De­mand from Dad for iPad is iPa­thetic

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Front Page -

Ques­tion: My 18-yearold twin sons both work part-time jobs to earn money for col­lege. Their father has had lit­tle to do with them in the six years since we di­vorced. He’s paid min­i­mal child sup­port, plans to dis­con­tinue all sup­port when they grad­u­ate in May, re­fuses to help with up­com­ing col­lege ex­penses and has spent lit­tle time with them.

Re­cently, he emailed the boys telling them (not ask­ing them) that since they’re work­ing now he wants them to buy him an iPad for his birth­day next month...be­cause he “de­serves” it for be­ing their father! The boys are shocked and an­gry at his self­ish­ness, his bla­tant de­mand for a gift and the fact he hasn’t given ei­ther of them a birth­day gift in two years. I’m con­sid­er­ing call­ing my ex and giv­ing him a piece of my mind but wanted to see if you agree.

An­swer: If this were a one-time mis­cal­cu­la­tion on their father’s part I might have sug­gested you call him and have a civ­i­lized talk (not “piece of your mind”).

How­ever, I sus­pect this self-in­volved be­hav­ior is part of a pat­tern. Your boys are ex­press­ing anger, but at the heart of the anger is hurt. Since they are both le­gal adults — I sug­gest you rec­om­mend that they ei­ther (a) ig­nore the re­quest or (b) re­spond in a neu­tral fash­ion, telling their father that they must use their sav­ings for col­lege.

As a mom my­self, I know how much you want to pro­tect them from hurt, but you can’t. Get­ting in­volved other than be­ing a good lis­tener won’t change any­thing. They’ll need to work this out them­selves.

Gwen Car­den has a master’s de­gree in men­tal health coun­sel­ing. For ad­vice on re­solv­ing a prob­lem, e-mail hap­py­[email protected] car­den­cre­ative.com or write to Res­i­dences/Happy Home, 2751 S. Dixie High­way, West Palm Beach, FL 33405.

Gwen Car­den

Happy Home

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