Controlling or Conceding?


Bob and Lynda Cronyn give their single-mom daughter, Shira, $1,000 a month. Their gift is intended to let Shira work only part-time so she can be with her son more fully while he is growing up.  This year Shira wants to spend most of that money on a fancy sleep-away camp for him, which the Cronyns feel is a frivolous use of the money. Should they speak up? Should they withhold the allowance because Shira seems to be frittering it away? Or, having committed to helping support their daughter, have they forfeited their right to make a value judgment? 

The Panel Weighs In

Our panel weighs in, unanimously for the first time!

Richard: They’ve forfeited their right to speak up. The word “gift” implies no strings attached. Also, the camp may be such a valuable experience for the kid that it’s worth every penny.

Janine: They have to go along with Shira even if they don’t agree with her. Otherwise, they’re using their money to manipulate her.

Hank: With hindsight the Cronyns probably should have stipulated how they wanted the money to be used, for example, only for medical or educational purposes. Now Shira is counting on their commitment and they are obligated to pay up. There’s nothing wrong with their voicing their concerns, however.

Beth: The Cronyns should just keep doing what they’re doing. Since they didn’t specify the use of the allowance, they have to comply with their daughter’s wishes.

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