The job of a parent involves teaching your children responsibility and providing the support necessary for them to grow and prosper.
Sometimes these two ideas seem to be at odds.
When Redditor Emergency_Soil_985 came face to face with this dilemma, he chose to try and teach his daughter responsibility. Now the original poster (OP) is wondering if doing that makes him a jerk.
To find out, he turned to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to be judged for his actions.
“AITA For Refusing To Help My Daughter Pay For College?”
This was what led him here:
“I (48m) have three children with my ex. My son ‘Joe’ (24m) and two daughters ‘Jane’ (21f) and ‘Amy’ (19f). After the children were born my great-grandmother started a small Education fund for each of them that I have now since controlled since her passing.”
“There weren’t any specific criteria for this fund within the context of the law or Bank policy because of the type of fund my great-grandmother started. I’ve added my own money to fund and my parents have occasionally put in some cash but it was never expected.”
“My ex never put a dime into it but always wanted to have equal control of it and every time I refused she would get upset.”
“Over the years she’s tried to say that she needed money from the fund for expenses for the kids, citing that the child support I was paying wasn’t enough. I still refused and said that to just send me the bill and I’ll pay for it directly.”
“She didn’t want that and would shut up after I asked how she could be so desperate for money for our kids but refuse to give any details.”
“Fast forward to when Joe was going to college and I told my son to just give me enough information so that I can pay the school every semester and he’d be good. My ex tried to convince him to get me to give him all the money so that way he could have his privacy.”
“My son did consider it but decided that he’d rather I just do this for him because he was worried of blowing through the money. I was proud of him.”
It seemed like the situation with Joe would set a good example for his siblings.
“Jane, however, gave into her mom’s way of thinking and insisted that I just give her the entire fund during her 2nd year. I tried to convince her that this way was best and pointed at how well this worked out for her brother.”
“Jane just called me controlling and said that I didn’t respect her enough to let her make her own choices. Eventually I relented but made it clear that this was all the money that there was for her for college.”
“That once it’s gone, it’s gone and she was on her own if she needed more.”
“Everything seemed fine up until about a few weeks ago and Jane called crying saying that she wasn’t going to finish because she ran out of money. I asked her what happened and surprise, surprise Jane gave money to my ex.”
“I let her vent and then told her that everything was going to be okay. That while she may not graduate by a certain time she can still finish school, she’ll just need to apply for grants, scholarships, loans and maybe even take a year off to just work. How I would tell the school how she was on her own so she could get more money”
“Both Jane and my ex are upset with me, because they expect me to pay for her schooling and that I was being horrible for wanting her to struggle with loans. To me this isn’t about being petty but rather giving Jane a hard lesson.”
“She wanted to be treated like an adult, well finding your own way is what adults do. Joe agrees with me but, now Amy is being pressured to access her fund to help her sister.”
“Technically, I could help but I’d rather Jane work for it herself. AITA?”
There was a little more information about the situation, including how things were explained and what OP did for his children.
“Because I saw this question I wanted to clarify”
“1. Each fund is separate and in each child’s specific name. I added money in equally to all of them but, technically, Joe, ended up with a lesser amount because the funds were created at the same time for each child so Jane and Amy’s funds had more time to grow with interest.”
“2. Also when each of my kids entered high school I made them Authorized Users on one of my credit cards that I always paid fully on time to help build up their Credit Score so Jane can use that to her advantage.”
“3. By their senior year of high school each of my children were told how much money they would have for college, and that if there was any left over by the time they graduated it was theirs to do with as they pleased.”
“4. Joe and Jane both went to In-State universities to save money, but Amy is considering going Out-of-State so she’s really going to need every penny from the fund. She’s even taking a year off before applying just to work so she can save more money.”
“It’s one of the reasons her mother and sister are using to justify Amy giving Jane some of her money.”
“5. We’re American and living in the United States.”
On the AITA subReddit, people are judged for their role in a situation. OP thinks they could help their daughter, but thinks she should learn a lesson.
Whether or not OP is wrong is judged with one of the following acronyms:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
OP’s situation isn’t enviable.
His daughter and his ex-wife are hounding him to pay for schooling which he says he can do. But he wants to stick to his guns, because he warned Jane she shouldn’t waste this money.
The commenters on the board agreed with OP and judged him NTA.
“And you’re doing yourself a major disservice with this post title.”
“You DID help pay for your daughter to go to college.” – StAlvis
“Valuable lesson for your daughter to learn while she is still young. And it keeps it even with the other two kids.” – Dingolini
-“‘Both Jane and my ex are upset with me, because they expect me to pay for her schooling…’”-
“You did. Jane is 21 and why she’s crying to and guilt-tripping you about this while her mother coaches her instead of turning around and saying, ‘mom, I need that money back,’ speaks volumes about how manipulative your ex is.”
“If there’s any way you can directly pay the school for Amy’s costs instead of allowing her access, I recommend you do so. You can help protect her from her mother.” – NomNom83WasTaken
“This will be a lesson of consequences and now taking responsibility. She will not learn if you bail her out (not to mention unfair on the others who were smarter)”
“Let her take loans out.”
“Please do NOT allow your other daughter to be pressured into giving up her share, please pay for it directly to prevent it being misused.” – MiskiMoon
“NTA. Please, please, please explain to Amy that she should not ever feel obligated to help out in this.”
“Jane knew what the money was for, clearly didn’t properly check that she had all her costs covered, and then sent money to her mom because apparently you can oppose one parents logical way of thinking then turn to another and be like ‘well here’s your money with my name written on it’.”
“If Jane doesn’t learn this lesson now, she never will, and it will just tumble down from there. Amy already sounds like she already has a plan to make her funds even more secure by working to save more money.”
“If she can do it, so can her older sister.” ~ LorelLC
“Oh absolute NTA. You’ve put an incredible amount of effort into ensuring your kids’ success.”
“Your ex is incredibly manipulative and is obviously abusing any chance she can to get money off of her kids. She is NOT looking out for her kids’ success, only for her enjoyment.”
“Please do all that you can to make sure that Amy does not end up in the same situation. I hope she learns from her sister’s mistakes and doesn’t allow her mom to access her money.” ~ f**kcollege101
There can always be more to the story, but OP has given a lot of information about what happened, and why he did what he did.
Now the question is whether he can convince his other daughter to not fall for her mother’s manipulations.