I am not the only one writing about the helping hand versus tough love. Or how to find, as Michelle Singletary puts it in her Washington Post column, The Color of Money, "the balance between protecting our children and letting them learn the hard way."
She does not--as I do not--have an all-purpose, one-answer-fits-all solution. It depends. She writes about hearing from readers who are helping pay down their children's student loan debt and opening savings accounts for grandchildren ("We do not see this as an umbilical cord, we see it as an investment in their future.") and another reader who is supporting a child while he gets his PhD ("He'll get the money sooner or later, and he might as well get it when it will help the most.")
To be sure, it is not all "thanks and I'll pay you back on your investment in me." There are times when we might not hand over assets. Some kids exude an unpleasant air of entitlement, which could be a signal to tighten the fist. And, of course, not all of us can afford to be as generous to our kids as we would like to be.
Affordability aside, here's where Singletary comes down on the financial aid question:
Wherever you draw the line, take a step back and make sure you’re pushing your children toward being as self-supporting as possible.