The Yin and Yang of Parasite “Kids”

I’ve read two articles over the past couple weeks that show the full circle of the problem of Parasite “Kids”.

This is the term that we’ve coined for adult offspring that cannot, or will not, take care of themselves, but have not boomeranged back to the nest.

Instead they have mom and dad paying their rent, bills and even furnishing spending money for their recreation and vacations.

The two stories are polar opposites, but each reveal just how screwed up family relationships can become when adult offspring are involved. The first article really got my blood boiling.

Entitled “Children ripping off their parents at an alarming rate” (By Shelley Hadfield for, the article tells of parasitic little brats in Australia taking their sponging to a new depths. They are actually stealing money from their aging parents.

“Powers of attorney are used as a ‘license to steal,’ elderly parents are pressured into signing over their homes, or money is simply withdrawn from their accounts.”

We are truly reaching new lows when family members can’t be trusted to have our best interests at heart in our final years. Should we have to consider hiring strangers to make our financial and medical decisions late in life just to keep parasitic progeny at bay?

“The problem has become so rampant that one senior citizen advocacy group now says that 39% of the cases it is working on involve financial abuse. But those numbers may very well be on the low side. ‘I believe the real numbers are … unreported,’ State Trustees manager Steve Cowell said. ‘It’s actually really common, but it does not get reported. The poor parents are so embarrassed about it.'”

The article points out that, “Most cases are perpetrated by close family members. As a result it is a very silent crime, and one kept very much in the confines of the family.”

Adding to the problem is an attitude from police and authorities that these are family matters and should be dealt with outside the legal system.

“It’s amazing what people do. They think mum and dad are old anyway, they don’t need the money, there’s $150,000 sitting in the account.”

“In many cases, the children feel they are entitled to the money because they will inherit it one day.”

There’s the key word, “entitled.” I don’t think this is something that just appears one day. These “heirs” have been taught this behavior over the years by never being denied. Now they think that they are more “entitled” to their parents’ money than their folks that worked and saved all of their lives.

As we have said many times before, parents who provide the easy way out – time and time again – are not doing their children any favors. This is the end result of that sort of coddling. Still, I hesitate to put too much blame on the parents.

Certainly these “kids” should be finding ways to make sure mom and dad are secure in their golden years. Nothing is stopping them from being decent and helping to make things better. But since they have never considered anyone but themselves for their entire adult lives, they don’t.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the flip side of this issue.

B.C. woman sues adult kids for parental support: Should she get it?” (By Zosia Bielski for The Globe and Mail)

In this story a 73-year-old Canadian woman is using an obscure law, from back in The Depression era, to sue her adult children for support payments. At first glance I was inclined to think, sure, why shouldn’t her kids help take care of their aging mother? She shouldn’t have to sue them!

But this story has a twist. Perhaps this is not a case of worthless, ungrateful offspring ignoring a parent, but a mother that is envious of her children’s success.

“Shirley Anderson, who recieves $1,500 a month from the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security, now wants $750 from each of her four kids. ‘Ms. Anderson has complained that her family takes trips to Hawaii as she lives in poverty. She first sued her children 12 years ago and was then awarded $10 a month from each child.'”

Still, I thought maybe these kids should be helping out their mother. Couldn’t they come to some sort of agreement without a lawsuit? Then one of the children provided this answer,

“‘I just do not believe you should have to pay when you’re left behind at 15 years old. It’s not right,’ her son Ken, 47, told reporters. ‘We’re getting older and we’ve got to retire soon. We’ve got two kids that we’ve got to put through post-secondary school, and having to pay her just takes it away from my kids. It’s just not right,’ he said.

That’s right, this woman dumped her own family when they were just kids, and now she thinks that she deserves $36,000 a year from them. They have growing children of their own, headed to college, but grandma doesn’t care, she wants to leave them in the lurch too.

Maybe we’ll have to come up with a new term: Parasite “Parents”.


Your turn: What do YOU think about these issues? Is there a special place in hell for offspring who steal from their elderly parents? Should offspring be required to take care of elderly parents no matter the circumstances?

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31 thoughts on “The Yin and Yang of Parasite “Kids””

  1. This made my skin crawl and spin as it hit home. Sparing some details…When my hubby’s pop died, it became clear that the lawyer in charge of the deed for their home had 5 years before, mistakenly marked his parents as co habitants not spouses. This meant upon pops’ death the house was half his moms and half his moms/the 7 kids. 3 said “it’s dads way of ensuring we get something”. Advance 6 years, one held out “not signing over the property” and mamabear had to take her son to court to get what was rightfully hers. To the cost of $7000. One would think the lawyer who made the mistake should cover the cost right? Only half..and now he is a judge. My hubby hasn’t spoken to the bro in years. And has very limited contact with the 2 other offenders. For his own health. His parents gave everything to do their best despite challenges.

