"Parents cannot effectively communicate their love to a child unless they are also a source of effective authority. "

Parenting the Terminally Ill

Question

Do parenting rules change when parenting a young adult (19) with a chronic/terminal illness. My husband's son (and 16 yr old daughter) have cystic fibrosis. While their health is generally good with the typical hospital stays of a week to ten days once or twice a year.

Our almost 20 year old has been out of school for 2 years, works in a deli, 25- 30 hours a week but is unable to pay his own bills because of his excessive spending. He recently joined a gym for $150 a month and expects us to foot the bill. He moved into an apartment with his 18 year old girlfriend and spends much of his money on fast food and computer paraphernalia.
Every two weeks there is some sort of financial crisis with which he needs help. He seems to have money for all of the things which are of interest to him, but expects us to foot the bill for actual necessities. We do maintain his health insurance and pay for all medications and purchased a car for which we provide upkeep.
We have offered to let him move back into our house, with the stipulation that he either work 40 hours a week or be in some sort of educational program. Also, he would be charged rent and have to abide by the rules of the house as well as keep up his room and bathroom. He wants no part of this, only wanting continued financial handouts.
Because of cystic fibrosis and the kids long term prognosis, my husband feels tremendous guilt at not meeting the demands of his son (and now his daughter) who are showing more and more anger when they are not enabled. Basically, we are asking if the parental responsibilities and expectations should be altered when facing chronic illness. Please help!

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