I Refuse to Buy a Car for My Son, Even Though I Did It for All My Other Kids
Staying true to one’s word is an important part of parenting. But what happens when the promise can no longer be kept, due to changing circumstances? Despite all of his best efforts to raise his kids into successful adults, a dad had to realize that one of his sons grew up to be spoiled and disrespectful. So he turned to Reddit, wondering whether he was too harsh when he decided to finally teach his son a lesson.
A father shared his dilemma.
I (49M) have four kids, twin boys (both 27), one girl (25F) and another son (21M). This post is about my youngest son, Jack. Since they were children, I promised my kids two things, one, I’ll fully pay for all of their college expenses (housing/tuition/food etc.) and two, once they graduate college, I will buy them a car. I kept that promise for all my kids, except with Jack, and now I want to know if I am wrong for that. I paid for Jack’s college expenses, but I am refusing to buy him a car, below are some of the reasons why.
1. I co-signed my name on the lease for Jack’s room that he rents with a friend, and I send Jack his portion of the rent every month. The friend started taking advantage of my name being on the lease and stopped paying for rent too, knowing I will cover the amount because I don’t want missed payments on my credit score. I asked Jack multiple times to ask his roommate to pay his portion, but the boy did not care to even respond to me, and I ended up paying for six months of his friend’s rent too until I finally solved the problem by getting my name out of the lease.
2. Jack has a very rude and entitled attitude. He speaks to us like we are his low performing employees, the only time he contacts us is when he wants money and goes no contact otherwise, and we don’t know what we ever did to him to treat us that way.
3. Last year, when my wife had to be hospitalized, all of my kids flew back home to be there for their mother. Jack didn’t want to, but one of his siblings bought him a ticket and talked him into flying out. Instead of being glad to be beside his very sick mother at the hospital, he spent the entire visit making everyone run errands for him (his sister has to cook a very specific type of meal for him/we had to drive him to the gym at a very specific time he demands etc.) and acted like it was one huge inconvenience for him to have to fly out.
I even talked to my other kids about whether we were bad parents that caused Jack to act this way, but all my other kids don’t know why he ended up so entitled and spoiled. The rest of my kids are extremely different from Jack, we all get along with each other and care about one another.
For the rest of my kids, I spent maybe $100K on each kid’s total college expenses. With Jack’s careless spending habits and unwillingness to save us any money, Jack’s college years ended up costing me $180k. So I refused to buy the promised car. Jack’s upset and has gone to his grandparents complaining about me. My MIL already hates me and now is calling me, saying I am playing favorites because I bought everyone a car and not Jack.
Redditors quickly understood where the poster was coming from.
- “If I were being petty, I’d buy a junker used car for him. If he wants to be so technical about holding you to a promise, well that’s his car. Tell him the rest of the budget was eaten up by the 80k. Time for him to learn the consequences of his actions.” namesaretoohardforme / Reddit
- “For people saying that you raised Jack to be that way — they are completely ignoring the fact that we are human beings and not robots. At some point, personalities start to factor in. My family’s situation is similar to yours and I think during the teenage years, adjustments had to be made to accommodate the different personalities in order to set us up for success.
My brothers and I did not respond to the same treatment, and we received different privileges accordingly. My family would have given me the receipts and bills for my expenses if I acted that entitled. Perhaps that may be what Jack needs instead of a car and help him get a clue.” Whole_Accountant6150 / Reddit
- “Go buy him a hot wheels car or a remote control car. You probably never said what kind of car you would buy for your kids. Especially since you gave him cash during his college years that ultimately came from his car fund. Plus his attitude towards family is ridiculous and if he goes no contact with you all the time except when he wants money means he just sees you as an ATM and not someone he loves.” needabook55 / Reddit
- “I wouldn’t buy Jack a car, specifically because of your point about his apartment lease. You had to pay double the rent you agreed to, there goes the money for his car. Sorry kid, you should have done something about it. Even if he couldn’t completely solve the problem, he should have been communicating with you and at least trying to find a solution.
But you should have made that clear. It sounds like you’re pulling the rug out from under him all of a sudden without warning. Had you discussed these issues in the past and plainly told him all of this, then you’d be fine.” sfzen / Reddit
- “Tell him you will give him 5K to buy a used car. He needs to collect the 6 months of no rental payments from his roommate or take him to small claims court if he wants a nicer car. Show him the bottom line of what was spent on each child, then ask why he thinks he deserves more than his siblings. Also, learn to tell him no. It is something he should have been taught as a toddler.” dncrmom / Reddit
- “I can also understand why he is upset. But honestly, the fact he can complain when you paid for his entire tuition is insane. Maybe it would have been better if you added a ‘if you keep a good attitude’ to the promise, but I’m cherry-picking. I can understand why he is upset, but you are completely justified.” swaggysalamander / Reddit
Having an ungrateful kid is something many parents have to struggle with. In our previous article, we wrote about a dad who decided to teach his teenage son a lesson after he was disrespectful to his mom.