When you get your first job, usually as a teenager, you can't wait to make actual money that you earned. It feels really good not to have to ask your parents for money for lunch or movie tickets or CDs (OK, so I'm dating myself!). Could you imagine if you got your first job ever, a part-time gig just to make some spending money, and then your parents, who didn't actually need the extra income, wanted you to give them some of your spending money?
Wouldn't feel great, would it? One dad recently posted to Reddit's "Am I the A--hole?" because he was confused why his wife and son were upset that he'd want to take part of his 13-year-old son's earnings from his paper route.
He explains that his son, who's about to turn 13, is going to start working a part-time job. He has a friend who works for a local newspaper and is looking for a couple of paper deliverers. His son will make £10 ($13) an hour — pretty good for a first job if you ask me. That's about £40 ($52) a month, just enough to have a little extra spending money in his pocket.
Both the father and his wife thought it was a great idea for their son, who has struggled with ADHD. But there was one point on which he and his wife differed. He writes, "As my wife and I were discussing this stuff, I suggested the idea to my son that he gives me part of his wage. I said give me 10 or 20 [percent or £ is not specified], you'll be working and getting plenty of money from Christmas and birthdays and such."
What?! It sure sounds like he wants to take some of his 13-year-old's meager earnings for himself. Obviously, his wife and son were not about this idea. His wife yelled at him, and his son stormed off. I would too if my dad said he wanted a cut of the $50 a month I'd bring home from delivering papers.
Eventually, he calmed his wife down and explained he intended to keep the money he took out of his son's wages in a savings account they already have in place for him, which he could use in a few years to buy a car or something. His wife still thought that their son should be in control of the money he earns and thinks he should get access to all of it.
But dad is pretty adamant that his son should save a portion of his earnings. Dad thinks he is being smart, and maybe putting some of the money in a savings account is the right move, but that's not the point. The point is that his son — the person actually bringing home this money — isn't involved at all in the conversation about what to do with it.
Leaving his son out of the loop and not giving him the chance to make a decision on his own isn't going to teach him anything about how to handle money. And Reddit agreed. "It's HIS money he would be WORKING for," one commenter wrote. "You shouldn't be taking any of it against his will at all. You should be encouraging him to save. Not forcing him to. He's 13. He has tons of time. He'll learn whatever habits you encourage."
"YTA because you're trying to run the show and are being super controlling about the situation," someone else wrote. His son is so young! Part of how you learn real-world lessons is by making your own mistakes. Yes, the kid's parents should present the option of saving because it's a smart thing to do, but they should also ultimately let him make his own choice.
It's not that much money he's bringing home. If he wants to spend it all, he'll get to be 16 and not have much of a savings. And then maybe he'll get another part-time job and buckle down and start putting some money away. He has time to learn and experience the consequences of his decisions, but that's the important part. His decisions have to be his own.
In an update to the original post, OP explains that he took everyone's suggestions to heart. He took this opportunity to teach his son how money and banks work and explained what would happen if he started saving a little bit of money now. He even told him he would match whatever he puts in now. His son is excited about that prospect.
Seems like dad got his way in the end, and so did the kid — because he chose to put 50 percent of his wages into savings. That means his dad will have to match £20 every month. Good move, kid.