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takemyadvice
My sister manipulated my parents. I resent them for giving in.
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My parents agreed to help my sister and I with college. I went to a state school and saved them a bunch of money. My sister went to a private liberal arts school that cost three times as much. Now she’s dropping out, and she’s convinced my parents to give her the equivalent of her last year of tuition as a “nest egg,” since they “would have spent that money on her anyway.” I think that’s completely unfair, and I resent my sister for manipulating my parents and them for giving in. How can I get over those feelings? I always play by the rules, and I feel like I’m being punished for it.

-THE GOOD SON

There’s a reason parents love falling back on that phrase, “You think this isn’t fair? Well life isn’t fair.” It’s because they’re right.

If you want to tally up what your parents have done for you versus your sister in dollars and cents, you’re right, they’re being “unfair” to you. But the other side of this coin is that you’re clearly more capable of navigating the world on your own than your sister is.

Just look at the facts: You chose college responsibly, while she went somewhere expensive though she clearly didn’t value that. You finished your education and are moving on to the next phase of life, she’s dropping out. You clearly have your shit together in ways she doesn’t yet, but also in ways she may never achieve.

In a cosmic way, your sister might be the one who got the short end of the stick; maybe because of her wiring, or maybe because your parents indulged her, she’s not nearly as capable and successful as you are.

If anything, that’s not something you should resent her for, it’s something you should feel lucky about.

Try seeing this problem not in the light of money, but in the light of your parents loving their children no matter what. Your sister needs help right now, and they’re in a position to provide it. They’re choosing to do so because they don’t want her to wind up in a bad place.

You don’t need their help right now, and I’d wager anything they’re extremely proud of you for that.

If you really can’t get over the money, why not go to your parents with a “responsible child” proposal: Ask if you can use a similar “gifted” sum towards a down payment (now or in the future) or further education. If they say no, tell them how you feel: You’d like to be rewarded for your good choices, and instead it feels like your sister is being rewarded for bad ones.

Or, better yet, stop focusing on the dollar amounts your parents can give you, and try to pay closer attention to the sort of support that really matters, the kind that made you the “good son” in the first place.

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illy37
What to Do With a Crappy Parent
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I work part-time as a nanny for a 9-year-old boy. Recently, at school, he had an accident (I think he might have had mild food-poisoning). The office called his mom at work, and when I showed up to get him, she was already home with the kid–let’s call him Eric–getting ready to head out to buy new clothes and shoes (it was that kind of accident). More

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illy1
He’s Got His Dream Job, Now I’m Living a Nightmare
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My boyfriend had been looking for a job for months and was offered an awesome-paying position.  But he would have been working 6 a.m.-6 p.m. 4+ days/week. Instead of taking it, he bought into his friend’s business selling game cards. We have no real monetary cushion so I took the first job offered (food-service) hoping to support us and our 5 children. More

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Take My Advice: 12 Steps, 1 Big Surprise
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My older brother is finally getting sober after years struggling with alcohol and occasional pill abuse. That’s great. What’s less awesome is that his “making amends” step has led to a few revelations of things I didn’t even know he did. When the stereo got stolen out of my car a few years back, I assumed it was a random break-in. NOPE! It was my big brother. He also apparently stole money out of my wallet several times when I was in high school and home from college, and–this is the big one–he apparently hooked up with my senior-year girlfriend when he was wasted (neither of them ever told me until now). I want to support him in his recovery, but I’m pissed and hurt.  More

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Take My Advice: All in the Family?
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When I was a baby my parents divorced and my dad moved across the country and started a new family. He totally cut us off–we had no contact with him growing up, or with anyone on his side of the family tree. Fast forward to now. I met an amazing guy, we have the same weird sense of humor, like the same things–basically we’re a great match. We’ve been together a couple months and we’re in love…and after a lot of long conversations and some digging around facebook, I’m afraid he might be my first cousin. I don’t have proof, and I haven’t talked to him about it yet, but the snippets line up–he grew up near where I think my dad’s family was living, and I know my dad had a sister with kids. Should I tell him? Should I tell my mom? I’m freaking out that I might be inadvertently on the path to inbred babies. More