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'AITA for telling my daughter she sabotaged herself by choosing community college?'

'AITA for telling my daughter she sabotaged herself by choosing community college?'


Few things will push away adult kids quite like telling them how they should live their lives.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he was wrong for telling his daughter she self-sabotaged by opting for community college. He wrote:

"AITA for telling my daughter she sabotaged herself?"

My ex-wife and I (51M) have 3 children together. We have 2 sons who are 15 and 13, and a daughter who is now 18. Their mother and I agreed on a 50/50 custody arrangement after we split up and have stuck to it until this issue arose. My daughter hasn’t spoken to me since last summer due to an argument she and I had about college.

I have college funds for all 3 of my kids, and had an agreement with them that they would receive it after graduating high school as long as they attended a state university (not community college). I wanted to set them up for success later on, and I knew future employers would take them more seriously if their degree was from a legitimate 4-year college.

Last spring my daughter and I got into an argument about this. She was filling out financial forms for college and asked me for my tax returns. While we were going over the forms I noticed that she put down a local community college, and when I pointed it out she told me that her mother encouraged her to because they waived the tuition fees for first time college students so we wouldn’t have to pay.

I told her that she shouldn’t be asking me for my information if she was going to use it to do something that I’ve made clear I don’t support. She told me that she thought I just meant I was against paying for it and I told her that I had been crystal clear and that she knew what I had meant, and that she was being sneaky and taking the easy way out. Eventually I stormed out.

I figured that it would blow over by the next day, as it usually does when we have a fight. However, she told me a few days later that she reached out to the financial aid company and asked to submit the forms with only her mother’s financial information.

They ended up approving her request but it was a long process and didn’t get completed until after the deadline to enroll in most universities for the fall semester. As a result, she wasn’t able to start college last semester and ended up getting a job instead.

My daughter told me that since I “clearly wasn’t going to help her,” that she would move in with her mother full time after she turned 18 (which was during the summer) and she started college this semester.

I told her that was ridiculous and that she was being petty, and that she sabotaged herself and if she had just enrolled in a real college like I told her to, she would’ve been able to complete the paperwork without a problem. She told me that she hated me and was cold and distant to me until she moved out permanently.

That was all during Spring and Summer of last year and my daughter hasn’t spoken to me since. I pretty much forgot about it until my youngest son told me this morning that he misses her being there when they spend the week at my house and how he wishes I hadn't been so harsh. In retrospect, I might HAVE been too harsh with it. AITA?

Redditors had strong opinions about OP's parenting style.

fallingintopolkadots wrote:

YTA. Why are you such a judgey-pants about community college? Did you even have a discussion with her about why she was choosing to do this? If she had a plan? Many students start at a community college to knock some requirements out and then transfer to a four year state college. YOU sabotaged her and your relationship with her.

OP responded:

I'm not "judgey-pants" about community college. It's simply not what I want for my kids. I did ask why she thought it was a good idea, and she brought up the program where the waive first-time students' tuition fees. But the specific school she chose has a fully-online program for her major (which was partially where I was coming from when I told her she was taking the easy way out).

ParsimoniousSalad wrote:

YTA. You "storm out" of a fight with your daughter and she cuts you off for almost a year and you "pretty much forgot about it (her?)" until your son mentions missing her. WTF dude. The whole college money issue is completely secondary to how little you seem to care about your daughter.

Lots of people take the general education courses in community college, then transfer to a 4 year college (NOT the only "real" college) as you want. Doesn't seem like you even considered she might want that option for her life.

Samu_2020_15 wrote:

YTA— 100% an AH. Going to community college was the best decision I ever made.. got my general education requirements out of the way at a 1/4 of the cost. And now I’m the President/CEO of a company. You should have been supportive and proud of her and instead you treated her like she was beneath you.

I’m not sure you can get your relationship back with her after what you did, but I hope the first words out of your mouth are “I’m sorry.”

celticmusebooks wrote:

That was all during Spring and Summer of last year and my daughter hasn’t spoken to me since. I pretty much forgot about it until my youngest son told me this morning that he misses her being there. You haven't heard from your daughter since LAST SUMMER and you "pretty much" forgot about her?

YIKES ON BIKES. How did you type that out and still have to ask if you are the AH>>> Spoiler Alert: YTA.

CassieW309 wrote:

YTA. She wants to go to college. Community College IS college. Oh no, it isn't a 4 year school?!?!? WHO CARES? An Associates Degree gets her the first 2 years of a 4 year college done at SIGNIFICANTLY less expense. If she wants to be done, she can be done. If she wants to move on to a 4 year school - she can do that too. Good grief.

OP responded:

People in charge of hiring in professional fields certainly care where the degree is from. That's the whole point of our agreement with their college funds.

mdthomas wrote:

So let me get this straight. You're upset that one of your children wants to go to community college, which would most likely save you money in the long run? What do you have against community college? YTA (if this is real or if it's bait).

OP responded:

It's simply a lower level of education. I've seen firsthand people graduate from community college and struggle to find a job in their field afterward. I don't want my kids to end up like that.

thirdtryisthecharm wrote:

YTA. Yeah community college is a bad plan if you're trying to go for a high-power academic career. Or planning to apply for a top tier medical school or graduate program. Is that what she's planning? Why is this entire conversation about where she's going and NOT about what she's planning to study and why she thinks the community college is a better fit.

"I pretty much forgot about it"

"It" being your oldest child?

OP responded:

I think her plan was to get her associates at community college and do the second half of her degree at a university. She also brought up law school at one point, but I'm not sure if she's still planning on that.

Sorry if I wasnt clear but we did discuss the field she wanted to study and such quite a bit actually before things got out of control. And "It" being the general situation. Obviously I didn't forget my child existed.

meva535 wrote:

YTA. I am an attorney. And I went to community college after high school. The education I received was on par with my big 10 state university.

OP is clearly TA in this situation, hopefully, he's able to absorb this enough to approach his daughter differently before it's too late (if it's not already).

Sources: Reddit
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