My idiot nephew throws away a chance at a fresh start

A few of you may know I have a Good and an Evil sister. My Evil sister has two kids, my niece and nephew. My Good sister and I have discussed our wierd family dynamics may times, and we sympathise with our nephew. His mom has always seemed to treat him like crap, maybe because the parents encouraged the kids to take sides during their divorce back when the kids were about 10 and he sided with his father.

My nephew is 24 now, and has dropped out of school for the 3rd or 4th time. He’s still living at home, has never been able to hold a job for more than a few months (you can also say that about his mom who’s pushing 50 now). He seems bright and reasonably articulate, but aimless. His best thing is golf, but he hasn’t been able to maintain the grades to be on his school golf team even when he’s enrolled. My Good sister decided to intervene. She thinks he needs to get out and far away in order to have a chance at success. So she made him an offer.

Come up with a plan, she told him. Get out of this environment where you keep drifting in and out of school, half the time living on the floors of friends, half the time with your mom. Draw it up, she said, and if it’s reasonable, I will fund your first 3 months while you relocate and settle yourself in. And this is a one time only gift, she told him. (My Evil sister has hit us both up for money more than once). You won’t need to pay it back but there won’t be any more.

So he dawdled for weeks and didn’t come up with a plan. Finally she called him over, and basically demanded that he sit down and work out s scheme for SOMETHING. It ended up being to move to Phoenix where there is golf year round and a gazillion courses. He thought this would be the best place to break into golf on some professional level. They worked through a budget together and he walked out of her house with more than 8 thousand dollars

That was almost 3 months ago, and he hasn’t moved an inch. And my Evil sister called to complain that he was hitting HER up for money for dental work. Oh, and she mentions his online gambling habit seems to have gotten to be a bigger problem. and if he’s blowing money on football games, why should she subsidize his bad dental hygene?

I feel really bad for my Good sister. She’s the one who works so hard to maintain all these family connections – and by and large she seems to get more grief than reward from it. About 12 years ago she pulled me out of a hole with a generous loan and a roof over my head, so I know just how much she cares. Even so, it mystifies me. Mayne it’s me, but I wouldn’t be seriously perturbed if I never saw most of my relatives again, includeing my Evil sister and nephew. That’s part of the family dynamic – people fight and don’t alk for years, and I’m ok with that.

But my Good sister’s not, and she certainly deserves better.

That’s really crappy of your nephew to take advantage of the Good Sister in that way…but…she kinda set herself up for it right here:

The wiser thing isn’t to hand a lazy young man a fat wad of cash (plan or no plan) but to pick up his bills for him instead. If them bills aren’t reflecting the plan then too damn bad and they don’t get paid.

Hope the Good Sister doesn’t loose her hope and generosity of spirit over this.


Your “good” sister is generous and well meaning, but she was being a fool with her money. Per what Twiddle said, she gives a 24 year old, hard coreslacker 8000 dollars to pursue some half assed pro golf plan she basically forces him to concoct, and she’s disappointed he’s pissing the money away? What the hell did she really think was going to happen?

This sad scenario is wholly and entirely the result of your good sister’s well meaning foolishness. All she’s done is allow him to slack longer and in greater comfort.

This is the crux of the problem. You can’t force an opportunity on someone. She should have made the offer and if he decided to blow it off, too bad for him. She forced money on a slacker and…he slacked. That’s what they do.

She has a huge heart to a fault. The nephew is not to blame here.


Not to lay it on thicker, but suppose the nephew would’ve followed through as he promised. As I understand the arrangement, he would’ve taken a vacation where he would’ve played golf for three months, and be paid eight grand to do it. I guess I don’t follow how this is beneficial for anyone, especially the kid.

The good sister sure has a big heart though, and that counts for a lot.

I’m 20. I still don’t have a detailed plan for what I want to do with the rest of my life. Apparently I should have done that when I was still in High School, but I couldn’t find anything I was certain about. I’m currently working at a grocery store but hope for something better in the future. Yes I’m still living at home, because I don’t want all the money I earn to be thrown away on rent when it could go towards tuition at the community college.

Bah. That’s all I have to say to this thread.

According to the late, great Pops Mercotan, when you help a lame duck over the fence, the probability is quite high that said duck will crap in your hands.

Gee, I miss Pops.

And that’s your folk wisdom for today. Kind sister, foolish choice.

Your good sister’s desire to see your nephew succeed far exceeded your nephew’s desire to succeed. Too bad it took 8K to figure that out.

We had talked about the possibility of this happening, though neither of us quite imagined he wouldn’t even make it out the door. They have a very poor relationship and he was walked out and lived away more than once.

Really, I think this was more about her and feeling secure that she did all that could be reasonably asked of anyone. She is the only highly paid highly orgainzed person among us (the three of us siblings and the two children of the evil one), and she really feels a a family bond moreso I think than the rest of us, and wants us to succeed.

I think she wishes womeone was around for her at that age to show some faith and invest in her future. But nobody was. My parents wouldn’t put up any money for college, so she ultimately did 4 years in the Air Force and put herself through college on the GI Bill. And I know she doesn’t want him anywhere NEAR the military.

