Do you agree with this ASK AMY Response?

Sibling rivalry. Is it present in every family?  Is it more prevalent in families with gay and straight siblings? 

What about favoritism shown by the parents for one sibling over another in regard to financial assistance?  I've had multiple conversations with a very good single gay friend of mine about his view of his parents' uneven generosity / financial favoritism in regard to him and his straight married sister and mother of his two nieces.  His scenario is very similar to a recent Q and A in the ASK AMY section of the Washington Post.

Here's a letter from HURT describing her side of the uneven parental support / generosity.

DEAR AMY: All our lives my parents have made sure my sister and I were treated equally when it came to gifts and money. That continued into our post-college early adulthood — sometimes Mom would give me money because she went shopping with my sister and bought her clothes or things for the house.

I find myself feeling hurt because my parents are now lavishing money on my sister’s family and no longer treat us equally. My folks help them with household expenses (my sister and her husband decided to work part time when the kids were born), pay for private school tuition, the kids’ clothes, lessons, after-school activities and vacations.

Mom and Dad have bought two new cars for them and have set aside money for the kids’ college expenses. In the meantime, my partner and I work more than 60 hours every week in demanding careers and live on the money we make.

I know that my parents’ hard-earned money is theirs to do with as they please, but I feel hurt that my partner and I do not benefit from their generosity.

I find it hard to believe that it’s because I’m gay, since they have always been supportive of me, but I am beginning to wonder.

I hate that this is beginning to affect how I feel about my parents and my sister. But I cannot seem to talk myself out of feeling that my sister and her husband have no reason to support themselves because Mom and Dad take care of all their expenses.

How can I have a conversation with my parents about this? I love them but hate this growing feeling of resentment. Or am I totally off base with my feelings? — Hurt   –

Is HURT being selfish or does she have a point?

DEAR HURT: Your feelings are your feelings, and you get to have them.

I agree with your instinct to communicate with your parents about this. They might assume that their largesse is directed toward the grandchildren and so they might not see this as affecting you. This inequity isn’t because you are gay, but because you are childless.

Start by thanking them. Tell them you are aware that they have worked hard for their money and it is their right to spend it any way they want, but that their lopsided generosity has started to affect your relationship with your sister.

Don’t ask them to do anything differently — but do tell them how you feel. They may respond that they don’t give you more because you are simply more capable and less needy/greedy than your sibling. However, you should also prepare yourself for the possibility that this may create stress, pressure or resentment from them. –

Do you agree with AMY that HURT should speak up or would it just muddle the family dynamics?

Have you had something similar occur in your family?

If so, how did you handle your feelings?



10 thoughts on “Do you agree with this ASK AMY Response?”

  1. For those of you who are

    For those of you who are saying that the parents are supporting the younger sister because she is struggling, that is BS! You forget that the "sister and her husband decided to work part time when the kids were born". While I get the sister and the husband wanting to spend more time with the kids, it is a choice "they" made knowing that they still have bills to pay. Could one spouse have opted to work part-time? Sure, but in this case they both decided to work part-time and have her parents flip the bill on their end. I myself am currently going through a very similar thing in which my parents favor my oldest brother's kids over mine. I get that they are closer, being that my military career had taken me to many far away states in 20 years that I was in, but I always made it a point to go home on leave two to three times a year so that my girls would have a connection with their grandparents. In 2012 I finally retired from the military and moved closer to home so that my parents and kids could see more of each other. Unfortunately, this is not the case and my parents have remained more distant now than when I was active duty and living far away. They don't even visit and have missed out on important events like Sweet 16s and graduations, believing that sending a text message saying "I love you and I'm proud" is the same as being in their lives. It is not! Actively being in someone's life, being there for their proudest moments and sharing in their joy or sadness, is showing one that you are in their life. Sending a text message in impersonal and cold. The writer, Hurt, has all right to feel like he/she has been placed in the back burner. Hurt also has the right to confront his/her parents about how he/she feels about how the sister is being treated, and the right to tell the parents about how he/she is feeling. However, Hurt must be prepared to possibly hear something Hurt may not want to hear and can possibly tear them apart. Hopefully, it doesn't go in the direction of the latter and they can come to a resolve in which their issues are worked out amicably and as one family. For me, it has not worked out that way and my parents and I have not spoken in three years. I grew to resent them not for not being in my life, but for excluding themselves out of my daughters lives. Hurt, is you read this, speak up or forever hold your peace. If you do speak, speak in the "I feel" statements, letting your parents know how YOU are feeling and without demanding answers. Hopefully they will react positively and acknowledge your pain and possibly give you insight as to why they have been or feels they have been unfair to you. 

