In a young man’s transition into adulthood, his relationship with his father, the Original Poster (OP), is tested over financial boundaries. As the son confronts his father about paycheck deductions intended for a college fund, tensions reach a climax over immediate necessities versus long-term aspirations. This emotional showdown between fatherly wisdom and a youth’s desire for independence reveals deep-seated frustrations and needs.
OP’s son celebrates his 18th birthday in March, a significant passage into adulthood. Since his son’s first job at 15, OP has diligently set aside a percentage of his paycheck for his college fund. The plan is to return this money to his son’s account once he starts college in the fall.
Lessons in Budgeting
Wanting to teach their son financial responsibility, OP and his wife decide it’s time for him to manage his own food expenses. This becomes especially relevant as the young man starts working evening shifts. It’s a safe, low-stakes way for him to gain real-world budgeting experience.
A Smooth Start
The new arrangement begins without any complaints or issues from the son. He handles his food expenses, and everything seems to go smoothly. The transition appears to be working well for everyone involved.
A Surprising Discovery
One evening, OP discovers his son arriving home in an intoxicated state. Trying to dismiss his father’s suspicions, the son blames a tiring day at work. But OP, with years of life experience, immediately recognizes the signs of intoxication.
Beers and Bargains
Questioning his son’s actions, OP learns about the after-work beer ritual. On this day, a sale prompted the son to buy two bottles instead of one. Concerned, OP questions his son’s spending priorities, especially when he should be focusing on his food.
The Money Strain
The son’s frustration surfaces as he highlights the limited money left for his meals after OP’s deductions. He said his budget allows only breakfast, leading him to resort to cheap beers for solace. OP finds it hard to believe that his earnings barely cover three meals.
Accusations of Theft
The tension escalates when the son accuses OP of “stealing” his hard-earned money. Emotions run high as the son feels trapped by the deductions, while OP firmly believes he’s doing what’s best for his son’s future.
College vs. Meals
In a sarcastic retort, the son questions the point of a college fund if he’s struggling to eat every day. He challenges the very premise of OP’s savings plan. The argument intensifies, moving from money to deeper issues of trust and agency.
OP reminds his son of the original agreement: the money was always meant for college. With the start of college just a few months away, OP refuses to relent. He believes in the importance of the savings plan and stands his ground.
Hoping that the previous night’s confrontation was exacerbated by alcohol, OP awaits reconciliation. However, the morning brings no respite. The son remains upset, the dispute unresolved.
OP is left grappling with guilt and uncertainty. He questions if his decision to save a portion of his son’s paycheck for college is justified. It’s a sincere quest for introspection, balancing parenthood with financial pragmatism.
The Wealth Gap
OP and his family aren’t wealthy. Every dollar counts, and college savings are essential. The money for college wouldn’t magically appear elsewhere, so his son must earn his own way, or he will be buried under a mountain of student debt.
A significant underlying issue is the eroding trust between father and son. The financial arrangement, initially agreed upon, becomes a point of contention, leading to misunderstandings and hurtful accusations.
Was The Father’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP wonders if he was too hard on his son. He posts his story online for feedback and opinions. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “You should sit down with him, looking at his income, and then agree on a budget between you. You have a reasonable right to expect some food and rent money, but it sounds like you’re not providing any food in the house for him.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “You cannot teach someone to budget without sitting him down and looking at money coming in and money going out and the actual cost of necessities.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “If you’re still going to be in charge of your child’s big decisions in the name of parenting him, feed him or give him money for food.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “You clearly have not raised your son to be able to take care of himself in a responsible way. You have no idea how much he makes, but still take out a huge percentage of his income.”