I think sort of related: How to handle a mother who is becoming unkind to the adult child?

My grandparents live out of country (We live in Indonesia), and they decided to support my brother's college studies. My mother told my brother that after he gets a job, he should help me also get to college, and my brother agreed.

After four years and getting a degree, my brother is still trying to get a good job. I decided to defer my enrollment for next year. In this time my brother got someone pregnant and is now having a family. Now I do not have anyone to support me for my studies.

It has gotten worse because now my mother is totally ignoring me and pouring all attention to her grandchild (who lives in our house most days). This is not jealousy, but mere pragmatism. She does not do chores anymore, and spends most money for my niece (her grandchild). It has gotten to the point where we (my father, I,) out right miss dinner, because nothing is prepared... (at this times we just cook for ourselves)

We can't not have her not have the money (example we budget my father's salary) because she receives still considerable money from her parents. (my grandparents told me that they are willing to help me out on college, but only at unique times and not monthly commit compared to my brother, because they were disappointed too)

I am very stressed and sad right now. Now my mother does not want me to go to college (She says she should just keep the money for her old age). She is always telling me to look at my brother who got a job unrelated to his degree (he is now teaching singing).

I am mainly sad because it feels that my mother is not supporting me both financially and morally.

I have big dreams and I do believe I am a hard working. In the one year of my deferrment I tried to work and even got a job (even though I was 17 at the time.) With the money I earned and saved everything I was even planning to buy my parents a cheap car. But because of our argument (about that I should not go to college) I am having second thoughts. In fact I am feeling a bit suicidal because it seems that my dreams are crushed.

My mother is always telling us not to have s-x with and support our family first. But with my mother's actions I am now feeling that my brother did the right thing - he now has a family, a degree, a moderately good job. And my mother's favor. While I am left without a plan, no support (even small things like having food prepared), and my dreams/actions constantly being shoved down at me (she says- if you have such big dreams why don't you go to college without my parent's help?)

It is not even that expensive to make me go to college because I have a full-blown scholarship (as I've said, I have big dreams and am academic. there would have been no way I got accepted to Google Summer of Code if I was 'mediocre', and the college I got accepted at was the top university in my country. I am not taking this to my head, but still, I have dreams)

Is there an ideal course of action for me? What should I do?

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about parenting. Commented May 5, 2014 at 13:05
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    Seems that the OP asks about "the lack of parenting", no matter at which age, so I think it is about parenting... Commented May 5, 2014 at 13:09
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    @Joe There are several answers in the archive to questions of this nature. This is about a parent's relationship with their child, I think it's on the valid side of borderline.
    – deworde
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 7:48
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    What sort of question is applicable to this site is most certainly an appropriate topic for Parenting Meta. Perhaps the most appropriate topic.
    – Joe
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 22:09
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    You're 18 or older now, I assume (given the statement that "at the time" you were 17) which means you're at an age where you can support yourself (even if it's not preferable). If you've got a good scholarship and have already been accepted to a college, go for it. If you need more money and your parents wont support you financially, you can work part-time (as many others do) and support yourself.
    – Doc
    Commented May 7, 2014 at 15:37

1 Answer 1


There's a saying "once bitten, twice shy". It sounds like your family may have been disappointed that your brother's degree didn't lead to the great job he hoped it would in the time-frame expected, and right or wrong they worry that investing in your education could be an equally non-fruitful investment. That's not really fair to you in any way, but it's understandable they might feel that way.

And the concern about the risk of you dropping out of school or out of the workforce, should you unexpectedly find out you will be unexpectedly starting a family, is also a fair concern for them to have as far as whether the investment in school fees would pay off. I'm not saying you're the type who would go do that. But as a former teen mom once told me, "The difference between the girl who would NEVER do that to the girl who just did is 45 seconds". It only takes one impulsive bad decision, ONE time.

One option would be to find a way to pay your own way through school without relying on gifted money from your family. As you say it is not expensive to go to college, and you have had a job for the last year, could you use your savings from work to pay for school, and delay buying your family a car until you have a "better" job post-education? If that savings is not enough, could you continue to work part time while you go to school to make up the difference? Does your university have a work/study program or internship program to help you earn money to pay for school?

Another option would be to convince your family it's a good investment. It sounds like you've already been trying to do this with little success, however. You will need to ask questions, and really understand what their concerns are, so you can come up with solutions for the specific concerns that are holding them back from supporting your plans, and demonstrate that you have a workable plan. You want to demonstrate as well that you've counted out all the costs and budgeted what it would take, mapped out a career path that your degree will open doors for, what the difference in earning potential is, vs a career that does not require said degree. In your situation, I would consider including in your proposal a plan for when you would start a family and how that would factor into your planned career. For example, "after my degree I could work full time for 10 years at a salary of $50,000 per year, before 'retiring' from the workforce to start a family". Or, "when I'm ready to start a family, I'll take 3 months of maternity leave, and then hire a caregiver for my child(ren) while I continue to work full time. It would cost $2000 a month for childcare, which while it'd be almost half of my income would still leave enough leftover for rent and other expenses". Obviously, you need to tailor everything to your situation, but the gist is to make sure they know you've thought everything through, done the math, and won't be left short with a plan that fell apart. Maybe you never hope to have children, but it's probably better to account for that potential "what if" since they seem concerned about that.

If you do decide to attempt to convince your family, you should take into account who is the moneyholder. It sounds like originally, your brother was planning to be in the position to help you out, but, with the family he now has, he may not have the spare money anymore to help you out, even if he's sympathetic. So, should you try to convince your mom or your grandparents directly? Since your grandparents live far away, giving them a live presentation about your college proposal may be impractical. But you could write them a nice letter explaining your passion and what you want to do with your life, and how much per month it would take to make that possible, and ask whether they would consider sponsoring your education.

Regardless of what you end up doing about your educational plans, demonstrating responsibility and mature attitudes would also be a good idea. If, say, you've been sulking around the house and having an entitled attitude about expecting meals being prepared for you, it would not help your case at all. Having a child introduces a lot of additional responsibilities. Roles will have to shift to accommodate, at least in the shorter term. You could jump in and show an attitude of "I want to do what I can to help" rather than the stereotypical teenage attitude "I'm mad this situation exists and is RUINING MY LIFE, I hate you mom!".

You may or may not be able to convince your family to support you, but if you are determined, you can continue to find a way somehow. Life not going as planned happens to everyone. If it's not the money disappearing that should have been for college, it might be a big layoff from a dream job, loss of a beloved family member, unexpected divorce, etc. Somehow we have to learn to roll with the bumps in life and keep pressing forward rather than giving up and declaring life "over" when something doesn't work out.

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