Ungrateful children cause weary parents a lot of frustration and fuel a fair amount of yelling. But if parents really want their children to understand what it takes to support a family, maybe they should send them a bill.
That’s what one Canadian woman did, and it seems to have worked out pretty well.
Son: ‘This was a very effective parenting technique’
A single mother of two in Toronto drew up an invoice addressed to “Unappreciative Son” for $39,254.17 after an argument with her 23-year-old son. It included a $1,000 charge for “Being an (expletive) and not appreciative of your mother’s support financially or otherwise.”
The man, Reddit user Chalipo, took a picture of the invoice and posted it to the social media site, where it quickly attracted hundreds of comments.
“I’m not sure if I’m proud of the fact that I billed him for being an (expletive),” Chalipo’s mother told Credit.com.
“Well, I was being an (expletive),” he said.
Chalipo has lived with his mother rent-free for a little more than a year while he and his girlfriend — who also lives at the house — save up to buy a place of their own. The invoice resulted from an argument about Chalipo helping his mother apply for a health benefit for his 22-year-old brother, who also lives at home.
Families have to apply for the benefit as a household, so the woman needed Chalipo to provide his social insurance number, which is similar to a Social Security number, to a company over the phone, but he said he didn’t want to be a part of it.
“I was refusing to cooperate, and my mom was just looking out for my brother, and I was being a little selfish,” he said.
Both sides acknowledge that the 23-year-old didn’t understand what was being asked of him at the time.
Frustrated that he wouldn’t contribute to something that the family needed, his mother decided to show her son exactly how much he benefited from living with her.
The invoice did the trick. Chalipo said he had no idea how much everyday bills cost. His girlfriend pays $300 in rent to live with the family, and the two of them buy their own groceries, make car payments and have auto insurance bills, but the rest of the expenses fall on Chalipo’s mother.
“I want to move out soon, but realistically it’s going to be difficult,” Chalipo said. He’s never lived on his own before but has been saving up. “She’s not going to make me pay, but the invoice made me realize we’re going to be set back awhile.”
The woman never expected him to pay the nearly $40,000 that she billed him, $23,000 of which was for five years of tuition payments and the rest of which are charges from the 13 months that he’s lived with her, including gas, water, cable, Internet and cleaning fees. Though Chalipo posted the invoice to the “funny” subreddit, he said he understood what his mother was going for, and it wasn’t humor.
“I don’t think the kids realize what the bills are,” the woman said. “I just think he needs to appreciate the bills that I pay.”
Chalipo said he understands now. After reviewing the invoice, he approached his mother and told her it was very effective and he understood her perspective.
“I expected him to say something sarcastic,” the woman said. If anything, her son’s response has been the opposite.
‘This was a very effective parenting technique, and it has helped me to realize (how) entitled I have been,’ Chalipo said. ‘It’s going to take a year or two to save up (to move out).’
He said that before he got the invoice, he thought he had a shorter timeline ahead of him.
“It’s just kind of a wake-up call for me to get with the program with the whole life thing,’ he said.
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