For many, part-time jobs are a right of passage.
Now, for the first time, your money is yours. You get to experience the thrill of working hard for your own income and the pressure of what to spend that money on.
What happens, though, when a parent decides that your new responsibility should benefit them too?
This was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) flowerboyo5 when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” subReddit for clarity.
“AITA for not wanting to pay rent”
They began with the backstory,
“I (16 ftm -Female to male) am going into my junior year of high school and looking for a part-time job to potentially pay for my first car.”
Before quickly getting to the problem.
“My mother (40F) told me that as soon as I get a job I’ll have to pay rent.”
“Mind you both of my parents have jobs with good paychecks.”
Communication was attempted.
“I asked why and her only response was the oh so informative ‘because I said so’.”
Everything seemed okay until…
“She wants HALF of my paycheck. I told her that was ridiculous and we got into a full-blown argument.”
OP was left to wonder:
“My dad is on my side but I feel bad for not helping out. Is my mom just guilt-tripping me or am I the a**hole?”
Unable to assuage the guilt, OP came to Reddit for guidance.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some were security conscious.
“NTA – You literally cannot make a 16-year-old pay rent in the US. Make sure your checking account does not have anyone’s name on it but your own. Or if you get paper checks, make sure that you deposit them into an account that only has your name on it. This is for your own financial protection; your mother will steal your money.”~IAmACatPile
“I dont know where OP is, but I’ve been with capfed, and they let me make my account at 15, and only I was the one with access to it.”
“So definitely worth it for him to check!! And just have all paychecks directly deposited.”
“And hide the card.”
“And only get an ATM card if you wanna be extra safe, that way no one can get access to the money without plastering themselves on video at an ATM.”
“That’s what I did, and just upgraded to an actual debit card when I turned 18. Made it easier for me to keep track of my spending too.”
“Just depends on whatever works for op!”~MissLadyLlamaDrama
Others shared personal experiences.
“This is very good advice.”
“My mom set up an account for me when I was 16 and had gotten my first job.”
“I worked there for a whole year not seeing a single paycheck because they were deposited in my bank account.”
“At the end of that summer, I (now 17) had gone to the bank to withdraw some money for an end of the year trip to a theme park.”
“I had 34 dollars and nine cents in my account.”
“I’m 35 and I still don’t know what she spent it on but I can guess.”
“NTA, anyone under 18 shouldn’t pay rent to their parents as they are still dependents and their parents more than likely claim them on their taxes.”
“Do landlords routinely claim their tenants on their taxes? That’s weird.”~Image_Inevitable
“My parents tried to do this when I got my first job at 16 as well.”
“For me, having a job was a growing sign of my independence and my parents hated it.”
“They demanded I pay rent because only an adult should have a job and if I don’t like it then I can just move out.”
“When I told them I was saving for a car so I can go to college and move out (like they suggested since I didn’t like the situation they were putting me in) they freaked and tried taking ALL of it.”
“When that didn’t work, they came to my workplace after school and caused a scene every chance they could in order to get me fired.”
“I normally loved my parents but this sudden controlling behavior made me resent them and I moved out the DAY I turned 18 after holding a secret job and stashing money away at a friends house.”
“I think when parents start charging their (minor) children rent, they’re trying to control them and hold them back.”
“They secretly don’t want you to succeed or grow up or become independent, they want you to rely on them so that they can manipulate you and your future.”
“OP, you’re NOT the a**hole. Your mom’s response says everything you need to know and reminds me of my mother.”
“There isn’t a good reason to take your hard-earned money, especially since you stated what you plan to use it for (and it’s an important and responsible decision on your part, good for you).”
“So your mother makes up an excuse to take your money by saying ‘because I said so’ as if that’s a valid reason… that is the language of control and manipulation.”
“I’m sorry you have to deal with that.”
“What I’d recommend is unfortunately you’ll either have to lie to her about how much you make so you can give her less and save more, your dad could also stick up for you so that you won’t have to.”
“I know what it’s like to feel held back and controlled and treated like an extension of your parents rather than a young adult.”
“Sorry again, I hope you get through it alright 🖤” ~BabyGaboonViper
While some tried to give mom the benefit of the doubt.
“But is there any way that maybe mom wants to set aside the money for savings and just went about this the completely the wrong way by not explaining it?”
“My parents charged me ‘rent’ but set aside all the money so it could help me with large purchases when I was older. I will say the ‘rent’ was never half my paycheck.”~Squirrel_beak
Part-time jobs are a right of passage for a lot of reasons, but sometimes the most important one is the financial independence they provide.
The sudden surge of independence can cause some friction as old relationships are re-defined.
Healthy and normal, sure, but always remember to do this cautiously – relationships are easily broken and far harder to replenish than a bank account.