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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Resents Supporting Her Daughter Who's Deep in Debt

DEAR ABBY: My 34-year-old daughter, "Martha," is a single mom. I adore my granddaughter. Martha needs me to give her $500 a month, plus cover emergencies (new tires, hospital bills for baby, etc.) in order to get by. She has said repeatedly that she wants to have another baby before she's 35.

Abby, it's a financial burden to help her as much as we have. My husband (her stepdad) believes, along with me, that we should help until her finances improve. Martha is awash in student debt and has a low-paying job. She lives 12 hours away, so we have to fly out to see them, which means we don't see them often.

My question: How can I tell her that having a second baby when she can't support the first is something I can't handle financially? I am becoming resentful. Our retirement has been dismal because all our money is going to her.

My daughter has a hair-trigger temper and would use access to my granddaughter as leverage to keep the money coming. I'm appalled that she's in this position and upset that I have to pay for her choices. -- APPALLED IN OHIO

DEAR APPALLED: You DON'T have to pay for your daughter's choices. Tell Martha that as an adult it is her responsibility -- not yours -- to provide for herself and her child, and that if she becomes pregnant before her finances improve to the point that she's self-supporting, not to expect one more penny from you.

Please consider starting to reduce the amount you give her and set a deadline beyond which you will no longer supplement her income. Martha may need to find a second job, but that's better than you spending all your retirement money shouldering her responsibilities.

Expect her to be angry. If she threatens to blackmail you with access to your grandchild, tell her that the person she'll be punishing is the little one, not you, and stick to your guns.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Money