For parents, it’s important to try and teach children about their responsibilities in life. Parents don’t just teach kids to say “Sorry” when they do wrong, but also to understand why what they did was wrong.
This is a lifelong job, and the responsibility to teach and to guide children doesn’t change as they grow up. They might not always listen, but you have to at least offer them the tools.
On Reddit’s “Am I the A**hole” board, user backpayup asked if he was right to have his son take responsibility for his actions.
The original poster (OP) asked:
AITA for enforcing that my son uses his college fund to pay back his child support?
As OP told the story:
“All names are fake.”
“My wife and I have two kids, our oldest is Josh, he just started his second year in college. Full disclosure, I’m not Josh’s biological dad, but I’m been married to his mom since he was 8. He’s my son in all but blood.”
“Josh has a full ride scholarship at his college. His mom and I are very proud, and he has ambitions for law school after graduation.”
“A few months ago were were contacted by Tina, a girl who claimed to have had a baby boy with Josh. The baby is a little under 18 months old. Tina said Josh had ‘ghosted’ her and blocked her on all platforms. She’d been trying to get back in touch with him, but when that didn’t work began to look for his parents to contact. She finally found us and begged us to get Josh to talk to her.”
“We were skeptical at first. He said he ‘knew’ the girl but denied the baby. We insisted on a paternity test (2 of them) and they were positive. Tina has gone through the courts and now is pushing for back child support for the baby.”
“Josh is panicking. He doesn’t have much income or savings other than a college fund his mom and I have been paying into.”
“He wanted to use that money for his first apartment and for law school.”
“My wife wants to help him pay. The payments aren’t much now, and we could afford to, but I’m against it. We (wife and I) agreed that our kids would be responsible for themselves once they moved out. We’d help them if they needed it, but only if it was reasonable.”
“To me paying his child support for a baby he tried to abandon is unreasonable. He has the money in his fund, he just doesn’t want to use it. Josh is afraid of not being able to afford law school without big loans in the future, and to that I say tough; should have thought of that before bringing a child into the world.”
“My wife thinks I’m unfairly punishing him and paying the support now would be investing in both the baby and Josh’s future. I have no interest in taking care of an infant again this late in life. I’m fine with being grandpa but not stand-in-dad while Josh gets off scott free. He needs to step up and take care of his kid.”
So OP wants to know if he was wrong to force his son to use his college fund to pay for child support.
Judgements on this subReddit are usually passed with one of the following abbreviations:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes here
- ESH – Everybody sucks here
There were a few lingering questions that some of the users wanted answered before rendering judgement. They asked about these with the “INFO” abbreviation.
OP was kind enough to answer.
“You mention what your wife wants to do, and what you want to do, but what I am missing here is what Josh wants to do about this child support.”
“Has he asked you to pay for it? Has he said at all how he intends to pay it, or if he does?” – hannahsflora
“Right now he doesn’t know my wife’s idea about paying it for him. That’s a conversation between us at the moment.”
“He knows the only substantial money he has is the fund, but he’s griping about how using it will ruin his life. In my opinion he’s just being selfish.” – backpayup
“INFO: Why doesn’t Josh want to step up now that he knows this is his child? At the least he should be trying for visitation and moving toward 50/50 custody, there’s more to parenthood than writing a check.” – Nomadicus
“He frankly doesn’t want to be a dad, which is sad in my opinion, he’s acting like his biological father. He visits the baby and tries to be a parent (at our behest) but he clearly is uncomfortable and unsure of himself.”
“He and Tina also do not get along at all. Any time they’re together it’s tense, and I think they both resent each other.” – backpayup
Additionally, OP didn’t get a chance to answer each individual INFO comment, and updated his post with an edit to provide a little more clarity.
“I suddenly have a flood of responses to read. I can’t find the INFO posts I meant to reply to, so I will address some questions here.”
“Tina (according to her) tried to get into contact with Josh while she was pregnant. He denied the baby was his and ignored her. They weren’t dating. She attends community college, not his university. She has evidence of multiple attempts to contact him both before and after the baby was born.”
“I don’t know about ‘protection’ being used. I’d hope they were careful and that this was just an accident, but I’m not going to ask about all the details of my son’s sex life. The deed is done, the baby exists. He needs to step up and be a dad.”
Once all the information was in, there was a resounding amount of agreement in judgement.
OP was NTA.
“NTA. Thank you for standing up for the girl and the baby. Josh needs to understand that actions have consequences.” – Parking-Sense-7718
“Agreed. NTA, you’re teaching your son a valuable lesson. Especially if he wants to be a lawyer, he should understand the importance of consequences.” – Giantomato
“NTA – Your wife should be way more concerned about Josh’s apparent lack of character. Taking responsibility for your actions is not a punishment, it’s just life.” – J0sey_W4les_23
“Actions, meet consequences.” – DLF11
Validation from strangers might be comforting to the OP but there’s still the task at hand to consider. We wish him luck in convincing his wife and son that this is the right thing to do.
And maybe someone in this story learned a little about responsibility.