“I am a mother to a teenage boy. The father is hardly in the picture, he pays child support and that’s about it, he is very absent otherwise.”
“Another relevant thing, I’m pretty well off, I work in tech. my son’s father is extremely wealthy and the court order for child support is enough to pay for the best for my son. He goes to a fairly competitive private school, is in a lot of extracurriculars that cost a decent bit, etc…”
“I found out from school administration just this month that my son had been bullying several students for being less wealthy.. for being dropped off at school in a budget sedan, for having name brands clothes that are not as expensive as other name brands… I was appalled by his behaviors.”
The mother decided to get creative with his punishment.
“I had a talk with him about how this was wrong, and also about how it’s not something that he should have any personal pride in. He has no job, no savings, no investments, no wealth of his own. By totally random chance he happened to be born into good circumstances. And that’s it.”
“The school admin and I arranged an apology between him and all the kids he was bullying.”
“I also decided that this year, we’re thrift shopping for clothes. No more brand name sneakers or clothes.”
But she didn’t stop with just the clothes.
“And rather than driving him to school and activities in the porche or the jaguar, I’m driving him everywhere in my ’92 jeep that was one of my first cars that i mostly keep around for nostalgia and off roading. It’s really beaten up, I’ve rolled it, taken off the doors, tried to fix the paint with rattle cans at one point lol (young and dumb at that point.)”
“And for any activities he joins, he can borrow club equipment instead of getting his own bought.”
“He was really upset about it all, especially being driven to school and activities in the Jeep. He said that it was causing problems with his friends, he was looking bad at school, his friend’s parents didn’t want their kids getting in such an old vehicle with no doors. He also said that it was embarrassing him for me to pretend he’s poor…”
And his father was not pleased either.
“His dad, who overall has been very absent, got upset with me because apparently word had gotten around his circles that his son was being driven around town in “a junker” and that I was making him use the club gear for sports instead of his own. And that was not a fair punishment because “impressions matter” and it will affect the rest of his life”
“AITA for having this approach to parenting my son who was [bullying] kids for being “poor”? I don’t buy him new designer things or drive him places in luxury cars anymore, we shop at thrift stores and if I am taking him to school I drive a car from 92.”
One user said: “NTA. 1. You are teaching him a valuable lesson for the rest of his life. 2. It’s never okay to make fun of someone based on their families level of income. In summary this is a great punishment that might help him see things from other peoples point of view.”
While another commented: “Yes THIS ^ as someone who was previously bullied, I think it’s great you’re teaching your son it’s not ok to bully anyone.”
What do you think? Comment below!
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.