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Ask Dave

Bad Marriage, Worse Parenting

Dave thinks there is a bigger problem in this caller's marriage than just some parent issues.

QUESTION: Susan and her husband are not on the same page about how to handle their money in relation to their three daughters. Her husband is self-employed and buys them big-ticket items like iPhones and cameras, but she wants them to work. Dave gets through the mess to tell her what's going on.

ANSWER: I think the bigger breakdown is not what the kids are learning, but the fact that you and your husband aren't on the same page about money or kids. You have a marital breakdown and the result is crummy parenting. He comes off as looking good and you come off as cruel. I've bought my kids cameras and cell phones, but they work. They are not learning to work or save or give; they are just consumers and he is spoiling them.

You need to work on your marital breakdown. What bothers me is the message sent to your daughters. Someone who marries them will spend his whole life making princess happy. The lessons being taught here are very damaging. You guys need to get on the same page about how to handle money and kids.