A 17-year-old has been unclear and indecisive about his post-high-school future. Meanwhile, his father gave him some simple choices for what he could do after he graduates: go to college, get a job, or get out of the house. His wife, however, thinks that expecting autonomy at such a young age seems too extreme for their boy. Seeking some clarity, the father took to Reddit to explain the situation.
**This article is based on material obtained from sources pertaining to social media, college and government websites, which is referenced within the narrative**
The author of the post, married and father to three children aged 17, 15, and 10, respectively, is uncertain as to his eldest's plans after completing high school. Ultimately, his son has not openly expressed any interests or desires for the future. What's more, recent government research echoes that his son might be at risk of being included in the ever-increasing trend of high school graduates, around 38%, who opted not to go to college - some of the lowest numbers in two decades.
The father reflected on how his parents had given him an easy choice when he was younger: Either attend college, find work or get out of the house. He explained:
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...It wasn't a two year vacation.
Growing up in a privileged family, it would have been easy for the father to choose the path of idleness. However, he inferred that his parents wanted more than mediocrity from their son, so he decided against this route. Upon returning home after living abroad, he enrolled in college and eventually settled into a role within the family business.
He went on to discuss the agreement he and his current wife made before they said 'I do': that their children would be a positive influence in today's society. In other words, his children would be productive. But now his wife seems to have had a change of heart.
In his own words:
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's he's going to do. But he knows the plan. We have not been secretive about this rule.
Overall, his wife and their son believe that expecting him to be independent at the age of 18 is unfairly harsh. Meanwhile, the father contends that he gave his son numerous chances to explore alternative paths. Instead, he seems to observe the same behavior many other parents have probably noticed in today's adolescents between 8 and 18 years of age. That is, according to the CDC, they spend, on a daily average, a staggering 7.5 hours in front of a screen. As the father laments, his 17-year-old son is only interested in what's on his computer screen.
I am at a loss. I don't think I'm wrong for expecting an adult to adult. My parents have already told him that they will not be giving him any money if he isn't in school or working. My wife is threatening to use her salary to support him.
When all was said and done, he appeared to accept that his wife's decisions on how best to support their son were not up for debate. He also affirmed that while he wouldn't forcibly evict him from the family home, any financial or food assistance would be withheld if his son did not start taking action soon.
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Welding, Lyss. "College Enrollment Statistics in the U.S." Best Colleges
"61.8 percent of recent high school graduates enrolled in college in October 2021." U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics
u/Subject-Hospital-493. "AITA for telling my son he has to go to university, get a job, or get out?" Reddit
"Screen Time vs. Lean Time Infographic." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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