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Old 2nd December 2018, 02:41 AM   #1
lionking
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What would you give up to try to save your child?

The answer for me is easy. But I recently saw a news report where parents were seeking financial support to get lifesaving medical treatment for their child. I was watching this with my sister in law and said “sell your house you idiots”. She (childless) said “I wouldn’t”.

I left it there, but was shocked. It seems people will put property before the well being of their children. I would not only give up my property, but my life. What say you?
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Old 2nd December 2018, 03:19 AM   #2
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I'm with you. My wife and child's health and safety comes before any of my possessions.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 03:25 AM   #3
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Asking for assistance before destroying your and your children's long-term future for short-term help is not irrational or callus.
Furthermore, a life-saving procedure that would leave a child depended on extensive care for the rest of their lives with little prospect of being able to support themselves might truly not be in the best interest of the family as a whole.

For most of human history, parents were put in position where they had to weigh the well-being of one child with the survival chances of the entire family.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 05:11 AM   #4
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The kid won't last long without a house to live in.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 05:32 AM   #5
lionking
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Asking for assistance before destroying your and your children's long-term future for short-term help is not irrational or callus.
Furthermore, a life-saving procedure that would leave a child depended on extensive care for the rest of their lives with little prospect of being able to support themselves might truly not be in the best interest of the family as a whole.

For most of human history, parents were put in position where they had to weigh the well-being of one child with the survival chances of the entire family.
Fair enough. I would still put all in on the chance of saving a child.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 06:16 AM   #6
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Doing everything for your child is one of the noblest and selfless things a person can do.

Showily nailing yourself to the cross for your child in a flashy, short term solution with long term negative consequences is not.

The "I'll do anything for my child" mentality is one that, sadly, becomes a forced affect where the appearance of doing "anything" becomes more important than whether or not the "anything" you are doing actually makes sense more often then people realize.

If you jump into the maelstrom to save your child, you are a good person.

If you jump into the maelstrom to save your child despite the fact that you could have easily reached them from the shore without putting yourself in danger but consciously or subconsciously don't because that wouldn't show how much you're willing to martyr yourself for your child, you are not.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 06:53 AM   #7
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Not clear on the problem. You go for absolutely any assistance you can before selling your home, then do that as a hail Mary if you have to. The kids come first, and providing them with a home has to be at the top of your goals. But you may need to humble yourself and grovel a little for help first. Your pride needs to take a back seat to the kids well being.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 12:02 PM   #8
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Are we talking your favourite spoiled kid, or the other one/ones?
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Old 2nd December 2018, 12:05 PM   #9
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I'd give up kale.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 12:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
I'd give up kale.
That would be tough, but I concur

It would be horrible obviously, but I would also give up eating brussels sprouts, broad beans, and broccoli.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 12:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
That would be tough, but I concur

It would be horrible obviously, but I would also give up eating brussels sprouts, broad beans, and broccoli.
You're a better man than I.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 02:34 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
The answer for me is easy. But I recently saw a news report where parents were seeking financial support to get lifesaving medical treatment for their child. I was watching this with my sister in law and said “sell your house you idiots”. She (childless) said “I wouldn’t”.

I left it there, but was shocked. It seems people will put property before the well being of their children. I would not only give up my property, but my life. What say you?
This assumes that they have not already taken out loans or a mortgage on the property. Selling up may just result in debt, with the rest of the family now homeless.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 02:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
The answer for me is easy. But I recently saw a news report where parents were seeking financial support to get lifesaving medical treatment for their child. I was watching this with my sister in law and said “sell your house you idiots”. She (childless) said “I wouldn’t”.

