I was accused of being a slacker parent over the weekend. By my daughter of all people.
We were visiting Jill this weekend for her sorority parents weekend. She was a gracious host, taking us to the bars and our first “Darty” (day party) at one of the fraternities with a live band, crawfish, and of course beer.
Chatting with other parents, one of them asked me where my son was.
“He had to work this weekend so he stayed home.”
“Mom, you NEVER LET ME stay by myself at home for the weekend when I was in high school. Drew gets off SO EASY with you guys.”
Hmm, that’s true. I never let Jill spend the weekend at home alone.
Not one to drop a subject, Jill asked, “do you trust him more than me?”
“At that age, absolutely,” Andrew quipped.
Maybe it’s a gender thing or maybe the second child syndrome, but I must agree that we have loosened up a bit on the reigns with our youngest.
He hasn’t tested our trust in him yet (at least that we know of!) and until he does, I see no reason to curtail my son’s freedom.
Drew knows too that with freedom comes responsibility. He maintains great grades in both high school and his college dual enrollment classes. He’s playing Varsity sports and he works 15-20 hours/week on the weekends.
Don’t get me wrong. Jill has also been very responsible. She’s just a bit more of a social butterfly than her brother.
There’s nothing wrong in my opinion in treating your children differently. In fact, I think it’s inevitable as all parents probably do it unconsciously. And, frankly, kids thrive under different circumstances and parenting styles.
I remember when my son and I were having a particularly tough time with each other in elementary school. We would butt heads about everything. I was so exasperated that I consulted with his pediatrician.
After asking me tons of questions about how my son was doing in school and how he interacted with his teachers and peers, the pediatrician proclaimed that I was the problem. Ouch! I needed to loosen up a bit with him. And you know what, she was absolutely right. Our relationship improved immediately and my son has since thrived with more freedom.
Just as parents often (or should) treat their children differently when raising them, so too parents may want to (or even should) treat their children differently in their Family Succession Planning.
You may have a disabled child that needs special planning to ensure that his future public assistance benefits is not jeopardized by a well-meaning inheritance.
You may have a “wild child” who is dabbling in drugs or alcohol that you are concerned will blow through her inheritance quickly if you leave her any money outright.
You may want to guarantee an inheritance to your children from a prior marriage and ensure that your current spouse does not purposefully or inadvertently cut them out.
Your situation is unique and your Family Succession Planning should reflect that. Do not settle for a cookie-cutter plan sold online or by attorneys who do not specialize in estate planning matters (an attorney who spends the majority of their law practice crafting custom Family Succession Plans, not just a lawyer who, by the way, “also does Wills”).
Custom crafting your unique Family Succession Plan begins with a Family Succession Strategy Session which you can book online here.
As much as Jill may pretend to lament her stricter rules in high school compared to her brother, I don’t think she’s had it too rough as evidenced by this photo.
Man, if only I could go back to college!
Kristen “Slacker Parent” Marks