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I can't stop thinking about this. I hope someone can help me.

Just as the title says, my mother is the one who struggles to make money while my father just "eats, sleeps, repeats". He worked across the nation when he was young and earned quite a lot, so his thinking is, My savings will be enough for myself, and my wife is doing okay with her job.

I believe the money won't last, and the money my mother earns is not enough for us. I feel really sad that my mother works so hard but doesn't get much. She always prioritizes my needs and doesn't enjoy the earnings herself. My father has experience and knowledge about business, but he is just lazy.

Can you please tell me how to talk to my father about this issue and to tell him to get a job to provide for us? Your help is much appreciated.

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    have you talked to you mother about this? It's nice to hear that you have such concern for your mother, but, do you know for a fact that she wants/needs help? You say you fear the money won't last-what do you base this prediction on? How old are you? Since this site is about parenting, it would be helpful to know what your true motivation is for wanting your dad to work (money, concern for mom, or, gender roles). We can't give you ammo with which to attack your dad, but we can provide answers with the intent of helping you help your father to be a more effective role model for you. – Jax Dec 26 '14 at 16:25
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    Are you an adult, a child, or a teenager? – A E Dec 26 '14 at 18:42
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    Caring about your parents certainly gives a twist to "parenting" I hadn't thought about. :) – sbi Dec 27 '14 at 19:20
  • I thought I was the only one going through this. Just live him alone forgive him and live your life. He will never change cause of your opinion. I grew up angry at my father but in the end it's all foolish. – Kelly May 7 at 22:39
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By your own words, your father's belief and your's disagree. Now most parents don't go around proferring the exact nature of their finances to their children, so on that basis I presume you are coming to your own conclusions without sufficient knowledge.

You say that your mother struggles to earn money: welcome to life... we all do! You say that she works hard and doesn't get paid enough: again, welcome to life... we all do!

Now, all of that in context, you must realize that all people have a different set of values. Perhaps your mother and father have already discussed family finances and determined what they are willing to accept. In that case, who are you to interfere? I most certainly would not let my child interfere with family finances, though I do educate her about managing one's finances.

To be 100% straight forward, approaching your father to challenge his role in the family finances is 100% the wrong thing to do -- it is not your place and it is disrespectful for you to do so.

Now, it is 100% in your place to be confused and curious and want to understand. If you approach him by stating the facts and that you don't "get it" and you honestly listen to his reply so as to learn his thinking without the presumption of challenging him, then you will be doing your "role" (per se) as a child and ask your parent for guidance.

You may agree with his (and your mother's) thinking. You may not. You may even know that your mother's thinking is different. It is not your place to interject. Your parents are responsible for their own relationship and you are not their mitigator. Learn from them; love them; know that you'll occasionally disagree with them, but never think of yourself as appropriate to manage their relationship -- only they can do that.

  • +1 for the last paragraph in particular. Trying to become a counselor for a parental relationship, whether the discussion is finances, communication, respect, whatever -- that's not a role any child should have to bear. – Acire Dec 28 '14 at 14:31
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It is fairly normal for one parent to work and the other to stay home and look after children.

It is what happens in my family. I work full time, my wife works one day a week (her choice completely), and spends the rest of the time looking after our two children. I prioritize my families financial needs over my own gratification just like you say your mother does, that is also a normal thing to happen.

I don't really see any problem other than your parents are not conforming to traditional gender roles but it isn't something you should worry about. Is your mother complaining to you about the situation ?, If that is the case you should ask her to talk to your father about it and not burden you with the problem because it isn't for you to deal with.

Also when I was younger without children I also traveled a lot for work and earned more money than I do right now, the money was better but the work is a lot harder, constant traveling, living out of suitcases in a hotel and being away from your family is a high price to pay and does take its toll on a person. If i did that now we would be better off financially but worse off as a family, my wife would not want me to constantly be away from home not seeing her or our children. Maybe your mother feels the same way and has requested that he stop and is willing to work herself in order for him to be able to stop.

  • One thing that the OP didn't really expand on was whether or not the at-home parent is contributing significantly at home (e.g. housework, childcare, etc) -- regardless, I do think your answer is very full of sound advice :) – Acire Dec 31 '14 at 19:32
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I applaud you for wanting to have this tough conversation with your dad. Here are some basic steps for starting this type of conversation:

  1. State the problem: Dad, I noticed that you have decided to no longer contribute to the family finances.
  2. State the impact of the problem is having: This impacts the family. Mom can cover our needs with her salary, but there is no extra for savings, emergencies, or life's little extras.
  3. State what the future will be like if there is no change: If things continue as they are, we could run out of money. Mom could get burned out from trying to support us all. And if something happens to Mom, like she got sick and had to miss work for awhile, we would not be able to make our bills.
  4. Invite the other person to talk about the problem: What's going on that you think it's okay not to help out?

Be aware that people only change if they want to change, and letting your Dad know how worried you are may not change anything. If the conversation elicits some emotion from him, that could motivate change.

What's happening in your family is mostly about the imbalance in the relationship between your parents, so ultimately it is they who will need to sort it out. You might consider having this tough conversation with your mother instead, since she is in a better position to negotiate change with your dad that you are. Simply change the opening statement to: Mom, I noticed that Dad no longer contributes to the family, and you are allowing it to go on. Change the the ending question to: What's going on that you are allowing this to happen?

Good luck to you!

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    I hesitate to say that just bc someone isn't working doesn't mean he isn't contributing. There are plenty of ways to contribute to a family besides monetarily. – Jax Dec 26 '14 at 21:18
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    I asked the OP in my comment above how the prediction the money wouldn't last was made bc it is unclear whether it is an assumption based on observation or based on knowledge of the family's income, assets, debt, etc. OP indicated the father made money in the past. Perhaps his investments are earning in the background and the OP doesn't know? Either way, I asked for more facts before jumping to the conclusion that the father contributes nothing. I think the last part of your answer is good, bc it suggests appropriate communication. – Jax Dec 27 '14 at 15:32
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    @MJ6 even if the assumption that the father earns no money is accurate you would be upsetting a lot of mothers if you claim the stay at home parent makes no financial contribution. theguardian.com/money/2007/mar/08/g2 – user1450877 Dec 31 '14 at 3:23
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    @user1450877 The OP said his father only eats and sleeps. I took him at his word. There are many stay-at-home parents making a huge contribution. They don't just "eat, sleep and repeat." They work. – MJ6 Dec 31 '14 at 4:59
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    And how does anyone know whether the father is able to find a job? Imagine the humiliation, having given up on a work search after being constantly turned down for being too old or not having specific skills, then deciding with your wife to stop searching since her income is enough, and then to have your child come and lecture you, starting with "I noticed that you have decided to ..." - words matter and the OP does not know that the father has decided anything on this matter. – Chrys Dec 31 '14 at 17:31
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You have explained this situation pretty clearly. Sounds like you have a good grasp of what's going on.

Best thing you can do is be the best person you can be. Work hard in school and try to have a successful career so you can provide for your mom when she is older and unable to work.

Just because someone is your parent doesn’t mean they are adverse to criticism, and that you should stand by and allow them to negatively effect themselves and the people around them. Tell your dad how you feel and be respectful about it. But sometimes the truth hurts, if it hurts him so be it.

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    Welcome to the site. (Honestly!) While disagreements will always exist, on this site, we don't disparage others to the extent you have here, and answers agree addressed to the questioner, not to others on the site. I've edited your answer into an acceptable (on this site) answer. Have a look around and absorb the culture of the site, and please be nice. – anongoodnurse Aug 27 at 23:30

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