My Immediate Family
I am the oldest of three daughters for my parents. I think that they have raised us to be fairly independent (though, sometimes they think too independent). I have no doubt that my younger sisters will not depend on my parents to live as adults.
My “Failed” Aunt
I guess every family has at least one, and in my family’s case it’s my aunt. She is my father’s sister. My father side of the family has 10 siblings altogether.
When my grandmother was still alive, she lived with her, and chipped in a whole $200 a month to cover living expenses, food and everything else. When my grandmother passed away, she moved in with one of my other aunts (her older sister), and I’m not sure what she paid.
My older aunt drove her to work and cooked for her. My younger aunt worked a decent job at a factory- which is no different than any of her other siblings. But for some reason, she never had enough for a car or for her own place. However, she always had enough to buy nice Movado watches, always the newest and greatest cellphones/smart phones, traveling to Vietnam every year and brand name clothes – to name what I saw.
The Falling Out
Shortly after my grandmother passed away, my aunt had a falling out with the rest of her siblings. My aunt went to Vietnam for 6 weeks without telling anyone. Not even my older aunt – who had no idea where she was. When she finally came back, she was locked out of the house (no one home and locks were changed), any mother and sister ended up picking up so she could stay at my parents’ place that night (and the next two weeks).
Everyone was hurt and angry that she just took off. Things just went sour from there. She blamed everyone except for herself, that her older sister wanted to “get rid of her”, and that everyone was on the older aunt’s side. That no one genuinely cared about her, etc., etc.
My father offered she could stay at his home until she got back on her feet – and she even lashed out at him, afterwards. She said his offer wasn’t “genuine” because he said it once and never mentioned it again. Then she took off again.
When family members tried to contact her, she wrote a hateful email listing the faults and allegations she had against every single sibling. She blasted my father, my older aunt, all my aunts and uncles – for not caring about her. Then told everyone that she was going back to Vietnam for good, and she had found a good job there.
We haven’t heard from her since. Except for a relative who said they had recently saw her around the City. I really have no idea if she is in the City or Vietnam.
My Talk with my Sisters
Last weekend, I had a little chat with my youngest sister. We talked a little about my aunt, but more about how much help is too much? And when does helping do more harm than good.
I told her that I will always be willing to help her out, but only to the point where she can help herself. I will not be like my older aunt and let her live with me indefinitely with no payments or responsibility. This is not to be cruel or mean, but to help her become an adult.
In my culture, parents will never ask their kids to move out. Many don’t even ask for rent. Heck, I know so many of my classmates and friends whose parents would bring pre-cooked food for them each week in university. One even had his mom come up to do his laundry, every weekend! *palm to forehead*
All I know is, “kids” don’t grow up if they don’t learn the consequences to their actions, and it’s parents’ responsibility allow their kids to learn from their mistakes. Having said that, it may not be so black and white that it’s the parents’ fault or the “kids'”, it’s probably a certain combination of the two and their attitudes.
What are your thoughts on parenting “fails”? Do you have anyone in your family who hasn’t learned to “grow up”?