Selfish Can Be Good

 Posted by at 12:12 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 252016

Words are funny things. They can make us smile and even laugh out loud, or they can bring us to tears. Words can build us up or they can tear us down. But why? Every word in the English language is made up of some combination of just the 26 letters in the alphabet.

And here’s the thing about words (and you can trust me on this, after all, I’m a real, live wordsmith), even bad words can be good. Take selfish, for example.

Yesterday I got an email from a woman who said that she and her husband lived frugally and both worked two jobs to put their three daughters through college. She said they paid all of their expenses and the girls all graduated with no student loan debt, and that all have good jobs now. She said they have also helped all three out financially when it has been needed. Now mom and dad are in their mid-60s, recently retired, and have wanted to travel for as long as they can remember. So they put their home on the market, it’s under contract, and they plan to use that money to purchase a motorhome to live their dream.

Or, at least that was the plan until their middle daughter, who has a Masters degree and makes somewhere around $100,000 a year, announced that she wants to quit her job and get a PhD, and that she expects mom and dad to use the proceeds of the house sale to pay for that. The mother said she told her that wasn’t going to happen, it was now their time to do their thing, and in response the daughter has told them they are being very selfish. She added that her husband always wants to do anything he can for his three daughters and feels that if that’s what it will take to get this adult child where she wants to be in life, they should do it.

I replied that selfish can be good. I also told her that they had done much more for their daughters than most people would or could do, and that it’s time for their daughters to stand on their hind legs and take responsibility for their lives. There is selfish, and then there is selfish. Their daughter is selfish in the worst form of the word, and mom and dad putting their foot down and saying no is the right kind of selfish.

I love my kids, and we have helped them out in the past when they needed something, but there comes a time when you have to say the Bank of Dad is closed. I believe that’s an announcement this couple should have made to their daughters a long time ago. What do you think?

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  23 Responses to “Selfish Can Be Good”

  1. We, also have helped our children throughout the years, but these people seemed to not only have helped them out, but did everything FOR them! Truthfully, it turned my stomach to read that this child still expects ANYTHING from them. I have never felt such disrespect and ungratefulness. Sorry for the shout words, but if I was talking to you, that is how you would hear me!!!

  2. I agree with Lynn, yep what she said.

  3. We helped our 3 what we could…but fortunately they all had to work and had some debt to pay off…you are so correct in your advice Nick…but it is NOT selfish of them to use their money to travel for a few years. They more or less put their lives on hold to do so much for the kids…and no one is entitled to a college education in this country…though you would think so by the way so many ungrateful kids act!!

  4. Oh wow. I so agree with you. It was their choice to help each one fairly. But those days are over. Heaven sakes one degree is enough. Their time has come. I wonder what the other 2 kids think. One trys to help each child, and give fairly, but you can’t sacrifice everything. Time to run and don’t look back.

  5. I wonder where she expects Mom and Dad to live if they use the proceeds of their house sale to help her with her Ph.D.? Stupid, stupid, stupid. It’s the not parents being selfish. . . it’s the daughter being selfish. Our SIL got his Master’s. Took 2 1/2 years doing one/two courses a semester. But he did it. Best part, since he aced all his courses, his employer reimbursed him. Worked the entire time. My niece is going for her doctorate in nursing. . . doing it the same way. A course or two at a time. Working the whole time. Where there’s a will. . . . In this day and age, I would be hardpressed to advise anyone who has a good job to leave it. . . keep it and do the school at the same time.

  6. I believe this is a prime example of doing too much for your children so much so that they expect it is their right to this help! At some point they should be expected to stand on their on and in my opinion it way past that point now. The most important support I received from my parents was the example they set for hard work and for the moral values they instilled. Though they had little financial support to give they gave much and encouraged all of their children to succeed. This couple needs to move on with the rest of their lives and their children will eventually understand.

  7. At PhD level it’s fairly easy to get a Teaching Assistancship or Research Assistanship that will pay for the degree. That’s how I did it. Of course I worked my entire way through College from my bachelordegree onwards, so I may feel a little differently than most. They should def use the $$ on themselves.


  8. Well, you certainly hit that nail squarely on the head!

    I’m afraid some kids of recent generations have yet learned the meaning of another word – a four letter one – LIFE …

  9. Can anyone say, “entitled complex”?

    I found out long ago, the extent that I wanted something, depended upon who was paying for it. When it was MY money (or time), I had to REALLY want it and be able to justify, just what it would do/provide for me.

    I also found out, that I appreciated more and took better care of, things that I provided for myself.

    Just because it was free to HER, it cost her parents, dearly. Free doesn’t mean valueless, but it appears she views it that way.

    Just my humble opinion.


  10. It is definitely time for the adult daughter to earn her own way and give her parents a chance to enjoy what little time they might have for themselves.

    It’s about time.

  11. I have a son with a Masters and a daughter with a PHD. I helped both through the first 4 years but they got the advanced degrees on their own. I would still help if either got sick. But that is one reason why you educate your children so they can be independent.

