How do you get an adult child to realize that she has too much debt and needs to rethink her college plans?

[deleted account] ( 13 moms have responded )

22 year old step daughter has been private school surfing, has attended 4 different private christian school majoring in sociology. She has an eating disorder (ED) and rarely is able to go fulltime because of her health. She is doing much better with the ED, but already has $40K in school loans and another year and a half to 2 years to go. We can't afford to cosign any more loans, we carry $8K plus her $13K car loan. If she defaults or decided to kill herself with ED, we are in so much trouble financially. She just doesn't get it, and thinks we , her dad and I, are "doing this on purpose to her mom", who is signing school loans with her.

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Francine - posted on 06/21/2012

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Your daughter needs to deal with the debt herself. The more we bail our kids out the more they count on it. Your daughter needs to make her own mistakes and she needs to see a counselor for her eatimg disorder.

Harriet - posted on 06/17/2012

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that is the correct way to handle school and orher responsibilities when they are of age. TShis is America and if you want a education you have to work at it. you appreciate much more. I do not recomend Sallie Mae because is compound daily which they do not say. You are good parents. NO NOT CO-SIGN!!!

Cindy - posted on 11/14/2008

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I hate to say the words, Tough love. But is sounds as if she has been given to a lot and now feels as if she should just keep on receiving. If she is 22 she is considered an adult by law. You are not legally responsible. If her biological mom is signing the loans, then she will be the one responsible if something happens with those. Your step daughter needs to start being responsible for her own finanical obligations. If that means backing off and allowing her to take on some of her own responsibility, then you must give her the room to grow up.

Kimberly - posted on 11/12/2008

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my daughter also is attending a private school and mainly goes there so she can be a cheerleader because she loves it. I try to show her every year how much this is costing so she can cheer but she can be pretty stubborn. last year we gave her a weekly allowance but she was blowing it all on clothes so no allowance after that. This year she is having a much tougher time having money to live on since we aren't giving her spending money and hopefully it is finally sinking in. She has accumulated about 14,000 in debt and is only in her sophomore year. With a teachers salary it is going to be tough for her to pay this off but live and learn i guesss. Even when u raise them to be responsible for some reason when they go to college they think they should have everything handed to them. I partially blame all her spoiled rotten college friends whose parents give them everything they want and more. My daughter does appreciate what we do for her most of the time but still has her spoiled brat moments. It is just something they have to grow out of i think.

Kathleen - posted on 11/10/2008

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I completely agree witih you, Joanne. Kids nowadays think parents should give them EVERYTHING. They even want paid to do their chores! Not in my house. You got an allowance and along with that came simple chores that you were responsible for. My stepdaughter is also a pre-vet major. Unfortunately, her school was A LOT of money so my husband and I had to contribute. Hopefully, in the future, we'll benefit with free doc visits for our pets!

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Wendy,

Is your daughter working, at all? I think that is important. If you could come up with a plan of matching contributions if she is giving what she can towards her education then that would at least get her to see the other side of it. (working to fulfill a need/want) Instead of expecting ALL of the burden to be placed on any/all of the parents.



Quote- Cindy Leveridge-gregory- You are not legally responsible.-End Quote



You may not be financially obligated, but anyone dealing with Financial Aid knows that they will use the parent's income (both parents) to decide what contribution parents are "expected" to help with. I think, if you think it is feasible to sit down with her and talk about the EFC (expected family contribution) amount and come up with a plan that included her commiting to a certain amount by working then that's what I would do. If it's important to her, she would do whatever she could to see her dream come true. Maybe working would take away too much time from school/homework, so another compromise would be car payments - Does she have a bus system to utilize?



If her health is an issue and not something she can change herself then maybe she should look at the reality of how that would affect a job after graduating? Are their people with this condition that receive help with finances since it affects her ability to hold down a regular schedule, be it school or work??

Joanne - posted on 11/10/2008

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Kathleen, Where does your daughter go to school. My son has found genetics very interesting and is thinking that might be the route he wants to take. He worked in a vet's office this summer and continues to one day a month but the Chemistry this semester is kicking his butt.

