Internet Defends Uncle For Giving Teen $1,000 Despite Parents’ Wishes

A generous uncle gained the support of thousands after revealing how — and why — he cunningly gave his 17-year-old cousin $1,000.

In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITEA**hole, Redditor u/Dangerous-Work6020 (aka the original poster or OP) complained about his cousin’s accident and described his attempt to turn the tide in favor of to turn the teenager.

Titled, “[Am I the a**hole] because I gave my cousin $1,000?” the post has received nearly 8,000 upvotes and 500 comments in the past day.

“My… cousin got the short straw,” OP began. “He is the oldest child in his family and his father and mother (my brother) force him to be the caretaker of his younger brothers.”

While he continued to explain that his cousin “has nothing of his own and has to share everything,” the original poster said that when the 17-year-old tried to land a summer job, he was immediately knocked out.

“His parents teased him about it because they can’t afford the camp for the younger kids,” OP wrote. “He was really devastated.”

The original poster also said he knew he needed to intervene at this point.

“I’m just a single person and I’m doing well financially,” OP wrote. “I asked him if he would make me a cake and lasagna (he likes to cook) and I would pay him.”

“He did a pretty good job and I paid him $1,000,” OP continued. “I was just looking for an excuse to give him money.”

“Later, his parents told me not to shiver” [17-year-old] $1,000 in cash and that was irresponsible,” added OP. “They asked me what he was going to buy and I said what he wanted.”

As families in the United States endure record inflation rates and rapidly rising costs of living, parents are forced to cut many items and services from the household budget, including summer childcare programs.

Last year, the American Camp Association reported that the average cost of a summer camp in the US was $76 per day for daytime programs and $172 per day for nighttime programs.

This year, those numbers have skyrocketed, rising to $178.49 and $448.53.

To combat rising camp costs, some parents have looked to their older children as viable substitutes, keeping teens with younger children for the duration of their summer vacation.

But while it’s cost-effective to rely on an older sibling, the lasting effects can be surprising.

When children are “aged” by their own parents, they often hold onto similar responsibilities well into adulthood, according to Psychology Today.

“Children who grew older often need inner child work”, Psychology Today collaborator Whitney Goodman claims. “They usually have trouble having fun and are easily drawn into the role of caregiver.

“Their value is often directly linked to what they can provide for others,” Goodman adds. “Structure usually feels safer to them than play or improvisation.”

Despite the long-term effects of caring for children, research published by the American Psychological Association shows that approximately 1.4 million children between the ages of 8 and 18 serve as caregivers for their siblings.

Teen with cash
Members of Reddit’s r/AmITEA**hole forum defended an uncle who devised a plan to give his 17-year-old nephew $1,000.
Motortion/iStock / Getty Images Plus

In response to the viral Reddit post, Redditors acknowledged the dangers associated with pushing children into parental roles and called out the brother and sister-in-law of the original poster for abusing their 17-year-old son.

“They Don’t Want Him” [be] can be independent because they would lose their free nanny when he turns 18,” Redditor wrote u/NikkeiReigns in the top commentary of the post, which has received more than 16,500 upvotes.

“Talk to his parents about parentification being child abuse,” Redditor added u/MariaInconnu. “And preventing him from working could be financially abusive.”

Redditor u/LouisV25, whose response has received more than 4,000 upvotes, also commented on the viral post’s financial implications.

“[Not the a**hole]they wrote. ‘It’s your money. You could take him to a bank and open a custodial account. It would be in his name [and] you would be the adult controlling it.

“That’s a good way to help him manage money and escape parentification,” she added.

In a separate comment, which garnered more than 1,500 votes, Redditor u/SagaciousSagi echoed that sentiment, but with an additional caveat and advice for the original poster.

“Make sure his parents don’t steal that money,” they wrote. “[Not the a**hole]but be wary of giving that much cash.

“If he wants something specific, give it,” she added.

News week contacted u/Dangerous-Work6020 for comment.

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