Son Realized It’s Better To Pay His Own College Fees Than Asking His Controlling Dad; Was He Wrong For Telling His Relatives?

The original poster pays their own college tuition so they wouldn’t be under the control of their father. Were they wrong for announcing it to their relatives and embarrassing him?

Average College Tuition Price

increasing student debt

College tuition is no laughing matter. U. S. News & World Report calculated the average tuition for the 2022-2023 school year. The publication, known for its annual school rankings, found that public colleges average around $10,423 while their private counterparts cost nearly $40,000.

Contributing To The Children’s Education

education fund

That kind of money can cause tensions even in the best of families. Parents usually contribute to their children’s college tuition—but if a parent’s money comes with too many strings attached, is it worth it? The teen of one such parent shared their story on social media.

A Rocky Relationship

dad and son relationship

The original poster (OP) had a tenuous relationship with their dad, especially when it came to academics. Their dad had a temper combined with high expectations. OP worked hard through their grade school years. They spent sixth grade through twelfth grade stressed about performing up to their dad’s standards. 

There Was No Room For Mistakes

dad and teenage son shaking hands

According to the post, OP’s dad would scream and ground them often without cause. If a teacher failed to update the online grading system or mistakenly marked an assignment “missing,” OP would be punished. Their dad subjected them to random locker and backpack searches “for no reason besides ‘to make sure [they were] not hiding anything.’

B Grades Were Too Low

teenage boy playing football

OP’s father often contradicted himself as well. “One time, I was planning to try out for soccer,” They shared. “My math grade dropped to a B, and he had a fit and said, ‘Well no soccer’… so I didn’t try out. THEN time passes, and he’s laying into me about how I never [follow] through on things ‘like what happened with soccer, you were all excited and then didn’t do it.’ I said, ‘You said I couldn’t.’ He [then] claimed he never said that.”

With College Comes Great Responsibility

education saving

When it came time to apply for colleges and universities, OP’s dad brought up the college fund he had set aside for them. The money came with certain conditions and expectations.

OP’s grades could not slip below a B. He had to pre-approve all classes. OP would also be required to meet with him weekly to discuss grades and “a bunch of other stuff.” Coming from a “normal dad,” OP considered these expectations somewhat reasonable. However, their earlier school experiences with their dad made them wary.

OP Decided to Pay For School on Their Own

teenage boy watching

Despite the challenges it would entail, OP decided to pay for school on their own. They wanted the freedom to choose their classes and experience college without fear and anxiety.

“I didn’t feel like constantly worrying that he’d disapprove of a class or a grade and decide not to pay,” they wrote, “which I could totally see him doing.”

The prospect of facing student loan debt appealed far more than facing their dad’s control.

They Met Their Family For 4th of July Celebrations

teenage boy talking

The summer after OP’s freshman year of college, the family got together to celebrate the Fourth of July. OP’s family tended to pry, “sometimes they’re nosey.”

One such family member, an uncle, started discussing tuition prices. The uncle asked OP’s dad how much he was spending on tuition. OP answered before their dad could, saying: “What are you asking him for, I’m the one paying it?”

Dad Was Embarrassed

teenage boy frowning

Afterward, OP’s dad confronted them about the exchange. He was “p*ssed off” and told OP their actions were “out of line” and embarrassed him.

OP shared that embarrassing him was never their intent. They were “just being honest.” OP added that their father didn’t even know how much their tuition cost, so he wouldn’t have been able to answer in the first place.

Was He Wrong?

teenage boy

OP asked social media if they were wrong for showing up their dad like that.

“I didn’t do it to embarrass him; I was just being honest. He doesn’t even know how much tuition is, so he was the wrong person to ask,” they said.

The Story Went Viral on Social Media

social media likes

Redditors felt no sympathy for OP’s dad. “It’s embarrassing to him that you hate his control so much you’d turn down college being paid. And rightly so: he should be embarrassed,” one comment read.

Many agreed that OP’s father’s behavior towards them was problematic and his reaction wasn’t OP’s fault. “His emotions are not yours to manage,” another user agreed.

Congratulations OP For All The Hard Work!

tuition cost

Given the steep cost of tuition, many comments focused on commending OP for their dedication to paying their own way. They felt it was “really admirable” that they chose to pursue a degree despite so many obstacles. “Paying for your own education isn’t easy—you don’t owe it to anyone else to pretend that you aren’t doing it.”

Given the amount of Americans struggling with student loan debt (a whopping forty-three million according to Forbes), OP’s choice is definitely the hard—and much more freeing—road.

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This article Paying For My Own College Tuition and My Dad Isn’t Contributing was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Reddit: source.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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