Moms and Dads

The Family Freeloader: Worse Than the Black Sheep

The Black Sheep may be considered the family bane but for many, nothing’s worse than the family freeloader.

There’s always that one member in the family that everyone hates. Sometimes, it’s because they break every possible rule and earn the ‘Black Sheep’ title. Then, there’s the one who lives on the family’s collective earnings without working known as the Freeloader. They don’t have a job and instead rely on the family’s savings to fuel their lifestyle.

At times, their immediate family members even ask other family members for financial help — to pay for the freeloader’s lifestyle. If they don’t, there are consequences and shame to pay.

The Family Freeloader: By Choice or By Circumstance?

Some members of the family become a freeloader either due to choice or circumstance. Circumstances can involve severe diseases that depleted their life’s savings (like COVID-19!). Job hunting may also prove to be difficult, especially during the pandemic — which can lead to a temporary freeloader status. However, there are those who CHOOSE not to work or rarely contribute, relying heavily on the savings of the family.

How Families Usually Deal With Freeloaders

At parties, the family freeloaders are the butt of jokes, insults, and backstabbing. But they’re also extremely protected by the immediate members of the family. Because society emphasizes productivity heavily, the immediate family members will defend the freeloaders to death. The majority of the time, the freeloader is the one who was once the favorite of the family.

Unfortunately, dealing with the reality of the family freeloader also means for the parents of that freeloader to accept that their parenting went wrong somewhere. Moreover, the realization of being unable to reverse time to fix that triggers a more defensive response because the last thing parents usually want to face is the irreversibility of wrongful parenting.

How Can We Stop The Freeloading Culture in Families

Some families resort to more drastic measures such as kicking them out of the house, similar to that of the Black Sheep. Others try to talk to these members and it does reveal a lot of things. Some recently lose their zest for life because of a life-changing diagnosis. Others find difficulty in looking for work again after jumping jobs several times. But the first step to breaking the freeloading culture is to ask the family freeloader why things went wrong. Knowing why can help come up with a more concrete plan instead of backstabbing them every time.

More about family culture:

Middle Child Syndrome: The Spare, The Forgotten, and The Independent
Being Family is Not a Free Pass to Be Toxic
How Utang ng Loob Made Filipino Families Toxic

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