As a parent, it’s normal to want to help your children. However there reaches a point where your help may be hurting.
Redditor SandyInStLouis is aware she may have instilled a little too much dependency in her son, but the original poster (OP) recently cut him off. Now she’s questioning her decision to punish her son.
To figure out if she was wrong, OP took her query to the “Am I the A**hole” subReddit.
She asks the question:
“AITA for telling my son to call his dad for help instead of me?”
OP explained the whole situation:
“My son is 24. He is on his own as in he doesn’t live with me. I love him very much. But he’s not the most responsible person.”
“When he was 16 I got him a car and paid for the insurance til he was 20. At that time I told him he needed to pay for his own.”
“He lived at home with no other bills and worked full time. He chose not to attend college.”
“At 21 the car was toast. I was getting a new car for myself and decided to give him my old car. He was grateful.”
“During this time I was getting remarried and he decided to go live with his dad.”
“At 22 he got caught driving without insurance. His license got suspended and he racked up $1200 in fees.”
‘I paid it with the understanding he would pay me back $100 a month for a year. He paid $50 and nothing since.”
“At 23 he hit a deer and totaled the car. He got $3500 from insurance and my husband helped him find a car. 6 months ago he had a crazy ex girlfriend slit his tires.”
“My husband put a new set of tires on the car and my son was supposed to pay him $50 a month til they were paid off. Told the husband not to do it. Not a dime back to my husband.”
“3 months ago he decides to move into a rental with a roommate. I lovingly advised him he couldn’t afford it. Last week he had the starter go out in his car. He called freaking out.”
“I told him I cannot help him. We have put out almost 2k on payment arrangements he hasn’t kept. I told him bank of mom is closed. Call your dad.”
“He says his dad doesn’t have as much money as me. I told him no, that we aren’t going through this with him again.”
“He begged and promised to pay. I said no. Now he won’t talk to me. Am I wrong?”
On the AITA subReddit, people are judged to be wrong or not by other commenters. The poster explains their situation and waits for outside views to determine if they were the titular a**hole.
This is done by including one of the following in a comment:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
The son is obviously wrong to keep borrowing money without paying it back, but a lot of commenters felt OP didn’t do her job as a parent. She should have tried harder to teach him a sense of responsibility.
That was the logic behind the vote that no one looks good in this story.
“ESH. Your son for obvious reasons; his parents for enabling him.”
“He ‘chose not to attend college’ and ‘lived at home with no other bills and worked full time,’ which means he should have had the money – from the age of 18 onwards – to pay for both insurance, a new car, and the $1,200 in fees he racked up.”
“You’ve insulated him from the consequences of his own actions and repeatedly given him cash, cars and a roof over his adult head without expecting anything in return.”
“And while it’s great that you’re finally saying no, ‘learn to take responsibility for yourself’ would make a whole lot more sense than ‘go ask your father.’” – WebbieVanderquack
“ESH, you should have started this earlier instead of enabling him up until this point. You are doing the right thing now, but it took to long to get to doing the right thing imo.” – Rifter0876
“While I agree with some of the others that you’re ALSO TAH for allowing him to be coddled up to the age of 23, I’m noting you as NTA in this specific situation where you cut him off.”
“The learning has to start at some point, and yeah, it’s happening later than it probably should – but you’re not an AH for doing it now.” – Lurkingentropy
“He will talk to you again, when he decides to grow up. Obviously you know the answer to what you’re seeking, hopefully he grows up rather quicker than later.”
“And make sure when he does grow up, you use yalls relationship as an example of what not to do to his future kids, so they learn self accountability at a young age.” – _liquidmetalz_
For her part, OP was very receptive to feedback, and responded to many comments.
And she seemed very aware of her situation.
“You waited until he was 23 to force him to adult.” – snewton_8
“I accept that. I clearly made some mistakes.” – SandyInStLouis (OP)
“Better now than never, stick to your guns but forgive the old debt” – RTAIRE2021
“The debt has never been brought back up to him until this when he asked why I wouldn’t help and then it was well… because you don’t pay your bills…” – SandyInStLouis (OP)
OP was very grateful for all the feedback and comments she received.
“OP Here. Thank you everyone for the replies.”
“I am painfully aware I am not a perfect parent and I totally accept the ESH and the YTA votes for that. I appreciate all feedback.”
“Nothing keeps your guts in knots like parenting. If your kids are younger please learn from my mistakes.”
“I appreciate all the redditors and their comments!” – SandyInStLouis (OP)
OP’s relationship with her son is likely to be strained for a bit, but hopefully in time he understands why she did this. It’s easy to understand why he feels so entitled to his parents’ money, and it’s also a natural want to help your children.
But there comes a point where it’s no longer just a parent helping their child at a difficult time in life, and instead it’s someone taking advantage of kindness.