Dear Dave: I have three stepchildren, the oldest of which is married and has a little baby. The only time we hear from him is when they want money. We don't mind helping out once in a while, but his wife just seems lazy. She stays at home all the time and doesn't help bring in anything. What can we do to fix this?
When your relationship with someone is based on you giving them money, then you don't have a relationship. But there may be other reasons they aren't calling very much.
If you say things about his wife being lazy when you do talk, it probably makes them both angry. If this is the case, they may only call when they're desperate enough to put up with your comments about her. Plus, taking care of a baby is one of the hardest full-time jobs around. The value or importance of what someone does isn't always reflected in a paycheck.
But I don't think you should be giving them money all the time, either. You could try gently giving advice, instead. Maybe they need to be on a budget, or perhaps they should be spending less.
Regardless, I'm always against perpetuating relationships that are based on handing out money.