I left it there, but was shocked. It seems people will put property before the well being of their children. I would not only give up my property, but my life. What say you?
Depending on where you live (or the family) this may mean somewhat dubious experimental treatment. It may mean treatment with a potential few % greater chance of surviving or fewer % risk of side effects than standard treatment, but it is unlikely to mean that there is no treatment presently available and that $x will by a guaranteed cure. Having a safe secure home may have a bigger survival impact than becoming homeless and getting slightly better medical treatment. Psycho-social issues can be important in health!
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Old 2nd December 2018, 03:05 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
The kid won't last long without a house to live in.
Some people manage to live without owning a house. Of course I don't know from this thread what the family's current situation is, but it's not nearly as casually dismissed as you imply.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 03:15 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
I left it there, but was shocked. It seems people will put property before the well being of their children. I would not only give up my property, but my life. What say you?
What country was this family in? I thought in Australia people would not have to make the choice between getting health care and going bankrupt.

One of the scariest things about medical costs is they can be almost infinite. I knew a man who racked up $3 million in charges only to die soon after in a freak accident. In that case, selling your house isn't going to do much good. This family allowed creditors to attach all their assets, but they still had to be left with a place to live and money for groceries. They both were career Air Force, though not at a very high level. Their son was not eligible to be on their health insurance, which he would have been a couple of years later, up to age 27.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 03:17 PM   #16
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Assuming they own the house, and assuming the child doesn't remain at home during treatment, selling is still problematic because it will require *moving*. I have moved many times since early childhood, and the one thing each move has in common is that possessions were lost and gone forever. Lovely thing for a child to be sitting in hospital worrying about, isn't it? So noble.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 03:19 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
The answer for me is easy. But I recently saw a news report where parents were seeking financial support to get lifesaving medical treatment for their child. I was watching this with my sister in law and said “sell your house you idiots”. She (childless) said “I wouldn’t”.

I left it there, but was shocked. It seems people will put property before the well being of their children. I would not only give up my property, but my life. What say you?
What do you actually know about the family that inspired your question? How much equity do they have in their house? Does the family have other kids? Do the parents, or at least one, have jobs? Most people in trouble like that would try to borrow against the house before they'd walk away from it. Maybe they already have. And they still have to live somewhere, even if they pay rent.

What do you think you know?
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Old 2nd December 2018, 03:31 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
What country was this family in? I thought in Australia people would not have to make the choice between getting health care and going bankrupt.
...
I took for granted that this must be the U.S. Australia has a universal health care program, right?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Australia

Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
....
One of the scariest things about medical costs is they can be almost infinite. I knew a man who racked up $3 million in charges only to die soon after in a freak accident. In that case, selling your house isn't going to do much good. This family allowed creditors to attach all their assets, but they still had to be left with a place to live and money for groceries. They both were career Air Force, though not at a very high level. Their son was not eligible to be on their health insurance, which he would have been a couple of years later, up to age 27.
1/ Did this person have health insurance? If he was in the Air Force, he certainly should have. If so, how did he costs billed to him get so high?

2/ Did the family have a lawyer? There might have been ways, including bankruptcy and negotiated settlements, for them to protect themselves to some degree.

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Old 2nd December 2018, 03:51 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
I took for granted that this must be the U.S. Australia has a universal health care program, right?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Australia

...
Even UHC doesn't cover anything and everything. Firstly it has to be evidence based medicine, and secondly, to a degree, cost effective. Or...

Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
Depending on where you live (or the family) this may mean somewhat dubious experimental treatment. It may mean treatment with a potential few % greater chance of surviving or fewer % risk of side effects than standard treatment, but it is unlikely to mean that there is no treatment presently available and that $x will by a guaranteed cure. ...
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Old 2nd December 2018, 08:07 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
The answer for me is easy. But I recently saw a news report where parents were seeking financial support to get lifesaving medical treatment for their child. I was watching this with my sister in law and said “sell your house you idiots”. She (childless) said “I wouldn’t”.
Did it establish that they actually owned their house? Or had significant equity in it?

Quote:
I left it there, but was shocked. It seems people will put property before the well being of their children. I would not only give up my property, but my life. What say you?
Wouldn't the rational thing to do be to try and raise the money without selling your house, then sell it as a last resort only?

