Is He Wrong for Telling His Son He Has to Go to University, Get a Job, or Get Out?

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A Reddit user shares his story of having to tell his son that he needs to either go to school, get a job, or get out.

Building Character

The original poster (OP) said that he and his wife have three children, ages 17, 15, and 10. His oldest has no intention of doing anything after high school, as far as OP knows. OP gave his son the same ultimatum his parents gave him. Either go to university, get a job, or get out. OP traveled the world for two years. He had sailing experience, and his father had friends in the sailing community, so he was able to sail around the world, earning money and working.

OP said that his family is well off and he could have chosen an “indolent” life, but he knew he would have been a disappointment if he had done that. When he got back from his two years of travel, he enrolled in university and went to work for the family business.

OP’s wife thinks he’s being unfair to their “poor baby boy” by “throwing him out into the world.” OP doesn’t think it’s unfair. They have the money to pay for university for all three of their kids. OP thinks that his middle child will end up with an academic as well as a golf scholarship. Their 10-year-old might be young, but he knows what awaits him when he’s a senior in high school.

OP and his wife have not been secretive about the rule. OP and his wife agreed when they got engaged that, they would raise “productive members of society.” She and his son believe he is being cruel, expecting him to fend for himself at 18. OP has offered him multiple opportunities to do other things. OP said he has no other interests besides his computer.

OP doesn’t believe he is wrong for wanting an adult to adult. OP’s parents have already told OP’s son that they will not give him any money if he doesn’t go to school or work. OP’s wife is threatening to use her salary to support him, something that OP has no say in. OP said that he wouldn’t kick him out of the house but that he would stop paying his bills and would cut the grocery budget by 20%.

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The Masses Weigh In

The Reddit community was quick to throw their support behind OP.

One user said, “NTA assuming that a trade school, apprenticeship, or community college would also be acceptable.”

Another user said:

“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.”

Is OP right to give his son this ultimatum? Is his wife right for thinking the ultimatum is unfair? How would you react in this situation?

This article was produced and syndicated by Femme on FIRE.

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Claire is a student turned financial enthusiast who has a passion for helping others. Her goal is to help as many people reach financial independence and early retirement as possible. When Claire isn't working on her blog, you can find her buried in a good book, testing recipes in the kitchen, or outside playing with her ducks.