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College and children - how much should parents contribute?

  • 23-05-2022 5:41pm
    Registered Users Posts: 714 ✭✭✭

    My college going children live in a house that I own, the house which was my first home, which I don't live in now. I pay their college fees. I was paying gas, electricity and internet. I stopped paying the internet as it was 85 per month. They both have part-time jobs, and work all during the summer, but never save any money - they travel a lot. I want to go part-time in work, and while I can still pay their fees, paying the utility bills, gas and electricity for another house, in addition to my own home, is burdensome, especially when they have often left gas on all day, and leave lights on all over the house on a regular basis - this has been addressed, but no change. Just wondering what other people contribute to their college going kids.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 30,651 Mod ✭✭✭✭Faith

    To be frank, what other people do doesn’t matter here because your relationship with your children is a very particular one. You’ve had probably half a dozen threads here relating to your children and received no end of advice, which 100% included repeated advice to stop facilitating them by paying for everything. If nothing has changed in terms of your relationship with them, then that’s the first issue that needs addressing, not them running up high gas bills.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,520 ✭✭✭Day Lewin

    When my kids were at college, we paid their fees but nothing else. They were living at home, but we told them all "We don't carry passengers!"

    They weren't given money, and their summer jobs/weekend work paid for their expenses.

    They may have been broke but they all turned out well and earn their own living now.

    Harden your heart, OP, and just stop paying for things; it only makes them feel "entitled" and that's a bad lesson. A person old enough and smart enough to be studying for a college degree is well able to make ends meet if they have to. It does them good. Believe me, I'm a veteran.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,287 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard

    Hannaho, genuinely, what advice are you expecting here that you haven't been given a hundred times over already?

    I'll say this one more time in case by some miracle it sticks this time:

    Stop enabling your horrendous, entitled little sh*ts of children.

    End of.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,601 ✭✭✭The J Stands for Jay

    One of the important things to learn in university is how to survive on no money. Stop ruining your kids education.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,622 ✭✭✭growleaves

    You could make them pay for the gas and electricity - either all of it, or a portion of it but *based on usage* so that leaving the gas and lights on affects their pocket.

    How else are they going they learn? You could even say that to them: "How else are you going to learn?"

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,169 ✭✭✭✭Jim_Hodge

    Every family is different. We paid all our kid's uni costs. Rent, utilities, fees etc and preferred that they didn't work part time. Others will say that's madness but we wanted to give them a good start. All got their 1sts and their desired jobs and are now happy and doing very well in life. We feel rich beyond material measure having seen them get to this part of their lives. Once their educations were out of the way we put the extra money we then had towards retiring early, which we did. You're blessed to have the house for them. Maybe just point out the strain the utilities are causing you and have a frank discussion with them. I really don't know, as I said we're all different, but I doubt you'll get a magic solution here other than hearing what you want to hear.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,250 ✭✭✭✭banie01

    This, 100% this.

    This post is a loop from the OP. Rather than ask the same question over & over again? Perhaps just trawl through one of the other similar threads you've posted and actually implement some of the advice.

    I don't mean to be snappy, but you are as bad as the kids you've reared. You enable them constantly and then rock up with a thread about your precious darlings that generally descends into advice you ignore. Before you then rinse and repeat.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,622 ✭✭✭growleaves

    Okay now I'm seeing the problem, I think...

    Since OP doesn't have the heart to cut them off you just need to charge them *something* to teach them the value of money.

    I recommend make them pay 30% of the gas and electricity. See if they leave the lights on then.

    You'd still be paying their rent, college fees, internet and 70% of their gas and electric bill.

    Don't pay for 100% of everything!

    One day you won't be around to pay for things and they'll have to fend for themselves.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,066 ✭✭✭✭ted1

    They probably have a tenant paying for them rent too

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,946 ✭✭✭Jequ0n

    You have raised some smart kids, OP. You should be proud of them and continue to help them on their journeys.

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  • Administrators Posts: 13,436 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    You pay what you can afford. If you can't afford it, you don't pay it. Your children have zero respect for you. They don't appreciate anything you do for them. They bully and harass you. They are never going to voluntarily take on any financial responsibility. Ever. They will allow you to continue to subsidise them, whilst they continue to take advantage and become more and more entitled.

    You have had multiple threads here over the years. None of them very nice. I feel sorry for you. I do believe you have tried your best with your children, but the upshot is they are not nice people. Not towards you anyway. They are now adults. Both of them. Time to take a step back and see what happens with them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,338 ✭✭✭TheW1zard



    2 point warning for Breach of Charter

    Post edited by Big Bag of Chips on

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,024 ✭✭✭witchgirl26

    OP I lived at home during college & during the year didn't have a job. That's because I worked all summer & saved. But when I was working, I was expected to contribute something (wasn't ever a huge amount) to the household as I was earning. I started summer jobs at 16 & that was in place from there.

