Single Dad Of 5 Asks If He’s Wrong For Expecting 15-Year-Old Son To Meet His Own Basic Needs

How could a father expect this from a 15-year-old boy?

sad boy and angry father Red Stock, morrowlight / Shutterstock

A single father of five boys went on Reddit to post about his unfortunate situation and how his 15-year-old son is reacting to their socioeconomic circumstances.

He went to the “r/AmItheA--hole” (AITA) subreddit, where people would hopefully tell him whether or not he was in the wrong, and provided context on the situation. He explained his financial situation, his two eldest sons’ (18 and 17) situations, and the 15-year-old’s demeanor.


The dad asked if he was wrong for expecting his 15-year-old son to meet his own basic needs.

Though this is not verbatim what he said, this is exactly what his post implies. The title of the post reads, “AITA for giving my son a reality check?” but commenters seem to agree the only one who is in need of a reality check is him. He needs to be a father first, and everything else second.

“My 17 and 18-year-olds both have jobs and contribute to buying their own food and clothes,” he explains in the post. “My 15-year-old, we'll call him Jack, doesn't. I don't have a problem with this but it is relevant to the situation.”


He goes on to explain that because he has five kids, he makes it a point to "budget carefully,” he continues. “I can only buy but so much food and so many clothes, and the rule is unless you have your own money you have to accept what's there and that's it or there won't be enough to go around. (For those who'll say ‘Well then should've had less kids,’ it's a bit late for that don't you think).”



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That’s fine, but he doesn’t seem to understand the fact that even though that’s the case, he’s still a father to these five children — emphasis on the word “children.”


“Jack has been unable to keep a job, but that doesn't keep him from complaining about his clothes being too small/uncool and that he wishes he could eat like his friends (going out, nice restaurants, etc.),” he explains. “I understand. I grew up less fortunate than my friends as well and I hated it. But that doesn't mean I can magically change things.”

People agreed that as a father, he needs to take care of his son’s basic needs.

When he got home from work, Jack’s younger brothers said that they wanted to make PB&J sandwiches, but couldn’t find the peanut butter — Jack had taken it. But not only that, he had also been caught stealing his older brothers’ food too — food that they purchased with their own, hard-earned money.

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Of course, stealing is wrong, and the father makes a point of reiterating that to his son, but he doesn’t recognize that Jack doesn’t seem to have a choice. If he’s hungry, he’s going to eat, but dad thinks that responsibility falls on Jack, not him as a father.


“I told him the reality is that if he wants to buy fancy foods and snacks he's going to have to get a job and pay for them himself,” he said. “He wasn't happy to hear this, but I think it needed to be said.” This is a 15-year-old boy we’re talking about.

Jack wasn’t asking for fancy foods or snacks, but food to stave off hunger. He’s a 15-year-old boy — they eat a lot. According to Utah Valley Pediatrics, this is thanks to puberty. “Around late puberty, boys hit a growth spurt. They start putting on a lot of muscle mass and their height skyrockets,” which means these calories have to come from somewhere, he’s a growing boy!

Of course, the answer isn’t as simple as “buy more food and clothes.” The father can’t afford it, and we all understand that, but being angry with a 15-year-old for not having a job is unfair. One commenter put it simply, saying “YTA [you’re the a--hole] he's 15. his clothes being too small and him being hungry is your problem to fix. fix it.”


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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor for YourTango who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.