 on his friends'.

From the outside he may seem like a good friend, but after speaking with the wife, it seems like a recurring issue which she doesn't feel too good about and is a common reason for arguments - he spends more time with the friends' families, takes them out to trips and dinners very frequently (almost never with his own kids) and generally there is always a huge gap between what he offers others VS his own family.

I am a close relative and since the wife always talks to me about this, I wanted to ask what kind of behavior or condition this is, what kind of help they could find to solve the issue.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Beofett Jul 16 at 13:48

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Sounds like he is very concerned that others perceive him as powerful, wealthy, and influential. Maybe he sees it as an investment in gaining socially, which is something he wouldn't get if he did these things for his family, but that the indirect social gains will benefit them. –  KitFox Jul 13 at 13:40
It would be impossible to say with such limited information - this may be but one symptom of a larger issue. In trying to understand whether this is a symptom of something bigger, you could read up on the different types of personality disorders. Sometimes a person only fits some of the criteria for diagnosis and may be said to have a personality difficulty. Trying to diagnose other people is generally bad practice, though. You can easily end up misinformed instead of informed, harming instead of helping. –  MJ6 Jul 13 at 13:48
What kind of help should she get? She should start with a qualified therapist who can advise her. –  MJ6 Jul 13 at 13:55
I'm afraid this seems too broad. There is no way to know why the father acts this way; all we can do is speculate, and the possibilities range from wanting to be perceived as powerful/wealthy/etc., as MJ6 suggested, to believing that he is trying to avoid spoiling his own kids. I'm going to close this, as we can't diagnose a condition (if one that would describe this were to exist), and we just don't have enough information. –  Beofett Jul 16 at 13:48
I don't think we can or should be answering a question that seeks to diagnose mental illness (possibly- or, he could just be a plain ol' jerk). My initial conclusion is that this is off topic (but not for the reason Beofett suggests.) Since the real issue here is (I assume) the effect this guy's actions have on his kids then the question should be "what can one parent do to mitigate the ill effects the other parent's attitude/actions have on the children?" Which is sort of like damage control when one parent plays favorites...except in this case it's not inter sibling resentment. –  Jax Jul 17 at 1:47
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