Demand from Dad for iPad is iPathetic
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 happyhome@ cardencreative.com or write to Residences/Happy Home, 2751 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, FL 33405.