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How to say ‘no’ to your adult children

Summary: Over One in 10 parents (14%) admit to paying for the upkeep of their adult children’s pets. Here’s how you can learn to say ‘no’.

From horse riding lessons to puppy training classes, parents may think their days of splashing out on the upkeep of their children’s pets are over once they reach adulthood.

Dog walk nature

However, new research from car hire firm Auto Europe has revealed that 14 per cent of parents still end up paying for essentials and care for their kids’ pets over the age of 18, apparently struggling to say ‘no’ to their grown-up children, even though they are supposed to be standing on their own two feet.

Here, we take a look at when it’s reasonable to pay out from the Bank of Mum and Dad, and when it’s probably best to say ‘no’.

Bank of Mum and Dad: Where to draw the line

Higher house prices and increased university fees are making it harder than ever for young people to go it alone and get a foot on the property ladder, so it’s understandable that parents will want to help them out financially every now and again.

But is paying for their pet really necessary? As cute as Fudge the rabbit or Patch the dog may be, owning a pet should be your child’s responsibility, and they should be encouraged to make sure they are earning enough money for its upkeep as a priority, along with paying for food and other essentials.

If you do end up giving your grown-up kids cash for the upkeep of Mr Tibbles, make sure they know you expect to be paid back in full – something the majority of Auto Europe survey respondents said they never made clear, showing we’re a nation of big softie parents.

funny animal

The research also found that 22 per cent of mums and dads footed the bill for their children’s cars, 17 per cent paid for them to go on holiday without them and a further 17 per cent contributed towards their rent.

Although it’s still important for parents to encourage their children to stand on their own two feet financially, contributing towards their home, car or even holidays would be a much more valuable long-term investment, providing them with their own space and lasting memories.

But there are bound to be times when your kids come to you wanting some extra cash, so how can you decide what’s important, and how can you learn to say ‘no’?

Tips for saying no

To prevent any fallouts, you should talk to your partner and children about the financial requests that you’re happy to say ‘yes’ to, as well as which ones are likely to be refused.

Assistance with rent, property deposits and mortgage or car repayments are all reasonable types of help to ask for, and you should work together to draw up a plan for your child to pay the money back to you over a set period of time.

However, when it comes to requests for items such as pet bedding, luxury holidays, non-essential clothing items or other frivolous purchases, you’ll be teaching your children much more about the value of money and earning what they spend by saying ‘no’.

When refusing their request, make sure you do the following:

  • – Stay calm and don’t raise your voice, even if you think it’s a ridiculous request.
  • – Provide them with your reason for refusal.
  • – Suggest how they could find the money themselves. For example, by volunteering for some overtime, or doing a few extra chores around the house to help you out.
  • – Always stick to your guns. If you change your mind, they’ll know you’re a pushover and try the same trick again in the future.

Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ on a regular basis. Although it might cause a few tantrums and temporary hard feelings, it will get across the message that you’re serious about helping your children to be financially independent – something that they’ll be extremely grateful for in the long run.

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