    Ya this article made my skin crawl.

  2. Reading stories like this makes me very thankful I came from a family where my brother and I were loved unconditionally and taught by example to look after elderly family members who were getting ill or disabled. We have always been there for each other.

    When my brother and his wife went through a rough year, my mom and I each took one of their children that year. When my brother got through that year he was a changed person and all family relationships improved. I moved my mom closer to me after that year, since she was almost 80. I wanted her close for the years when she was disabled.

    I once had to put my mail order business on the back burner and move in with her for two months during a very trying time in her life when she could not take care of herself. I managed her end of life round the clock care and took one of the 8-hour shifts myself. My brother lived too far away to take an active part in caregiving, but he made the 8-hour round trip to visit Mom every Saturday when we knew she was terminal.

    Dad had set up a trust for mom so that she couldn’t ever be pressured by anyone in or out of the family for money, since the trustee had to approve and advise on every decision. He basically took care of all but the daily financial decisions of running the household. When Mom couldn’t, I took over writing her checks, but she never hurt for money. Neither of us would have dreamed of cheating her. If we really needed something, we would ask and she usually helped out by loaning us what we needed for the unexpected.

    When we were young we were taught how to be financially responsible and work for what we got. Our parents would never have allowed either of us to be parasites if we were able-bodied. They saw to it we had the education and training to make a living and then insisted that if we weren’t going to school and still wanted to live at home, we pay rent.

    My parents had a trust that saw to it my brother and I shared equally in the inheritance and we never fought over anything. We worked out some changes we agreed on with the trustee who helped make them happen. We still have a good relationship.

    I would suggest that all families who are financially able set up trusts to take care of their needs for the time when they can’t and get a reliable trustee who is not a family member. The problem is finding such a trustee, since many trustees are now involved in financial elder abuse.

    1. Thank you for your story Barbara. You are so right about setting up a trust. It is not just for the very wealthy. With a trust there is no arguing over money, everything is spelled out. We certainly wish that families could all have the best interests at heart, but sadly that is not always the case.

  3. My father lived with us for the last six months of his life. Hubby and I fed him, bathed him, and numerous times I had to clean the urine off the floor because he had thrown/knocked over his urinal. When he first moved in, he still had his mind. He did pay us rent. I don’t believe we took advantage of him, nor to my siblings. Yet when it came to dividing up his money when he was gone, certain siblings did take advantage of the situation.

    We saw the money situation again when members passed on the other side. My children learned a lot from these two situations and I do know that the money will be divided equally and if the time comes that my husband and I need help, they will be there for us.

    1. It is a sad situation when people don’t respect the wishes of the deceased. All we can do is the right thing, if others don’t, I guess we just have to learn from it and move on.

  4. Afrter receiving a terminal diagnosis I gave each of my 2 children $150,000 and I was left with $100,000. I recovered instead of dying and find my children put my remaining $1,00 in their own names so effectively I have nothing except the government pension and now live among the living dead in this chronic care nursing home. It’s a story that is unbelieveable and I can’gt cope with it.

  5. Fortunately, the Judge in the Anderson case saw fit to dismiss it. The adult children were under no obligation to pay, especially in light of their terrible upbringing. Nonetheless, they went through months of disruption and angst. Thanks Mom. Still, a good outcome. I’m enjoying your posts.

  6. one of my favorite expressions is “keep yourfriends close and your enemies closer.” It is truly sad when members of your own family steal from you, especially your offspring. I can count on one hand the number of family members that I trust.

  7. My wife’s brother a sibling who lives in Huntington NY slipped a quit claim deed in front of his ailing and mentally confused mother and told her it was an authorization to pay her power bill. He then had his wife’s cousin notarize it even thought she was not present at the signing. It was an $800,000 house that he cheated his other three siblings out of. After 8 long years in the Brooklyn courts where he changed 5 lawyers were replaced after they refused to continue with this case. We got a whopping $27k for all our troubles. Even thought it was a clear cut open and shut case. Once someone is a total snake like this and has absolutely no morality the courts cant help you. You are basically screwed. Perhaps there is a special place in hell where these people will go. I hope so.

