In July 2020, surveys found that 52% of young adults live at home with their parents. This makes sense since many people in this age group were negatively affected financially by the pandemic.  Not having to pay expensive rent is a great perk. However, the unemployed son in this situation seemed to take advantage of living with his parents. But when his father tried to enforce some rules, he fought back and mom took his side. So the father went to Reddit to ask who was right?
AITA For setting “unreasonable” rules for when my unemployed son moved back in?
“My son (23M) Chris just graduated college,” the OP begins his post. He explained that Chris used to live away from home but moved back when he couldn’t afford rent anymore. Four months passed, he’s still unemployed and the father explained that his son “adds to our expenses and hasn’t started working and doesn’t help in any capacity. In other words, he’s become a burden.”
However, his wife wasn’t on the same page. “I talked to my wife about how Chris has been lazy and mooching off of everyone lately and suggested giving him the push he needed to start counting on himself as an adult. She gasped saying how dare I imply we kick him out but that wasn’t what I suggested.” So he told Chris “he’s expected to either start working and help around the house or move out”. Additionally, he set out some rules:
The Four Rules
“A. No counting on us to do basic tasks and start doing his own laundry and wash his own dishes.
“B. No complaining about what’s for lunch/dinner and accept and be grateful for the food he eats.
“C. No wifi more than 6hrs a day just like his younger sister.
“D. No luxuries like Netflix subscriptions and youtube live streams unless he somehow pays for it himself.”
At first, Chris thought his father was joking. When he realized he wasn’t, he “blew up complaining about how ridiculous and unfair my rules were and reminded me he’s not a child anymore but I told him child or not, as long as he lives under my roof then he’s expected to follow the owner’s rules.”
Afterward, Chris got his mom to intervene on his behalf. “She blew up telling me to get rid of these unreasonable rules and that I should be ashamed of myself for treating my own son as an unwanted guest. I refused and told her she was enabling his unacceptable behavior and that Chris still has a chance to turn his situation around if he doesn’t like it.”
Overall, the Reddit comments sided with the father.
As the top comment read, “NTA. ‘I’m an adult, don’t treat me like a child. That being said, please buy all my food, clean up after me, and make me whatever food I want while I watch Netflix because I’m your special boy’.”
Many comments believed the mother enabled Chris’s immature behavior and his unemployed status. “Your wife is doing him no favors by not holding him accountable either. He won’t be able to care for himself when he does move out… The best thing she can do is teach him how to cook, clean, and do laundry, you know basic life skills.”
However, many comments took issue with the WiFi rule. People asked if the unemployed son was actively job-searching, because limiting WiFi could damper that. Plus, he could be using it to communicate with friends or be productive. Assuming the daughter is still in school, six hours of WiFi is very reasonable, but less so for someone at home all day. Many pointed out that this rule seemed infantilizing, which is counterproductive to the overall message for the son to act like an adult.
As one commenter wrote, “I think limiting wifi use is a bit eeeh, since it’s one of those things that’s more or less required for everything these days, from job hunting, education, and actual work itself. But if he’s using it in a way that hampers everyone else, restrictions and rules make sense.”
“Talk like adults”
A few people commented that although most of the rules were reasonable, it was a bad move to try to enforce them behind the wife’s back. That was bound to fail based on her and the son’s attitudes. Similarly, some comments argued that the OP should have communicated more with his wife and his son and why he’s unemployed.
As one said, “Instead of treating his son like a little kid, maybe he should attempt helping him. Talk like adults. It’s only been 4 months. Maybe the son doesn’t know what to do next. Maybe he’s burned out from school. Don’t know until you talk it out.”
Despite agreeing with most of the rules, many commenters ruled YTA or ETA. As one surmised, “I agree that setting some rules is definitely fair, but look at the way OP talks about his family. He calls his son a burden, goes behind his wife’s back to set rules without having a proper discussion about it and implies that he’s in the right because he’s the ‘breadwinner’ of the family. OP is definitely an asshole.”
While it’s impossible to know the truth based on a short Reddit post, we can still hope that the family worked out their differences and came to a solution beneficial for everyone. Especially one that sets up Chris for a bright and responsible future.