Mom Asks Eldest Daughter To Pay for Her Siblings' College Tuition & Doesn't Think She Crossed a Line

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checkbook and tassle
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Figuring out how to pay for college is no easy feat for most Americans. But when looking for ways to cover the astronomic costs, most students -- and their parents -- turn to student loans or scholarships, as opposed to, say, an older sibling. A mom on Reddit is under fire after admitting that she approached her eldest daughter, now a college graduate, to help foot her siblings' tuition bills. What's more, the daughter had expressed feeling like her mom treated her like a "second parent" when she was growing up.

  • In the Am I the A--hole subreddit, the mom explained that she has a 30-year-old daughter, 17-year-old son, and 16-year-old daughter.

    "My oldest has a different father from the other two, and was obviously fairly grown once her siblings were born," the original poster wrote. "I will admit that, during her teen years, my oldest took on a lot of babysitting duties in the house. I worked during the afternoons and evenings, so she would pick the babies up from daycare and watch them until I got home at night. This unfortunately has led to my daughter and I having somewhat of a strained relationship as she's become an adult. She has told me that I used her as a second parent, and that it caused her a lot of stress and stunted her social life during adolescence."

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  • The OP admitted she made mistakes as a mom when her eldest was a teen.

    "We were struggling financially, and she always seemed eager to help with the babies, but I shouldn't have taken advantage of her like that," the mom wrote. "We've discussed it a lot in the years since, and though we still have problems between us, I like to think our relationship has made progress."

    Now, her daughter is a financial consultant "with an excellent salary," noted the OP. "I'm incredibly proud of her and everything she's achieved. As someone who myself never attended college, and who has lived near the poverty line my entire life, it's so rewarding to see my daughter move up in the world."

  • And unsure of how she's going to pay for the teens' tuition, the OP decided to approach her eldest.

    Wanting to avoid "heavy student loans," the OP asked her 30-year-old "whether she might be willing to contribute somewhat to her siblings' tuition." She explained, "I emphasized that she could absolutely say no, or we could discuss the possibility of us paying her back over a period of years. I said multiple times that I was only asking because I wanted to consider all options, but if she wasn't comfortable with it I would drop it and look for alternatives."

  • Unsurprisingly, the OP's daughter "became very upset" with her mom.

    "She said that it was entirely inappropriate for me to ask, and that the only reason I would ever consider asking is because I've always considered her a second parent rather than a child," wrote the OP. "She said that my asking her for this has shown her that I've never learned from my parenting mistakes when she was a teenager. But I really don't think it's the same thing. Like, honestly, she's rich. She has the money. I don't think it's absurd that I might ask her if she's willing to do me a favor for the sake of her siblings, especially since I made it very clear I wouldn't be angry or upset if she said no."

  • In an edit, the OP explained that her eldest was put through college by her father.

    "He lives across the country, and would visit occasionally when she was growing up, though he never had custody," wrote the OP. "He offered to pay for her schooling as a sort of 'apology' for not being more present when she was young. I don't see him, but they have some amount of contact nowadays. The younger two have the same father. He ran off just after my youngest was born. Haven't heard anything from him since."

    She then turned the situation over to her fellow Redditors to weigh in on whether or not she was wrong to solicit her daughter.

  • Commenters were resoundingly opposed to the ick-worthy move.

    One Redditor wrote, "You admit to yourself you took advantage of your daughter when she was younger and now have the gall to ask her to be a parent to her siblings again? She's right. You asking was extremely inappropriate."

    Another observed, "A leech is such a fitting word for people like this. Has a bit of your blood in it so it wants to live on you forever. At least actual leeches have the decency to move along once you throw them aside while leeches like her will chase you and use cheap tactics to reattach themselves."

    A third empathized with the 30-year-old daughter, writing, "Are you my mom? When I was in high school, mine said to me, 'If I pay for your college will you pay for [younger brother's] college?' Hilariously, my brother is only 6 years younger than me so she expected me to be able to do this at 24."

  • A couple commenters defended the OP.

    One wrote, "Yes, it sucks OP's eldest had to take on significant childcare responsibilities in her important teenage years. But what's your alternative here? OP shouldn't have had a job, which, quick reminder, was the only thing paying for all of her children to be fed and sheltered?"

    Another chimed in, "People are saying this woman shouldn't have had kids if she couldn't support them... what about the father who left her with three kids? It would have been a completely different situation with two working adults and three kids. What was she supposed to do besides work and get by as best she can?"

  • While the OP deserves credit for working hard as a single mom of three, the majority of AITA Redditors agreed that she crossed the line.

    As one commenter summed it up, "Your daughter is not another parent or someone you should lean on. You could have mentioned that you weren't sure what to do and left the door open for her to either offer financial assistance or advice, but all you did was basically ask her for her money, which she worked hard for, and probably doesn't even feel like a valued human being in your life."

    Here's hoping the OP gets the message.