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Mom Sparks Debate After Charging One Child Rent While Paying For The Other

When parents have multiple children, it's common for them to be concerned that they'll end up showing one preferential treatment over the others.

And since this is something parents can easily do without realizing it, we can't exactly say this concern is based on nothing.

It's also true that those who received the short end of parental favoritism tend to develop a keen ability to recognize similar dynamics in other situations. So when the matter comes up, discussions about it can get pretty heated.

And that's likely why one mom's simple question on a parenting forum ended up attracting such a passionate debate.

As the mother tells it, her 17-year-old daughter (not pictured) has taken on a full-time apprenticeship.

Although she didn't specify which trade her daughter's going for in her post on Mumsnet, she did share that she's making the equivalent of $16,000 a year doing so.

Following some discussions about having her daughter contribute to bills and "how important it is to get used to not having your whole monthly wage to keep," she apparently decided to charge her daughter 25% of her take-home pay for rent, board, and gas.

At the same, her 18-year-old son has recently started university.

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And since she said that the grant he receives covers just two-thirds of his rent, she's been sending him money to help see him through his education.

This has led to a situation in which she is effectively taking money from one child and giving it to the other. In her words, "I’m really conscious of causing resentment from [daughter] who already suffers a bit with middle child syndrome and jealousy."

Once she laid out the situation, it seemed the Mumsnet community was split on whether she was right to do this.

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Some argued that due to the daughter's low wages and the fact that an apprenticeship counts as a form of education, she shouldn't be charging her daughter.

As one user put it, "An apprenticeship wage at that age is very very low and I’d consider her still in a form of education."

In the words of another, "I’m blown away you’re charging when she’s on £12k a year! Seems really mean and unfair."

At the same time, others saw the situation as entirely fair based on the circumstances that each child is in.

As one user said, "If a child is earning money and has disposable income, it is only fair they pay rent. If the other is still in education, then they don't."

But ultimately, other users might have found a solution that doesn't erase the discussion this mom had with her daughter, but also seems more fair to her.

As one person put it, "I'd save the money she gives you and give it to her when she is ready to move out as a nest egg she has built up, and add in an equal amount of the same value that you are sending to [son] to ensure it is fair."

The mom seemed amenable to this idea but didn't want to let on that this is what she was doing, likely because she wanted her lessons to stand without this expectation.

Of course, that also runs the risk of the daughter resenting her until she reveals where her money is ultimately going. But it was still regarded as better than if the mom just took the money outright.

What do you think of her situation? How would you handle it? Let us know in the comments!

h/t: Mumsnet