What is a grandparent to do when their child’s lifestyle doesn’t match their ideologies?
It's no secret that there is a real problem in the US when it comes to student debt and access to education for all young people today. Data shows that the national student debt currently sits at $1.6 trillion in the United States.
Many young people today have to depend on racking up student loans to get their education, but some of them who are lucky enough may receive some form of funding from their family to support them through their higher education.
But what is a person to do when the support from their family is completely conditional? These realities were highlighted in a recent online post in which a grandmother refuses to fund her grandson’s higher education after he accidentally comes out as gay.
What is a parent to do when their child’s lifestyle doesn’t match their ideologies?
The author begins her post by explaining that she has three children, and one of them is her 19-year-old son who came out as gay when he was 14 years old. While the author and her husband are atheists and claim to ‘fully support the LGBTQIA+ community’, and were ‘proud of their son for coming out’, the author’s mother-in-law is a 'devout Catholic' and is 'extremely intolerant of gay people'.
The author goes on to explain that her children were told from a very young age that their grandmother, who is rather wealthy, would pay for their college tuition under one condition—they had to attend a 'private Christian or Catholic school'.
The grandmother seems to be under the belief that if her grandchildren go to a Christian college they won't party as much, or indulge in other vices. While the author and her husband don't agree with these beliefs, they still want her children to get the best education they can and they can’t change the mother-in-law's mind.
According to the author, her 19-year-old son is about to start his second year at a Christian college and the year has already been paid for in full by his grandmother. And because he's graduating with so many college credits, he's going to finish college in 3 years rather than 4.
Should children be encouraged to be true to themselves, no matter the cost?
Unfortunately, at the grandmother's recent birthday party, the author's son was talking to some of his cousins about how he was 'talking to a boy at school'. The teenager thought that his secret was safe with his cousins, but someone told their parents who told another family member, and ultimately the author's son was outed to his grandmother.
In the aftermath of the party, the grandmother called the author to tell her she would 'no longer be making payments towards the 19-year-old's tuition', and to relay the message to him that 'she will no longer be speaking to him'. The author adds that she's told her son many times to ‘not come out to his grandmother’, or other family members, until he was through with college.
She concluded her posts by stating that she plans to go no contact with her mother-in-law after her two other children have ‘had their tuition fully paid for’, and that unfortunately now her son is going to have to take out student loans for his final year of college. However, the author's son has since come to her and asked for his parents to cover his tuition for his final year, because they have savings put aside. The author confirms that they have $25,000 put aside for a ‘much-needed kitchen renovation’, and for this reason, they don't want to use it on their son's education instead.
What do you think? Is the author entirely justified to force her son to rack up student loans because he came out to his family as gay, even though she has the savings put away to be able to pay for his last year? Or is the author being a terrible parent by prioritising a kitchen remodel over her son's education, especially after he's been directly discriminated against by a portion of his own family?