(Wouldn't the truly rational thing be to have a system of healthcare where people don't have to raise money to pay for treatment at all?)
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Old 2nd December 2018, 08:15 PM   #21
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Old 2nd December 2018, 08:53 PM   #22
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We don't have children* but we gave up a lot to keep our parents alive for even just a few more years. I'm sure we'd have done even more for kids.

*Except the furry meowing kind. And we've given up quite a bit for them, too.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 09:46 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
The answer for me is easy. But I recently saw a news report where parents were seeking financial support to get lifesaving medical treatment for their child. I was watching this with my sister in law and said “sell your house you idiots”. She (childless) said “I wouldn’t”.

I left it there, but was shocked. It seems people will put property before the well being of their children. I would not only give up my property, but my life. What say you?
That's the difference between people who have kids and people who don't.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 11:11 PM   #24
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The resources necessary to rear another child to the same age plus a penalty for the fact that I'll be older and thus have less time to do so with other future possible children (and may just die or become infertile in the meantime).

1 sibling (maybe a little more or less, again depending on for instance if said sibling is young and thus may not survive to adulthood, or has already reproduced and raised his/her children, and thus isn't likely to produce more offspring).

1 parent (subject to similar analysis as the sibling above).

2 nieces or nephews (again, see above).

4 cousins (again, see above).

At least in theory. I don't have any kids though, so no idea how I'd actually respond.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 11:21 PM   #25
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To clarify, it was an Australian family trying to raise funds to get treatment in the France which is not available here. And yes, I get that selling up to get treatment which may be futile may not be rational. As I said earlier I would do it without hesitation.

But treat it as a hypothetical.
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Old 2nd December 2018, 11:56 PM   #26
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As skeptics we should always guard against our own biases when making decisions.

Our brains are hard-wired by evolution to find small bodies, big heads, large eyes etc. cute, even in animals not of our own species. It evokes a protective feeling, a mothering instinct. Even in men!
Then there is kin selection, even worse. It's a well known fact that people will engage in increasingly risky and irrational behaviour to confer an advantage to other persons, solely based on the amount of genetic information they share. As clear a hard-wired bias as you can get.

Or should we?
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Old 3rd December 2018, 11:52 AM   #27
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I'd sell my house, hypothetically.

Realistically, I probably would just do a cash out refinancing of the house because it would be hard to find similar lodging to rent that would be cheaper. That would give me most of the value I would get from selling the house, but none of the cost of moving or the trauma for the kids of knowing that they no longer have a home.

In fact we should have sold our house years ago to take advantage of market trends, but stability was more important than real estate investment.

Now that my kids are out of the house I'd be more likely to sell if necessary. Really looking to downsize soon anyway.
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Old 5th December 2018, 01:00 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post

1/ Did this person have health insurance? If he was in the Air Force, he certainly should have. If so, how did he costs billed to him get so high?

2/ Did the family have a lawyer? There might have been ways, including bankruptcy and negotiated settlements, for them to protect themselves to some degree.
Sorry, it was the parents who were career Air Force, though the mom had switched to teaching middle school. Their son was 21 and did not have insurance. He was hit by a car and rolled over the roof and had shattered leg bones and complex fractures in both legs. His pelvic bone was broken and he had a C-2 vertebra fracture (high on the spinal column).

In an effort to save his legs he underwent multiple bone grafts, artery grafts and muscle grafts. Then they had to amputate one leg anyway due to MERSA. He was in the hospital (ICU for much of it), in a medically induced coma and months in rehab.

He did eventually get enrolled in the state's indigent health care program but his family still had a lot of out-of-pocket costs and one of them had to quit working to be with their son full time.

The mom tried to use an ATM the day after the accident and her account was already frozen. Something must have been worked out, because although their earnings and assets were attached, they were left with enough money for a smaller home and groceries. So they didn't have to personally cover all $3 million; the state stepped in at some point. I never saw an itemized bill.
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Old 5th December 2018, 07:00 AM   #29
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Given that Miss Analyst Junior is full of cold and snot at the moment, but is still menacingly waving a roll of duct-tape at me, I'll defer answering this question.
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Old 5th December 2018, 07:59 AM   #30
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A number of the posts in this thread discuss the OP logically, which is a legitimate perspective. But for most people who have children logic has nothing to do with it. I have children. I would literally give up my life for theirs with no thought or hesitation, and I have felt that way since they were new borns. It is a very basic instinct that came over me only after I had them, and is probably related to the evolutionary selection of protecting one's DNA that is now in this new generation.