  2. I agree that it may be the

    I agree that it may be the grandkids that make a difference in the generosity, and that is understandable. I also understand that while parents should be fair to adult children, they do not have to be since it is their money. It could also be a closeness issue. Is the sister closer to the parents? Is her family more a part of their lives? Does she invite the parents to her house more often? As adults our relationship with parents can change and sometimes one child is more of a friend than others, and some children include parents better than others. 

  3. It’s not because you’re gay,

    It's not because you're gay, likely, it's because you don't have kids. I have hetero friends with kids without kids who complain about the same situation.

  4. I am in exactly the same

    I am in exactly the same situation, and I believe it's because of the Gay issue. I have two sons who will not see a penny of a pretty large estate, my sister, her son, etc will get it all. AND to some extent, I funded about 259,000 of that estate long ago.  Today, I am near the end of my life, my father will outlive me (I hope), but in any event, my family will not see a dime. I don't resent it, but I think it sad that my kids will not be remembered….they were grandkids too. So be it. And no, I will never bring it up, it would be to no avail.


  5. Whatever you do don’t wait

    Whatever you do don't wait until it's too late.  My parents did exactly the same thing setting up trusts for the grandkids exceeding 1/2 million dollars.  Money that went to these children affected my total trust distribution on their death.  I felt that this was not fair and should have been dealt with while they were alive but never had the opportunity and always feared it would make me look greedy.  I always feared my dad's response would be "you had your chance and had you had kids they would have had these education trusts set up for them as well. 

    I always felt this was unfair and have had to deal with it since their death.  I hold no ill-well towards my brothers or their children, but have always wandered if it should have been addressed.  My brother and I have lived open lives since we were in our teen, my one brother who had three kids, each receiving 80K each was living a double live and shortly before my dad died he came out.  The issue of the grandkids' trust was never addressed or talked about.  I regret this decision.


  6. One way to look at it is that
    One way to look at it is that the parents of the young children need the support in order to be home with the children more and the gay couple does not really need the support but feels left out.
    If the gay couple will get married and have children they would probably get the same support, but this guy needs to talk to his parents.
    Discounting his folks need to help the next generation of kids and their pride in having grandchildren is not helping him

  7. Actually, I believe it’s the

    Actually, I believe it's the "grandkids" thing.  My parents were very supportive of my spouse and I, even loaning us the money for the mortgage on our home.  However, the will favored my brother, in that his two sons (my nephews) got equal shares, which means I only would have gotten 1/4 of the estate.  My wonderful brother thought that was not fair, and insisted on splitting things 50/50.

  8. I’m gay and I’ll always

    I'm gay and I'll always favour my grandkid side purely because there are more costs for them. I'll try to balance both side however if you really wanna count exact cash I give to grandkid side, I will not hesitately telling them to suck it up. Example, £10 per adult, straight couple side will get £25, but gay couple side will only get £20. That's very fair and square. 

  9. I agree with Amy, it’s harder

    I agree with Amy, it's harder when you have a family and the parents understand the struggle because they've lived it.  They don't understand the "gay life struggle", they can only assume.  He should just talk to them about what his needs are.  Girls are more verbal and share there emotions and you need to learn how to do that so parents can offer you what you need.


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