Dunno if I have anything of use to add to this thread, but my best friend’s little brother was in a similar situation as the idiot nephew. The little brother was one of the best golfers I’ve ever seen–at age 12. He won several youth tournaments and played in more than one national age-group tourney. The kid was incredible…just had an innate sense of how the game was played. Two pros I knew and worked with tapped him as a future PGA Tour player.

His parents got divorced, and his alcoholic dad farked him up a bit. For a while he bounced around from house to house, for a while living with the pro at the golf course I worked for. Then he fell into a bad crowd, and things got ugly, to the extent that he is now serving time in a California prison for drug possession. My best friend won’t talk about him any more, only saying to me about him, “What a waste.” I still shake my head about it when I think about how badly he messed himself up.

I guess the point is, even if you’ve got a talent, and people meaning well (such as the sister or the golf pro), those who are determined to mess up will do it. Looks like the nephew was one of them.

I dunno - sounds more like good sister threw away $8,000.

Wanting to help is admirable. Unfortunatly, a lot of times what people in that circumstance need is a kick in the seat, not a hand out. :frowning:

People change not because they see the light but because the feel the heat.

Sonny boy is a user, and will continue to use everyone. As long as he isn’t forced to, he will live off someone. Maybe the best thing is to toss him out and let him sink or swim on his own. It’s harsh but necessary sometimes.

I don’t think anyone needs to have a specific plan for the rest of their life. In a way it closes you off to look for opportunity right now. I did plan my life, I decided my college major while I was in elementary school, and I followed that. It was a good plan, I was well suited for it and loved the work. Currently, I’m facing the end of my plan and am not terrified, since for the first time in over a decade I don’t know the next step. That uncertainty is crushing, even with the fact that I should have a huge amount of opportunity. I can do just about anything I want - and I don’t know what I want.

That story is rather sobering. I’m 24, still living with some folks right now until I finish school, and have little idea what I am going to do when I graduate. And I suck at golf. :frowning:

Well, that’s not entirely true, I have some idea what I want to do- work as a manager at the tutoring center I coach at. When I graduate, I will be qualified to apply for the position, but that’s no guarantee I’ll get hired. As of late, I’ve been kind of depressed that I cannot commit to something the same way other people can. I see some people that decide what they are going to do with their life when they are 10 years old. I change my mind about things every five minutes; hell the only reason I’m still in school is because 1. I want to have something to show for all the time I’ve spent at it up until now, and 2. Living with my mom helps keep me motivated to graduate and become independent.

For a while I felt so restless that I wanted to move out before I graduated- there were people who thought that even though I was a full-time student who worked four part-time jobs in the evenings and weekends, the fact that I still lived with my mom made it seem like I had a stunted adulthood- as if I wasn’t ‘mature’ enough to hack it on my own. I sat down with my mom and talked with her about it- how my situation made me feel like I was a slacker, because I still lived at home and wasn’t as motivated in school as some kids were. I didn’t get straight A’s or join extracurricular activities; I passed my classes with whatever grade it took, and spent much of the rest of the time working at one job or another. My mom brought up a good point- living on my own right now would make it harder for me to concentrate on school; money would become just a dominating factor. So I decided in the long run, staying here a bit longer will help ensure that when I do get out, it will be a permanent arrangement. I’ve gotten a lot of criticism from some dopers about this situation, but contrary to some people’s beliefs, ‘Independence’ and ‘Hard work’ are rather subjective things. I am fortunate to have a mother who is extremely supportive of my education and I greatly admire and respect that. It is my hope that as a responsible adult, I can make it up to her someday.

Apologies for the hijack

Sounds like how I was between 18 & 26, except I never dropped out and hadn’t been living with my parents.

There are some people who just won’t let you help them under any circustances. The only practical solution is to cut off all relationships with them and let them sink or swim on their own. Be sure that they know that you absolutely refuse to pour any (more) money into a a river of no return. May be difficutult to do but necessary at this point

Jim, are there any homeless shelters nearby? Might help light a fire under your nephew if he sees where he’s headed.

I’ve had a million jobs in the 30+ years I’ve been working. I still don’t know what I’d be doing if I could do whatever I want. The key is to make this kid understand that regardless of what he does (and it can be anything!) he needs to be able to support himself, either alone or with the assistance of roommates.

My kid has a roommate and has recently begun tapping into his artistic abilities. He’s got a couple of great beginning gigs going on in addition to his bartending/barback job. He’s begun reading for enjoyment, he registered to vote, and is finally beginning to understand his life. I got to the point where I realized I wasn’t doing him any favors by letting him live with us, so I told him he’d have to be moving on. I was very afraid for him for quite a while, but he’s starting to get into his own rhythm and is finally making ends meet.

How did you accomplish this? Did you set a deadline and say, “After that date you have to be out of the house”? Did you gradually reduce the amount/number of things for which you would pay?

What was your technique (specifically) in getting your son to understand that he must support himself?