I've thought about this because I find it fascinating and because I could not have understood it before I had kids. It is intense and does not involve logic or equations of risk vs gain. If one of my kids was in a burning building and there was no other choice, and only one chance in a thousand of rescuing them, with a 100% guarantee that I would die in the attempt, I would still plunge into the building. Because I would not be caring about these numbers.

So certainly I would sell my house, eventually spend all my money to try to save my kids lives. But in this case there is time and opportunity to apply logic. I would explore all the other possibilities first. My insurance options. Governmental or private assistance. Taking out loans and going bankrupt if necessary. (re the OP: in many places one's home is protected in bankruptcies).

Conversely I would not spend all my money, bankrupt my family, to save my own life. Again instinctively I find I must protect my children before myself.

Last edited by Giordano; 5th December 2018 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 5th December 2018, 08:12 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
The answer for me is easy. But I recently saw a news report where parents were seeking financial support to get lifesaving medical treatment for their child. I was watching this with my sister in law and said “sell your house you idiots”. She (childless) said “I wouldn’t”.

I left it there, but was shocked. It seems people will put property before the well being of their children. I would not only give up my property, but my life. What say you?
How old was the sister in law? I do see younger people as believing there are usually programs and assistance available, whereas older folks believe in paying 'cash'. Might that have been the distinction? Can't really see a person letting their child die to maintain a real estate portfolio.
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Old 5th December 2018, 08:20 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Doing everything for your child is one of the noblest and selfless things a person can do.

Showily nailing yourself to the cross for your child in a flashy, short term solution with long term negative consequences is not.

The "I'll do anything for my child" mentality is one that, sadly, becomes a forced affect where the appearance of doing "anything" becomes more important than whether or not the "anything" you are doing actually makes sense more often then people realize.

If you jump into the maelstrom to save your child, you are a good person.

If you jump into the maelstrom to save your child despite the fact that you could have easily reached them from the shore without putting yourself in danger but consciously or subconsciously don't because that wouldn't show how much you're willing to martyr yourself for your child, you are not.
Although there may be some cases where this may be correct, such as those parents with Munchausen syndrome by proxy in which they actually harm their children to gain attention and credit for selflessly looking after them, it is deeply pathological and extraordinarily rare.

As far as I observe, the actual parental "mentality" "to do anything for one's kids," to jump into a maelstrom to save them, is real and is a deeply instinctive need; it has nothing to do with how one's actions might appear to others (which does even come to mind). But it doesn't make the parents stupid: given at least a few moments, most parents would quickly look first to see how they could save their kids at the least risk to the kids and to themselves.

Now just saying "I would do anything for my kids" is not the same thing as actually doing it. Saying it while chatting with friends at a dinner party is just a flashy attempt to gain social credit. The speaker probably means "I would be willing to give them an expensive watch for their birthday even if it means I will need to buy a cheaper bottle of champagne that week to afford it."

Not to be personal, and only if you are willing to say so, I am curious if you have children?
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Old 5th December 2018, 08:23 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Not to be personal, and only if you are willing to say so, I am curious if you have children?
No. So you are, of course, now free to dismiss everything under the "It's different when you have kids" argument.
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Old 5th December 2018, 08:42 AM   #34
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Up to $500 or so. That’s the price of saving a child’s life in the world’s most impoverished places, and I’m a good little shopper.

Seems like this problem gets more complicated if you have more than one child, because giving up everything necessarily dispossesses them of resources they might need to survive later on. If nothing else, they’ll have one less person in the world willing to die for them. Having more than one child reintroduces questions of equity, even for the post-hormone-dump brain.
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Old 5th December 2018, 08:47 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
No. So you are, of course, now free to dismiss everything under the "It's different when you have kids" argument.
I am not dismissing your argument. In fact I noted the aspects of your post that I found to be quite true.