    And note I said helped through the bachelor degree, they both had jobs at their colleges and worked thru the summers. That daughter should have been cut off long enough ago to have developed some self, respect as well as respect for others. And the dad seems as bug a problem as the daughter…..

  12. I’ll just add my agreement to other’s comments. Mom & Dad have gone way to far in their desire to help there daughters and their daughters will pay for the over indulgence. Stick to your guns mom…it’s way past being your time now!

  13. We had 4 kids … 3 went to college and we helped tham by paying their student loans. All 4 worked during high school and we helped them with old cars and by keeping them insured. The 4th we helped with a new vehicle while he was getting his feet under him. We helped to the best of our ability with weddings and first homes. Then, since they are all making good livings, we just stepped back. We sold our home and lived 5 years on the road. Wonderful! We spoil our grandkids whenever we want, enjoy a resonable and comfortable lifestyle, but nothing extravagant. We will continue to do what pleases us, but the kids are all good. If there was urgent need, of course, we would help … but at this point they are all better off than we ever were at their age. Now … the plan is that when we die, the last 3 checks are going to bounce.

  14. The one word the parents need to use is NO. That daughter has been helped enough, time to go out on her own. My parents put 5 children through their BS or BA degrees. And we all appreciated what they did. But from then on we were on our own. I worked summers and got teaching assistantships or research assistantships to go on for my higher level degree. Sickening how many of these kids now days want it all but don’t want to work for anything. People you are not entitled to ANYTHING. These parents need to sell their home and use the money on themselves. It’s THEIR turn for a change !!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. So, if these parents used their house proceeds to help her get that additional degree, when they need help later in life does anyone think that selfish brat would help them? yea, what Lynn said

  16. Those people know it’s time for that daughter to stand on her own. They just want someone to validate what they already know. I can’t believe that the husband thinks maybe they should give up their dream(not to mention their home) to put more money into a grown child who already has a Masters degree and a very good job. I hope the wife prevails. If the kid wants the degree she can work and pay for it herself.

  17. Couldn’t agree more. The daughter is selfish in not wanting her parents to enjoy their retirement.

  18. I won’t say anything bad about the daughter – she’s been taught to expect her parents to put her first and for them to sacrifice, if necessary, for her to have what she wants. It’s time to let her finish growing up and to let her live her own life as an adult.
    Unless you want to give up the rest of your lives ruining a job it sounds like you’ve done pretty well (raising your children), get out of there and start playing!

  19. A great gift you can give your children is that they won’t have to take care of YOU financially…get that RV and set a new example for them now of what can happen when you work smart & save! Most of us have also heard, you can finance your education, but not your retirement. Kudos for all of your children obtaining college degrees…time to embrace YOUR adventure!

  20. Nick, please give me that middle daughter’s address! I would like to speak directly to her and I sure hope that father comes to his senses, sounds like it is time for him to treasure his wife as much as he treasures his selfish daughter.

    Nick, you nailed it!

  21. There is absolutely no reason for those parents to give that daughter a penny. She is being truly selfish. How does she expect her parents to live if they give her the money from the sale of their house? She is making plenty since she has no college debt and can just work and save for a few years so she can pay her own way to get her doctorate. Also those parents were more than generous to be able to help their daughter graduate from college with no debt. I hope they both tell her she is being selfish and they will no longer allow her to drain them of their hard earned money. She is an adult and can support herself.

  22. My advice to the wannabes after they tell off thier kid. Slam the door on your RV say adiós to the brat and have some hard fun after being servitude to a ungrateful kid that will probably endup unimployed and rying cause HRC missed the boat and was arrested. They better do it quick before the other 2 try the same tactic

  23. Well, this brought me out of the woodwork as a long-time lurker! I can’t believe that a) the daughter who has been given so much and has a 100K a year job, thinks Mom and Dad should foot the bill yet again, and b) that either one of her parents would even consider doing such a thing.

    When my kids were younger I was a single parent, and I told them from the start, work hard at school so you can get scholarships, because I won’t be able to put you through school.

    And that is exactly what they did. My son has 4 degrees, a Bachelor’s Degree from Reed College, Masters from Oxford (he was a Rhode Scholar), another Masters from MIT, and a PhD from Yale. He received scholarships every step of the way, and owes nothing. He lives debt free, and saves his entire high six figure income. He and his fiancee live quite nicely on her income, so they can start a business after their wedding next year with their savings.

    My daughter also had a full tuition scholarship to a private liberal arts school with a degree in flute performance, and is now part of the Old Guard Fife & Drum Corp in Washington DC–her service to her country has also paid off the only loan she had, for her room and board at college.

    Since then our financial circumstances have certainly improved. I remarried and started my own successful business. My husband and I do things for them as we can and want to do, including lavishing lots of love on our little granddaughters.

    We also travel in our RV, and have just finished remodeling a beautiful home in Tucson. My kids do not expect us to give them a thing.

    I urge these parents to put themselves first now, as they have worked hard and provided so generously for their children. Now it is their turn to do whatever the heck they want, without guilt or explanations to their adult children.

    Time for that entitled daughter to wake up and get on with life as an adult!

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