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Woman resists risking money on son’s bad credit

Dear Abby: We have a grown son who is married with his own family and home. He and his wife have jobs. My husband and I are semiretired – not rich, but we live comfortably. Our credit score is great.

My son wants us to co-sign a loan for him. I know his credit is not good because I get phone calls from collection agents looking for him. We really don't want to co-sign.How do I explain this to him? I feel that because I'm his mother it obligates me. I am also afraid he will stop letting us see the grandkids if I refuse. – Scared Of The Dotted Line

Dear Scared: Since debt collectors are calling because your son isn't paying his bills, do not co-sign for a loan for him! If you do, you could wind up having to pay it off yourselves.

Your son is an adult. That you are his mother does not obligate you to assume responsibility in case he doesn't pay his bills. If he retaliates by not allowing you to see the grandkids, so be it. If you knuckle under to emotional blackmail, it won't stop, and it could affect your standard of living for the rest of your lives.

Dear Abby: I'm in high school and my daddy just passed away. I want to know why I have so much anger and hurt about this. I feel like he never got to see me reach any of my goals in life. The main goal was to see my graduation.

What is the best way I can get my mind off this? – Young Girl in Alabama

Dear Young Girl: I am sorry for your loss, which is a particularly difficult one at your age.

It's important that you understand the feelings you are experiencing are normal. Anger is a part of the grieving process, and it may take some time for you to get beyond it.

The best way to "get your mind off this" would be to find a safe place to TALK about it. A grief support group would be helpful. Your clergyperson could help you find one and so could your family doctor.

Dear Abby: I am writing regarding the letter from "Appreciative in Hitchcock, Texas" (June 17) about the importance of sending thank-you notes.

Maybe this will help others: When our three children were young, we had a "note rule." When they received a present, they had five days to write the note. If written within two days, the note only had to be three lines long. On the third day, it was four lines. On the fourth day, five lines. On the fifth day – the gift went to charity!

None of them ever complained about doing their notes, and it became a habit while growing up. We were proud of each of them when their wedding thank-yous were out within a week! – Strict Parents in St. Louis

Dear Strict Parents: Good for you! You taught your children that there were consequences for shirking responsibility. That's an important lesson because the same is true when they become adults.

Dear Abby: I was wondering, do you ever read a letter and say to yourself, "If this is all you have to worry about, you're lucky"? – Jeff in Fort McCoy, Fla.

Dear Jeff: No. I have more respect for my readers than that. However, many people have written me to say that after reading the letters that appear in my column, they felt lucky!

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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