  8. I’m glad you guys decided to blog about this. I brought parasite parents up to you before. I purchased a home this past summer for my mother and brother. I’ve also paid some of their bills. I’ve finally said enough is enough. I’ve done what I can for them, and now they will have to figure out the rest themselves. My mother has stolen from me as well as my grandparents (who are now, both deceased.) As well as lied and manipulated people and situations to her own benefit. My grandparents were also the ones who raised us, while she worked and partied. I also don’t let her around my kids-not that she’s made much effort-because she is abusive and has a very negative attitude. Should I be expected to pay or care for this woman. No. I don’t think so. Especially now when it takes away from my children. But it doesn’t mean I want her living on the street either. I’ve made sacrifices and I’ve made choices I can live with, as we all do. I think whatever decison you make is the right one. You shouldn’t feel guilty over things you can’t or won’t do. And you shouldn’t be made to feel foolish for deciding to help those that maybe don’t deserve it. This was the right answer for me. I hope this helps someone. Good Luck and God bless us everyone.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story. Hopefully your experience will open some eyes. Looks like taking advantage of family members isn’t confined to any certain generation.

  9. I don’t understand how people’s minds work sometimes. I get money from my parents for my birthday – only because they have no idea what to buy for me – and that’s it. If I’m having money problems, well, I’m an adult and it’s up to me to sort it out, not my mum or dad. I was made to get a job when I was 16, and have been working ever since. I can’t even imagine stealing from either of my parents – I’d lose all my family if I did.

    As for the woman who left her kids and is now demanding they pay for her? That thing also disgusts me. Sure you provided some DNA, but if you walk out, don’t help raise the kids and don’t have contact, then you shouldn’t be entitled to any kind of support from them. What goes around comes around, in that case.

  10. That all depends on local laws because they differ EVERWHERE. I know here in PR, family laws probe deeply into distant relatives and deep into pockets of everyone.

  11. Its a tragedy for sure for some adult kids to steal from their parents under the “entitled” header, but what about those of us who were essentially “divorced” when our parents divorced? Sure he paid child support but hardly visited or contacted us and now that he needs 24 hour care and has no close relatives thinks that my husband and I should take him in and quit our lives and short our kids? I dont think so!

  12. Is there a special place in Hell from kids who rip off their elderly parents? Of course. That’s a no-brainer.

    The other question is a bit more difficult, especially when put in terms of “requirement.” When my mom got sick and needed full-time care, I immediately stepped in–because she was my mom. Interestingly, I got nothing but admonitions from all my friends and colleagues at the university where I was still a graduate student: “don’t do it”, “you’ll have no life”, “are you crazy”, etc. For me, however, I considered it a privilege, not a requirement. I was very close to my mom, who had done her level-best to raise me under not so terrific circumstances. The idea that it would hurt me socially (whatever) and hurt me financially (ended up having to file for bankruptcy) meant little. For me, it was about doing what was right.

    1. Wow Jason I couldn’t has said it better myself. I’ve been looking through various sites in hope of perhaps getting some advice on what to do about my sister who considered herself “entitled” to take or have what ever she wanted from my parents but after my mum passed away and within three months of her passing she pressured him into making a will all in her Cavour of course she stole from him after getting authorization on his account and off on (no exaggeration ) she went on 7-8 holidays abroad and not bothering with him. I look at my dad in a very different way. I saw helping him in anyway I could as being the very least I could do plus I really wanted to do after all my parents brought me into this world, we’re there for me when I needed them put a roof over our heads food on the table gave me advice along when I needed it, taught me right from wrong and the list carries on as being a parent myself I know the job is that of a life time. I felt honored to have the privilege to be called upon when my dad needed me to help care for mum before she sadly passed away 5 years ago and then to help him in anyway I could until he very sadly broke my heart and passed away April this year. I thought nothing of putting my career as an airline pilot on hold making that decision to do so as long as he was alive. GIVEN THE CHANCE A SECOND TIME AROUND I WOULDNT HESITATE TO DO IT ALL AGAIN. It has been my honor and a privilege

  13. When I decided to write full time, my daughter asked me and her stepdad to come live with her in Hawaii. It is a family thing! Reluctant at first to impose, I came to “help” with her son who needs no help, he is 13. Yet, it has been a blessing for all of us.

    But suing my children for money? Stealing from an elderly parent? I find those things despicable, yet involving outside intervention ends in nothing but disaster most times. Sigh! What a life!

    1. Big difference between doing things for your adult kids because you want to and having them expect you to take care of them. Worse yet, they rob you because they feel like you owe them something. Like you said, what a life!

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