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Dad called 'cruel' for threatening to cut off unmotivated son; wife offers son money.

Dad called 'cruel' for threatening to cut off unmotivated son; wife offers son money.


AITA for telling my son he has to go to university, get a job, or get out?

My wife and I have three children. They are 17, 15, and 10. My oldest has no intention to do anything after high school. At least none he has made clear to us.

So I gave him the same ultimatum my parents gave me. Either go to university, get a job, or GTFO. I chose to travel the world for two years. I had a lot of sailing experience and my father had a lot of friends in that community so I was able to sail around the world earning money and working my ass off. It wasn't a two year vacation.

My family is well off and I could have chosen an indolent life. But I knew I would be a disappointment if I chose that. So when I got back I enrolled in university and eventually went to work for the family business.

My wife thinks that I'm being unfair to our poor baby boy throwing him out into the world. I'm not. We have the money to pay for his university. We have the money for all three kids.

My middle child will probably end up with a good chunk of it in her pocket. She is on track for an academic as well as a golf scholarship. The 10 year old is 10 and who knows what's he's going to do. But he knows the plan. We have not been secretive about this rule.

My wife and I agreed that we would raise productive members of society before we got engaged. Her and my son think I'm being cruel to expect him to fend for himself at 18. I have offered him multiple opportunities to do other things. He has no interest in anything beyond his computer.

I am at a loss. I don't think I'm wrong for expecting an adult to adult. My parents have already told him that they will not be giving him any money if he isn't in school or working.

My wife is threatening to use her salary to support him. I don't have any say in that. I won't actually kick him out of the house but I will stop paying his bills and cut off our grocery budget by 20%. If she wants to work so he doesn't have to there is nothing I can do about that.

Q&A with OP:

imothro asks (and judges):

Aren't you, as a parent, concerned about WHY a 17 year old child has no hopes and dreams for their future? That isn't exactly normal. Your child may have a mental health condition like depression. Get your kid some actual help. YTA

Subject-Hospital-493 OP responds:

He has a therapist. He has good marks in school. He has friends. He has no ambition.

thirdtryisthecharm judges (and asks):

NTA assuming that a trade school, apprenticeship, or community college would also be acceptable?

Subject-Hospital-493 OP responded:

That's school or a job so yes.

MerlinBiggs judges (and asks):

NTA. But if your wife is going to support him then I guess there's not much you can do. You need to get her on the same page. You want him to make a life not waste it away. Is whatever he does on the computer something he can make a living at?

Subject-Hospital-493 OP responded:

Well she's going to be paying his cell phone, internet, gaming, and streaming bills because I am not.

ittybitty048 asks:

Info: 1. How was this conversation conveyed? The wording you’re using here would seem daunting to any teenager. 2. Define job. Are you fine with him getting a simple retail/food job, or do you expect him to find a career he can climb?

Subject-Hospital-493 OP responded:

He has known the rules since he was 8. I don't care if he flips burgers or goes to work as an associate in Milan.

spikeymist judges (and adds):

NTA it's a kinder list of options compared to one mother I used to know, she gave her children the choice of university or the military.

Subject-Hospital-493 OP responded:

Military is acceptable.

thehelsabot asks:

Is he depressed? Have you tried getting him an appointment with a psychiatrist?

Subject-Hospital-493 OP responded:

He has a therapist

Here's what people had to say:

thirdtryisthecharm writes:

Then I think you should be VERY concerned about why a 17yo doesn't have plans or ambitions. But you're not TA for having expectations that he either be in school or working.

FeuerroteZora writes:

I feel like the wife's attitude probably explains a lot....

IAmSpellbound writes:

Explains everything. Her poor little golden boy can do no wrong probably.

paininyurass writes:

My boyfriends (son) almost 17 year old thinks he can make money playing video games by steaming. He’s been streaming since he was 14 and still hasn’t made any money. He refused to get a job and is close to flunking high school.

ChibiSailorMercury writes:

It's not 'fending for oneself' when the parents tell the kids 'go to university, we pay for it, you stay under our roof OR work, keep your money to yourself, you stay under our roof OR choose to do nothing with your life and you'll have to fend for yourself'. Not at all.

You don't even give him ultimatums about what to study or what job to take. He could bum around from major to major or from minimum wage job to another, while figuring out what he wants to do with his life. With all expenses paid.

He's not going to get sudden inspiration on how to spend his adult life by staying home and doing nothing. NTA, for actually parenting your kid.

Sources: Reddit
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