    I think you genuinely need to have a difficult conversation with your children that you aren't going to be funding them forever & they need to start paying their way. They have jobs so they can most likely afford the gas, electricity, tv & internet themselves at this point. Now fair enough in the winter, if the utility bills get a bit high & you want to help out but otherwise I'd be telling them they need to prioritise.

    I did travel during the summer in college a little but it was never big trips at all & always done on a budget (Ryanair flights, cheap hotels, cheap dinners!).

    You're enabling them to this lifestyle they currently have. When they leave college are you planning to let them continue to stay in the house? Are you going to continue to pay for everything for them?

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,208 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    +1 to this.

    Posters take time to give advice. OP ignores, then returns with yet another thread. Rinse and repeat.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,818 ✭✭✭tea and coffee

    I get the impression this isn't the full picture.

    You say your partner has been around as a stable figure for the kids since they were young, but you variously post threads about dating/ hooking up. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with this- there isn't! But perhaps they missed a stabilising figure in the house?

    Also the vandalism sounds like it took place a good few years ago and you're still dwelling on it. Look, I get it. I would be rightly angry, and find it hard to let go, but it might be necessary for you to let go be able to move on.

    Also, you previously mentioned a large drug debt. Are either of your children addicts or drug users? It might explain the attitude.

    If you are working hideous, long shifts, who was minding the kids? What about on night shifts? Again, I'm not trying to blame you, I'm just trying to understand where they might be coming from

    I imagine it is reasonably rare for both kids to just be horrible like that. There is usually some underlying anger or trauma on their part. Have you ever tried discussing that with them in a calm setting, maybe with a neutral 3rd party present.

    You could tell them how much it is upsetting you in such a session, perhaps. Unless of course they are in an addictive space, in which case, you are in all probability pissing into the wind.

    For your own sake, you need to set down stronger boundaries. If they can't pay the bills then tough. Say you will pay up to x amount, and that is it.

  • Administrators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,947 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Neyite

    In an ideal scenario, parents typically contribute significantly while their kids are in education, and only think about changing the arrangement when those kids are in their first job. But your family set up is far from the norm - you know that though.

    So practically what I would suggest is that you transfer all the bills for that house into their names. One or two each. You work out what an appropriate amount might be for a parent to contribute to those per month, and also what you can afford to pay - and hand them that amount every month. That's your job done.

    What they do with it is up to them. If they piss it all away on booze and have to sit in the dark or pay a reconnection fee, tough. If they run up a massive bill and come running to you? Sorry you're broke, you just paid off your own bills. Tell them you hope they can scrape the money together - maybe sell some of their stuff? But the key is that you DON'T rush to their rescue. Don't offer reasons, explanations, excuses or solutions, or more importantly, any money. You paid your bit. Let them sit in the dark with their phone battery dying before their eyes (torture lol) let them have to put on three pairs of socks going to bed because it's cold. Or they'll go visit friends who have a warmer gaff. They'll survive but they need to come into their own realisation It's a learning moment for them and you have to stand well clear of it.

    It's coming into summer so they won't freeze to death if the heat goes off, and it's light until about 10pm or so so it's the ideal time to change all the utilities into their name to give them a shake up but also a bit of a soft landing because you aren't a total monster. All it will take is one massive bill or red notice that they have to pay instead of going on that weekend to that festival and they'll be turning that dial down.

    Young adults and kids can be surprisingly resourceful and careful with their own funds, it's just yours that they are happy to fritter away.

  • Registered Users Posts: 334 ✭✭Senature

    I agree switch all utilities into their name and address, then tell them they need to set up direct debits etc between them.

    If you can afford it, you could pay €50-100 per child per month towards these bills but if you can't, then don't.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23 LunaIsMyUsername

    It crazy to me reading your post, When I was in college my mother helped a bit with my accommodation costs but as soon as I was able to pay her back I did, other than that I lived off my grant (3k a year) and the odd 20 euro from my granny. I did my degree in a part of the country that hadn't fully come out of the recession so jobs where hard to come by, especially for young students with no experience and no connections. I remember seeing other students my age getting constant handouts and supports from their parents and feeling so envious of them. Despite it all I turned out well, put myself through college a further 2 times and over time building up a good enough cv to get my own foot in the door. It really stood to me now as im such a hard worker and very independent, I can't imagine getting financial help from anyone and feel extra proud of my achievements.

    Not suggesting you should let your kids fall into poverty like me but you're doing so much for them that its just as bad just on the other end of the spectrum. They won't have a bit of grit or resilience in them and the minute something doesn't go well fo them they won't have a notion of how to handle themselves. They're at the age now where they're supposed to be learning about the ups and downs of life and learning about taking responsibility, they can't do that if you're protecting them from every little bit of discomfort and hardship. You have to let them stand on their own two feet for their own good.