Joanne - posted on 11/10/2008

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When my son was a Junior in high school he wanted to be able to drive himself to school. We purchased the car but it was his responsibility to pay the insurance and gas. He worked every weekend and 5 days a week during the summer so that it did not interfere with school or the bowling team he was on. We made him get a checking account and manage his own bills. There are NO CREDIT CARDS. We don't use them so have taught him that if you don't have the money to buy it you save until you do. He is now a Sophomore in college he has no debit. (Tennessee has a great scholarship program) He is studying to be a vet. We have the first four years taken care of but he will have to pay for the last four. He still works once day a month and during holiday's and summers so he has spending money for during the year when we don't require him to work. His job at that time is to keep his GPA so the scholarship money keeps coming. I started paying room and board at 16 to live with my parents. I think children today are handed way to much and then wonder why they can't have it all. I see it with the girls my daughter dances with. I wonder how their parents can afford to give them the things they do. I realize now that they are teaching their children the bad behavior. At some point the giving has to stop or they will end up in terrible debt. I don't think this is just a girl issue but I did not see the same trend with my son.

Kathleen - posted on 11/10/2008

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My step-daughter is 19 and we instilled in her, from the time she moved in with us at 13, that nothing in this life is free. We let her know upfront that there were going to be things that her dad and I couldn't afford and if she wanted them, she would have to buy them herself. She started working at 15, saved most of what she made, got her drivers license at 16. She bought a car for $500 and paid for her own insurance. She learned responsibility at an early age and how much more you appreciate things when you earn the money to buy them yourself. Last summer she was 18 and had 3 jobs! She wants the extra money so she's willing to work hard for it. She's great, and I hope her dad and I have drilled in her head about the importance of good credit. We've ALWAYS told her no matter what YOU MUST PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME! Especially student loans, they're on your credit report forever!

Denie - posted on 11/09/2008

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I have been told that NO is a complete sentence and that when my son calls with a financial problems that I assume he wants me to fix, I just listen and then say, "Gosh that sounds awful, what are you going to do?" There is usually a long pause and the conversation ends quickly. Touch love is hard on me, but he is growing up and accepting some of the responsibility himself. At 21 it's about time.

Adele - posted on 11/08/2008

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I have one son who has already taken time away from college and another who is wanting too. The younger son has 30,000 in loans and still has no idea what he wants to do. One of those loans is in our name. We pay his cellphone and car insurance. The only advice I can think of is tough love. We both may have to cut financial strings with them to get their full attention. I know how expensive and stressful college can be as me and my husband are both fulltime students also. But dragging it out makes things worse. The kids need to set their course and complete it. No teenager ever listens to a parent. All we do is nag. Keeping our mouths shut and letting them suffer a little does bring them around. I hope this helps a little, and best of luck.

[deleted account]

Yes, that is pretty much what we are trying, but WOW, that sense of entitlement is strong! She gave us such attitude tonight, she is obviously still mad and not seeing the light. It is tempting to stop paying the car insurance, and health insurance, and occasional clothes or gas, and let her see just how much she spends of our money each month, money that she DOES NOT HAVE. It is so obvious to us, but I suppose it is partly the child mind that refuses to see what she is doing to her future! And if she defaults, she is doing it to our future, too! Trying not to alienate her totally, we know it isn't being easy having your parents divorce and remarry, but that really has nothing to do with her debt and being so unreasonable! I would not have dreamed of spending my parents limited resources like that. AND, there are 5 more kids behind her. . .I can hardly wait until they have kids of their own. Thanks for the input. It is pretty normal I suppose.

JILL - posted on 11/06/2008

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Our daughter is 21 and just this morning we had a conversation about her level of debt. She thinks that we are supposed to bail her out on everything that she wants. I had her give me her list of bills (a doctor bill and three credit cards). I showed her a snowball plan to get out from under these bills that she's created, and I let her know that loans that we co-sign for are her responsibility and will be added to her personal debt. She has this sense of entitlement that is really warping her judgement. Our main comment to her is as she helps herself and becomes more and more responsible, she will find that she receives more help from her dad and myself and others. We let her know that she needs to work hard for the things that she wants for herself. It is a life lesson for all of us. Good luck with your daughter. I pray that she gets complete control over her eating disorder.

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