Parenting can be extremely complicated. In most cases, people learn how to parent from what they witnessed from their parents. Consequently, if their parents weren’t the best and they don’t realize it, they probably won’t be the best parents to their kids. Eventually, a kid will grow up and realize their parents are out of touch and break the wheel of problematic parenting. Typically, this kid either has sensational self-awareness or a great support system outside of their immediate family. Regardless, the breaking of the wheel is typically ugly.
Our friend, “Sean,” is well aware of how parents who weren’t raised well can be. Sean’s parents “treated him okay as a kid but things changed as soon as he was in his late teens.” As is the case with most adolescents, Sean was given more responsibility around the house. Sean was also expected to pay his own way as soon as he finished high school, including rent to his parents. This isn’t entirely uncommon, especially in households where finances are tight. However, Sean’s parents “wanted a lot more in rent than what he would have to pay for his own apartment.” This is where Sean discovered how ugly breaking the wheel can get.
At first, Sean didn’t want to poke the bear. He calculated how much his living expenses would be including his parents’ desired rent payments. He quickly discovered “he would have next to nothing left of his monthly paychecks if he gave them what they wanted.” Sean “refused to give them more than a fair amount, plus a share in utilities.” He “started buying his own food as well.”
All in all, it seemed like a fair tradeoff. Less rent for him equals less utility and food expenses for his parents. Unfortunately for Sean, his parents weren’t interested in fairness.
When Sean informed his father of his alternative plan, he openly responded, “That’s not good enough.”
Sean thought his father was just being a tough negotiator. He quickly realized just how out-of-touch his parents were when they “filed official paperwork to evict him when he didn’t cater to their demands.”
This made the decision for Sean a lot easier. He “left home and got an apartment with his best friend.” Sean being thrust into independence actually worked out well for him. He kept a consistent job and “five years later, he bought his own house in a neighborhood not far from his parents.”
It was a modest “manufactured home on a small property.” Certainly not the home Sean wanted to spend the rest of his life in but it was “so cheap he couldn’t turn it down.” His mortgage payments were cheaper than the rent payments for his apartment.
Sean “even moved in his best friend to help cover the bills.” By many accounts, Sean was very successful. If his parents were trying to teach him to swim by throwing him into the pool of adulthood, they succeeded. Unfortunately, the success of their son was never the goal.
When Sean first showed his new house to his parents, they looked furious. After a couple more visits to his house, things only got worse.
It all started with comments here and there from his parents about how “it wasn’t fair Sean was doing better than them” and how “he was rubbing his new house in their faces.”
While their manufactured home was smaller, had one less bedroom, and had a smaller yard, it wasn’t much of a step down from Sean’s new place.
“Not that either of us had any grass, it’s Arizona after all,” Sean added.
Things finally escalated when during one visit, Sean’s father demanded to trade houses with him.
“We Raised You So You Owe Us”
It was such an outrageous request, Sean’s roommate burst out laughing. Sean couldn’t help himself and joined in.
His dad, on the other hand, was dead serious. He responded to the laughter, “It’s not funny! Give me what I want!”
Sean regained his composure and retorted, “You and mom aren’t entitled to my house or anything I own for the matter. Please get out of my house.”
After their confrontation, Sean didn’t speak to his parents much. He continued doing well but his father, on the other hand, not so much.
Sean’s father was laid off and struggled to find another job. He wound up “working at the local Walmart before getting a better paying job.”
Sean “did get a kick out of seeing his dad there when he was shopping for groceries.” He did clarify, “as much as he resents his dad, he won’t call him a bad employee.”
Thankfully, he didn’t bother Sean while he was shopping. However, after hours, Sean’s parents constantly called him asking for money. It would have been one thing if they were really struggling and needed help from their son but this wasn’t the case. Sean’s parents acted as if they were entitled to their son’s money.
They often said, “We raised you so you owe us.”
Sean being self-aware, always responded, “If you didn’t want to pay for a kid, you shouldn’t have had one.”
One day, Sean’s mother called him to ask for money to repair their broken air conditioner unit. These calls were normal, as Sean grew used to his parents asking him for handouts. The fallout, on the other hand, was quite abnormal.
