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Teen Expected To Help Pay For Family Pool Because She Agreed To When She Was 12

Teenage girl floating in a pool.
JaySi/Getty Images

It’s important to teach children about financial responsibility.

Particularly when they start to get older, and their parents become less and less willing to buy them certain items, or cover them in certain areas.

Some parents think giving their children a weekly allowance is the best way to start, as it teaches them how spending money too quickly could lead to disappointment.

While other parents won’t lend their children any money, and make them get summer jobs or part-time jobs at a young age.

When the daughter of Redditor swimmingpoolaita expressed her desire for her parents to make an addition to their home, they thought it was a perfect opportunity to teach her a lesson in fiscal responsibility.

As a result, the original poster (OP) made a deal with her and made sure that she stuck to it.

In spite of the fact that she was only 12 when the deal was set.

Wondering if they had been unfair, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for asking my daughter to uphold her end of the deal?”

The OP shared the deal they made with their daughter when she was 12, and her considerable surprise when she was actually expected to follow through with it.

“Honestly, I don’t even feel that this situation needs to be on Reddit but my daughter, husband and many of my family members are calling me an asshole and I’m really not sure anymore.”

“For context, four years ago, when my daughter was 12, she desperately wanted a pool.”

“She said that all of her friends had pools and she was the only one who didn’t have one, plus she loved swimming.”

“She insisted that she would use it daily in the summer.”

“My husband and I could afford one, but as I’m sure some of you know, pools are very expensive and neither of us really like swimming so we wanted my daughter to understand the cost she was asking for.”

“We made an agreement that we would install a pool but that once she was old enough to start working, she would pay us back for half of it.”

“She quickly agreed.”

“Well, flash forward to now. She’s 16 and just got her first job, and now she wants to save up for a prom dress she really likes.”

“I reminded her of our agreement about the pool and she no longer wants to uphold her end of the agreement.”

“I insisted, threatening to take away phone and car privileges if she doesn’t pay her father and I back.”

“Now, she won’t speak to me.”

“My husband is agreeing with her, saying that we can’t have honestly expected a twelve year old to keep her end of the agreement.”

“For me, this isn’t even about money, it’s about teaching my young daughter the right morals to live life with.”

“I don’t want her to think she can just go around making deals for her benefit and then just not upholding them.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

The OP found little to no sympathy from the Reddit community, who generally agreed that they were the a**hole for making their daughter help pay for the swimming pool.

Just about everyone felt that there were several more effective ways to teach their daughter financial responsibility, and making any kind of financial deal with a 12-year-old was a ridiculous prospect.


“At first I thought her end of the deal would be to clean the pool and keep it up, not pay for f*cking half of it!”

“Who in their right mind makes a deal like that with a 12 year old?!”

“Unless you’re going to give her equity of the house when you sell it in the future, get over yourself with this.”

“My god, this is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve read in here.”- Caspian4136

“YTA who on earth would make this kind of a deal with a 12 year old?”

“Also who would do this to a 16 year old.”

“Dumb idea to ever think was ever a good thing to do.”- ReviewOk929

“You made a deal with a TWELVE YEAR OLD for THOUSANDS of DOLLARS?!?”

“Of course YTA.”

“As a parent of FOUR, there are PLENTY of ways to teach our children morals that don’t involve forcing a child to pay for a pool in an agreement she made when she was still in 5th or 6th grade.”

“Side question, if you expect her to pay for half of the pool, will she get a cut of the real estate if you ever sell the house?”

“Having a pool increases the price of a house in real estate, so if she owns half the pool, she’s entitled to part of that profit.”

“In other words, you’ve already seen a return.”- TheSciFiGuy80

“YTA for allowing a 12 year old to effectively take on thousands of pounds of debt.”- gossy7


“Who makes a financial deal with a 12 year old that they can’t possibly understand, much less expect them to start to honor it years later?”- furriosity

“YTA that was a ridiculous bargain to strike with a 12 yr old.”

“You understood the value of money and a 12 yr old couldn’t possibly.”

“You are a double a**hole, first for making such an agreement and second for trying to enforce it.”-Sensitive-Whereas574


“YTA big time.”

“Your husband is right.”

“How in the world can you expect a 12 year old to keep up her end of a deal like that?”-Daddy_Onion

“Just take half the cost of the pool out of her share of the equity when you sell the house.”

“Oh, she has no ownership stake in the house?”

“Guess she has no ownership stake in the pool then.”

“If you want to pass along good morals to your daughter, don’t try to take financial advantage of minors.”

“YTA.”- 5footfilly


“Why would you even suggest that with a 12 year old?”

“She would have learned a lesson if you told her no.”

“Should have just gotten a blow up pool or something like that.”- Forward-Step-4234


“If you didn’t want the pool, you should not have gotten the pool.”

“But your 12-year-old wanted one ‘because all her friends have one’.”

“She could have gone swimming at one of her friends’ houses.”

“But instead you insisted on a ‘bargain’ with a child.”

“I don’t think I have to say what’s wrong with this picture, do I?”- Competitive-Bake-103

“YTA and unreasonable.”

“The cost of pool is not the responsibility of 12 year old.”

“Next time don’t cave.”

“Learn to say no.”- Prudent_Border5060


“You can’t enter into a long term financial agreement with a 12 year old.”

‘Imagine her explaining it to her friends, ‘Sorry, I can’t come out with you, I’m in massive debt to my parents from when I was a pre-teen so I can’t afford it’.”

“It’s clearly absurd.”- thejackalreborn

‘Are you expecting her to give you her entire paycheck each payday until the ‘debt’ is paid back?”-GlitterSparkleDevine


“She wasn’t old enough to be making deals like that with.”

“There’s a time to just say no and that was one of those times.”

“Now you just get to suck it up.”- Less_Volume_2508

“Retired child psychologist here who also understands the law, but is not a lawyer.”

“I completely understand your desire to teach your daughter about follow-through and upholding her responsibilities.”

“I’m guessing you are a conscientious person who cares deeply about raising a thoughtful, responsible adult.”

“All of that is good and well.”

“The problem is that you started the lesson way too early with a way-too-large commitment, one not well-understood by a kid.”

“The truth is that very few (if any) 12 year olds would actually truly understand what they are agreeing to, and for that reason your agreement would never be legally binding.”

“At 12 she could not understand the amount of money involved and what kind of work would be involved paying that money back. It’s impossible to have a ‘meeting of the kinds’ with such an undeveloped mind, you know?”

“She is 16 and now is the time to teach the lesson you wanted to teach, as now her brain can actually comprehend the agreement and what would be required of her.”

“I suspect you’ve damaged your credibility with her, though, and she may not ever participate in or listen to one of your lessons again.”

“Your family is right, YTA.”- DrKittyLovah

Any parent should let their children know that if they want a pool, they are expensive, and require care and upkeep which they would need to contribute to.

But ultimately, the OP and their husband chose to put one into their house, when they knew their daughter had no source of income.

Perhaps if the OP looked back on how many promises. they made. when they were 12, and how many they actually honored, they might think differently about their deal.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.