I feel like a freeloader

A letter writer feels bad about their parents paying for everything.

Our elders are charmed by this unusual 17-year-old.

Dear EWC

I hope you’re having a good day so far. I’m 17, but I feel incredibly guilty about having to lean on my parents financially and in general. I feel like I can never repay them for all they’ve done for me, and it pains me more that I cannot pay my way entirely through university. I know that I haven’t in any way earned anything that they’ve provided me in life, and I can’t figure out the morality of what I’m doing and whether or not its right. After all, how can I take something that I’m not earning? What’s more, I feel guilty when I go on vacations with them because I know it’s with their money that I haven’t earned in any way. What advice do you have? Thank you.

Beacons-of-Light reply

We are a group of seniors of living in a retirement community and we are glad that you wrote to Elder Wisdom Circle. Let us start off by saying that you are a unique 17-year-old. Most people, let alone someone your age, are not as aware of their impact on others, and tend to think more about their own individual needs. That said, you should not feel guilty for your present situation. It is normal for children to live at home and rely on their parents at your age.

When parents have children, they take on the responsibility of caring for those children until the appropriate time that they can move out without concern. Typically, that happens when the kids are out of college and have full time jobs. Without having a proper income, living on your own (or with roommates) is not feasible today. Additionally, with the ever-increasing cost of attending college, most people can’t afford to pay their way to be a full-time college student. That’s why there are loan programs available, or if your preference is to not take out loans, there are other options. Some choose to pay as they go, and they achieve this by working part time, and then go to school part time so that they can pay for classes as they can afford them. 

As for your parents, if they haven’t voiced concern about you leaning on them, they may not view it as a problem. Parents want their children to succeed in life, and thus try to offer every opportunity to do so. So, your responsibility at your age should be focusing on doing well in school. By doing so, you set yourself up for more success later in life. If it truly bothers you to lean on your parents, there are ways to help. To show your gratitude for all they do and “earn your keep,” you could do things around the house that aren’t money related such as chores and other housework, even cook meals for them. In doing so, you relieve them of the work that they would have to do, which they would appreciate. If you got a part time job, you could also pay a small “room and board” fee or use that money to help pay for the vacations. One thing to keep in mind — If your parents didn’t want to pay for you going on vacation, they wouldn’t invite you or bring you with them. Another thing to consider is that once you graduate, get a full-time job, and get your feet on the ground, you can pay them back later in life. Whether by giving them money over time, buying them things they need for the house, taking them on vacation, treating them to something special, or anything like that, you have that time (after you move out) to show your gratitude for all they have done for you growing up under their roof. 

Your parents seem to have raised you well to be so aware and grateful for what you’ve been given. It may be worthwhile to talk with your parents about your concerns and feelings. I’m sure they would appreciate the sentiments and may be able to offer some reassurance and encouraging words. Bottom line, it is always good to show your appreciation for all those around you, so keep on doing so, and you’ll do wonderfully! 

Letter #: 424005
Category: Family

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