“As Luck Would Have It”
Sean responded, “I’m not giving you anything. That thing has needed to be replaced since I lived there but you and dad don’t take care of your house.”
His mother argued, “Well you have two in your house! The least you could do is give us one!”
Sean retorted, “Maybe if you and dad spent less money on Bud Light and who knows what you would have money to repair it! I’m not giving you any money! End of story.”
Only it wasn’t the end of the story.
A few days later, Sean arrived home from work and found his house had been broken into. “His front door locks were drilled out and both of his AC units were gone. Nothing else was stolen but they went out of their way to make a huge mess for some stupid reason. Probably to make it look like a typical robbery or something.”
Sean “knew it had to have been his parents and called the police.”
Sean told the police “he heavily suspected his parents because they acted entitled to his stuff, even though he was a grown man who didn’t live with them.”
He went with the police to his parents’ house and “sure enough, they had both of his AC units going in their windows.”
When they confronted Sean’s parents, “they obviously denied the theft. Then they claimed they already owned the AC units.”
Even though “statements from the neighbors said otherwise, his parents still denied the theft.”
Sean had bought both of the AC units used online when he first moved into the house so he had no receipts for them. He had “to look for witnesses in his own neighborhood.”
“And as luck would have it, his neighbor across the street had security cameras.”
The cameras caught Sean’s “parents showing up in his father’s truck. Sean could clearly see his father walking with a cordless drill in hand. Shortly after, Sean saw him walk back to the truck with his AC units. Then they went back in to ransack to the place.”
“With this evidence, the police had cause to arrest his parents.”
To Sean’s disappointment, “At first, they both acted as if they had done nothing wrong.”
Sean convinced the police to let him do the talking. He told his parents, “You can either return my AC units to my home and clean up the mess you made or I can have the police arrest you. You’ve already stolen from me, lied to the police, trespassed, vandalized my house, broken my front door locks, and there’s incriminating video evidence of it all. If I press charges, you’re going to jail.”
His parents “looked deflated” and asked Sean for a moment to talk things over in the bedroom. He could hear the shouting from outside, including his mother calling his father an idiot. His father somehow tried to blame the whole thing on him.
“About five minutes later, they came out looking even more deflated.”
They said, “We’ll return the AC units and stop bothering you for money if you don’t press charges.”
Sean added, “On top of that, you’re going to buy me new front door locks and give me handwritten apology notes.”
They agreed and the police brought them back to Sean’s house. Sean “let the two cops sit and watch them clean everything up while drinking sodas. They said it was very entertaining.”
After they cleaned up, Sean sat them both down with papers and pencils and “told them to write apologies to him for what they had done.”
His father was furious and told Sean he “was treating him like a child.”
Sean responded, “You’re acting like a child.”
“He then kind of snorted and started writing. His mother wrote out a good apology. But his father was pretty passive-aggressive in his letter. Sean didn’t care. It seemed to kill his father a little inside to have to do it. He left without speaking to Sean. His mother said she was sorry, and she would leave him alone, then followed after his father. The two cops said they thought the whole thing was hilarious, and then thanked Sean for giving them an excuse to take a break while on the job before leaving.”
Sean purchased his own security cameras shortly after the incident.
Thoughts From The Author
I honestly found this story to be sad more than anything. Although Sean’s parents breaking into their son’s home is completely outrageous, the fact they thought it was okay is really concerning. As I said at the beginning of the story, their parents probably raised them a lot worse than they did Sean and they thought their level of entitlement was normal. I completely understand parents wanting their kids to assume at least some financial responsibility when they’re able to but trying to take advantage of your kid is just wrong.
Sean, on the other hand, is going to turn out okay. He accepted the responsibility given to him by his parents as he grew up but had enough intelligence to realize when they were overstepping. This was an extremely difficult situation to navigate because naturally, he wanted to trust his parents. Sean realized something was up when he compared how much his parents were charging him for rent. His parents immediately proved him right by evicting their own son.
Also, what in the world did they think was going to happen when they broke into Sean’s house? Did they think Sean was just going to say, “You know what, they’re right. They do deserve my AC units because they brought me into this world and raised me?” Absolutely not. Sean’s comment about his parents blowing money definitely leads me to believe they had some substance abuse issues that lead to a lot of their decision-making when it came to their parenting and subsequent crimes.