Helping a Married Child Financially

Should parents come to the rescue when grown and married children need monetary assistance? Our daughter and her husband are struggling, and we'd like to help them out. But we don't want to set an unhealthy precedent or cross a boundary. How do you think we should handle this?

Our answer may come as a surprise you. If you have the financial ability and the desire, we actually think it is more beneficial to give to your children while you are alive than to leave them a large inheritance. This presumes, of course, that you do it wisely and follow some basic guidelines. If you feel inclined to come alongside your daughter and her husband during this difficult and formative stage in their marriage, we suggest you keep the following principles in mind.

Give with no manipulative strings attached

Gifts should be gifts, not behavioral modification tools. If you are trying to change adult children’s behavior by what you do for them financially, you are being manipulative. For some parents and grandparents this poses a challenge. Instead of giving money freely, we may be tempted to want something in return: phone calls, visits during the holidays, license to “meddle” in our children’s marriages, etc. But such expectations run contrary to the spirit of true generosity.

Transfer wealth gradually without changing their lifestyle dramatically

For example, consider helping them out with the cost of necessary items, such as a washer and dryer or a refrigerator. It goes without saying that there’s no reason to help them procure luxuries. If they’re buying a home, you might also think about giving them a monthly gift to help pay down the principal on their mortgage. By adopting this approach, you avoid making them dependent upon you for their basic monthly payments while simultaneously providing them with phenomenal financial help – if you keep this practice up faithfully, they will probably pay their mortgage debt in ten to fifteen years instead of thirty.

Respect the sanctity of your daughter’s marriage and her husband’s need to provide

Be sensitive to your son-in-law’s feelings and bear in mind the importance of his role as provider within the marital relationship. Don’t give the young couple so much money that he feels he isn’t needed or has his motivation to work dampened. Your giving shouldn’t cause conflict in the marriage or give the impression that you’re taking sides in a disagreement between husband and wife.

Respect your children’s parental wishes

If your children have kids of their own, avoid coming between the parents and the grandchildren. Let’s say your children respectfully ask you to reduce your Christmas giving. Perhaps they think too many gifts are making their children selfish. Respect their wishes. Don’t get into a situation where your desire to give causes problems.

Stay out of the way of God dealing with your children

It’s hard for more affluent parents to watch their kids struggle with problems that could be solved with a check. But it may not always be God’s will for you to intervene in your children’s problems. The Lord may have a lesson for them to learn or may want them to seek another solution that He has in mind. The more you have, the more difficult it is to allow your children to be fiscally disciplined and suffer the consequences of their own mistakes. It’s much easier for you to take away the financial pain.


Follow these guidelines, and we predict that giving to your daughter and her husband will be a joy and a blessing for all concerned. If you need help applying these concepts to your situation, don’t hesitate to give our staff a call. Focus on the Family’s counselors would be happy to listen to your concerns and assist you with some practical suggestions. They can also provide you with referrals to advisors and counselors who specialize in helping families with financial issues.


Complete Guide to Faith-Based Family Finances

Once a Parent, Always a Parent: How to Love and Support Your Adult Children

Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children: Six Steps to Hope and Healing for Struggling Parents

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

How to Manage Your Money: An In-Depth Bible Study on Personal Finances

The Treasure Principle


Crown Financial Ministries

Dave Ramsey

Debt-Proof Living

Kingdom Advisors


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