Episode 88: Should You Lend Money to an Estranged Adult Child?

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The short answer is no, don’t lend money to an estranged adult child. If you can’t afford to make it a gift (or if you choose not to), it may be better to avoid any financial involvement.

If you can help it, try not to become your child’s creditor.

As a creditor you’re on the hook to take action if your child defaults. This doesn’t bode well for a good outcome when there’s already tension in your relationship.

What should you do in the event that you already loaned your adult child money? Now she’s estranged and not paying you back.

In this practical episode, Tina discusses that dilemma, and offers a (necessarily imperfect) solution.

If you normally ask what your child needs it for when you’re asked for money, consider whether your child is a criminal, addicted to drugs, or has terrible judgment. If none of these things are true, you might want to show less interest in the details of his spending.

If you treat your child like the independent adult she is, she might spontaneously decide she wants to pay you back for an earlier loan. Or maybe not.

The goal is to show respect for both yourself and your child in all your financial dealings. And to make sure your relationship is based on something other than money.

For practical tips on how to repair an estranged relationship with your adult child(ren), see Tina’s book, Reconnecting With Your Estranged Adult Child.

Reconnection Club members can discuss this episode in the General Discussion forum inside the Reconnection Club.

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