Parents Fight Over What to Do with Indolent Son with No Ambition in Life

Parents Fight Over What to Do with Indolent Son with No Ambition in Life

Is his son addicted to computer games, or is the youngster using it as a means of escapism?

The way this dad views it, his eldest son simply lacks ambition. He's different from his younger siblings who have dreams and are down-to-earth. They know that their parents have saved enough money to support their goals, but they must have a clear direction in life.

Why his eldest son is such an indolent teenager is a question that bugs this dad. And what makes the situation worse is that his wife is taking the youngster's side after he issued their son an ultimatum: get a university education, get a job, or pack his things and leave home.

Here's the story that this desperate father shared on Reddit's r/AmItheA--hole forum under the username u/Subject-Hospital-493: "My wife and I have three children. They are 17, 15, and 10. My oldest has no intention of doing 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 a-- off. It wasn't a two-year vacation."

The Original Poster then revealed that after his traveling stint, he enrolled in a university and worked in their family business afterward.

When he and his wife met, they promised each other that they would "raise productive members of society" before their engagement. But, apparently, that promise is no longer important to his wife today. She told him that she would support their son through her salary in case her husband makes his ultimatum serious.

OP further wrote, "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 she's going to do. But he knows the plan. We have not been secretive about this rule."

However, OP's wife and oldest son both opine that he's being cruel for expecting him to become independent at 18. But OP has already offered him many opportunities to enable him to stand on his own feet, and yet his son's sole interest is his computer.

OP doesn't really intend to kick their eldest son out of the house. But he plans to stop paying his bills and cut the family's grocery budget by 20%. Nonetheless, his wife told him that she would shoulder their son's living expenses if OP goes on with his plan to discipline their boy.

At a loss, that's how this dad ended his post. At first, the dilemma involved only his eldest son. Now, it's a war between him and his wife.

So, who's the a-hole?

Well, for most of the commenters, this dad is NTA. But they did observe that the husband's and wife's different parenting styles may be the root of why the boy is aimless or even having mental health issues.

Newsweek has also published OP's story and offered this expert opinion from Caroline Rowett of Caroline Rowett Parenting Coaching in London: "From what the father describes, his son is used to hearing 'Do this or else...' from Dad and 'I'll rescue you' from Mum. Neither parenting pattern builds the intrinsic motivation and confidence for teens to thrive. High expectations of his children are excellent, but when his son cannot meet them, it benefits the father to be curious rather than forceful or punitive. As parents, we must focus on the cause and underlying communication rather than the behavior. When we do this, we can encourage and support in a way that works towards the goal of 'adulting.'"

Rowett recommended obtaining professional help for their son from a youth coach or family therapist to heal what she thinks is a lack of self-belief in the teenage boy. This will also prevent rifts between father and son and between husband and wife from worsening.

This just proves that even in this modern age, the wisdom of the Bible applies: "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger.” The words were written by Paul in Ephesians 6:4. No matter how busy and stressful life gets, parents should always have time to talk to and listen to their children. It's the surest way to earn trust and strengthen the family bond. Money is not everything. The greatest motivation in life comes from love.

Doris de Luna

For more than 20 years now, I’ve been devoting my heart, energy, and time to fulfilling my dream, which – many people may agree – is not among the easiest aspirations in life. Part of my happiness is having been able to lend a hand to many individuals, companies, and even governments as an investigative journalist, creative writer, TV director, and radio broadcaster.

At home, I spend my free time learning how to cook various cuisines. Tiramisu, chocolate mousse, and banoffee pie are my favorite desserts. Playing with our dogs, Mushu and Jerusalem, is also a special part of my day. And, of course, I read a lot – almost anything under the sun. But what really makes me feel alive is meeting people from various walks of life and writing about their stories, which echo with the tears and triumph of an unyielding spirit, humanity, and wisdom.

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