I asked only because how I felt about the OP was completely different before I had kids vs after I had kids. And the change blindsided me; completely surprising me when it happened. I am not suggesting my current views are the correct ones. They are emotional and were implanted in my brain against my will, as it were. I don't even understand it. But however bizarre or "wrong" my views are, I posted them only as an insight as to how people with kids are likely to actually be thinking.
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Old 5th December 2018, 09:00 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
Up to $500 or so. That’s the price of saving a child’s life in the world’s most impoverished places, and I’m a good little shopper.

Seems like this problem gets more complicated if you have more than one child, because giving up everything necessarily dispossesses them of resources they might need to survive later on. If nothing else, they’ll have one less person in the world willing to die for them. Having more than one child reintroduces questions of equity, even for the post-hormone-dump brain.
This does make for extra complications: Sophie's Choice when it comes to house sales? But I think most families would ultimately, if there are no other choices, make deep financial sacrifices for the the life of one child even if that impacts the monetary resources available to other children. Life vs death of child one is an easy binary choice to consider. How much money needs to be retained to adequately raise the sick child's 9 year old brother is much more ambiguous and even dirt poor people manage to do it.

This issue is actually pretty common in non- life vs death situations. Many families have a child with "special needs" - trisomy 21 for example. That kid will require extra expenditures that will deplete to various extents the family's financial resources and will impact the resources for the siblings. Even more, often one or more sibling will be expected to sacrifice part of their own freedom and finances to look after the special needs child after their parents die. It isn't fair, but that can also be a wonderful thing about families.
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Old 5th December 2018, 09:02 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
I am not dismissing your argument. In fact I noted the aspects of your post that I found to be quite true.

I asked only because how I felt about the OP was completely different before I had kids vs after I had kids. And the change blindsided me; completely surprising me when it happened. I am not suggesting my current views are the correct ones. They are emotional and were implanted in my brain against my will, as it were. I don't even understand it. But however bizarre or "wrong" my views are, I posted them only as an insight as to how people with kids are likely to actually be thinking.
This. This right here.
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Old 5th December 2018, 11:48 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
I am not dismissing your argument. In fact I noted the aspects of your post that I found to be quite true.

I asked only because how I felt about the OP was completely different before I had kids vs after I had kids. And the change blindsided me; completely surprising me when it happened. I am not suggesting my current views are the correct ones. They are emotional and were implanted in my brain against my will, as it were. I don't even understand it. But however bizarre or "wrong" my views are, I posted them only as an insight as to how people with kids are likely to actually be thinking.
But if you've got more than one kid, what would you take from one to give to the others? Would you give your life for one if it would mean the others were orphaned? Would you give all your money for one if it left the others homeless? How do you balance conflicting demands?
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Old 5th December 2018, 12:07 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
But if you've got more than one kid, what would you take from one to give to the others? Would you give your life for one if it would mean the others were orphaned? Would you give all your money for one if it left the others homeless? How do you balance conflicting demands?
On a much smaller scale: As a kid I used to get so frustrated with my mom constantly saying that she treated us all equally when it was clear that she didn't. As a parent it can be difficult to help the child who needs more help without looking like you are playing favorites. The best tool is to just be openly honest about what you are doing and why.

I don't know how that works on a larger scale and I really don't envy those who have to make such decisions.
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Old 5th December 2018, 12:12 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
But if you've got more than one kid, what would you take from one to give to the others? Would you give your life for one if it would mean the others were orphaned? Would you give all your money for one if it left the others homeless? How do you balance conflicting demands?
I have a second post that covers some of your questions as to finances. But yes, I would orphan my other kid to save the life of the other (and versa). I see it as the impact of being orphaned on an individual is probably less extreme than the impact of being dead. But also, as noted in my first post, the whole thing is more emotional and instinctive than calculating of "impacts."
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