Parents are typically expected to pay for their children’s education until they are financially independent. But does this mean that parents have no say in their children’s academic decisions?

A netizen recently asked, Am I a jerk for saying I won’t pay for my daughter’s education if she switches her major? Here’s the full story for you to decide:


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As said in the title, last night OP sat his daughter down and told her that if she switches her major he will cease her tuition payments.


What Does She Do

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OP’s daughter is currently a freshman in college. She has just started her first semester and he’s the one paying the bill. OP had been saving for over 10 years to do this and he is happy to do it, as long as he feels she is actually setting herself up for success. 


High School Reference 

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During high school, OP’s daughter fell in love with computers.

She took every class she could on programming and computer science and declared that her major when going to school. OP supported her through all this because he thought this is what she loved and felt it set her up for a good job after school.


What Happened Yesterday Morning?

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This last week she was on fall break so she came to stay with OP over the weekend after spending a few days at his ex’s house. 

His daughter, yesterday morning, decided to casually drop that she’s planning on changing majors. OP was shocked by this and asked why and what she was changing too. She is planning on switching to the liberal arts program.

Now OP knows the major is the go-to punching bag and it feels cliche, but he was honestly a little shocked by how casually she acted about this. 


OP’s Concerns & His Daughter’s Say

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When OP tried to understand why she was switching, all he got was that she all of the sudden hates computer science and has made multiple friends who are majoring in LA.

Apparently, she has been talking with the councillors up there as well and they along with her friends have all recommended she switch majors.


What Did OP Do

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OP tried to ask her the regular stuff like “What about your future”, “How do you plan to get a job”, etc. And she decided to ignore him and tell him that it was none of his business and that she was an adult.

This angered OP. He’s the one paying for this. He feels he has a right to know and not be blown off like that. 


What Happened Last Night?

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He thought over it all day, and so last night he sat her down and told her that while yes, she is an adult. OP is the one paying for her education, and he won’t be paying for her to get what is in his opinion a worthless degree.

OP told her if she doesn’t want to do CS that’s fine. But she needs to put more thought into the change and find something that she enjoys AND can get her a career. And if in the end, she decides that she’s an “adult” and she wants to be a liberal arts major, she can pay for it like an adult should, with her own money.


What Does OP Say?

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OP says, “This did not sit well with her. We fought and she left saying I’m trying to control her life with money and am being a major jerk.

My ex called me up after and told me that I’m no better than a dictator right now and that I’m using her college fund as a ransom for her to do what I want. All I want is for my daughter to have a good life and job prospects. Am I the jerk here?”


Your Concerns Sound Reasonable 

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“It sounds like you don’t care what she majors in as long as she has a plan. That seems entirely reasonable.” Said one. 

“came here to say the same thing. my dad paid for my ridiculous college major (folklore and mythology), but I always stayed very clear and open about what the plan was and what kind of jobs I would be pursuing

your major doesn’t have to dictate all you do. Outside my major, I got experience through clubs and internships gaining a lot of valuable and more marketable skills. there are many ways to set yourself up for a college career.” Another added. 


The Problem Is She Doesn’t Seem To Have A Plan

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“Not the jerk here’s why:

You asked her what her plan is with the degree. Before, when it was CS she had a clear plan on what she was going to do, what classes, and where to go in life, good. Now she wants to do LA, nothing wrong with it. But she has no clear plan on what to do with said classes or degree. Her first response was she’s an adult and MYOB. If she wants to be an independent adult let her be. She can take out loans and support her lifestyle. 

You saved your time and money for your daughter so she can be happy with her life. The money isn’t there for her to blow in whatever she wants. It’s for her future. What happens during sophomore, junior or senior year when she realizes long-term this isn’t what she WANTS and the advice she listened to isn’t cut out for her? 

In the end, it’s up to you, but fair warning: **your relationship with her is at risk if she’s only focused on the money**” 


Have A More Constructive Conversation 

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“I’m going out on a limb and saying no jerks here. I do think it should have been approached better though. Like a proper sit-down, calmly discuss concerns and ask her to lay out her “plan” for you.

I can’t call you the jerk because honestly, I wish my parents did something like this for me. But now I’m 32 with a useless degree, a very specific and not at all versatile skill set, and a ton of debt that I’ll struggle to pay off over a long period. I didn’t know better in college.

College was just something you “had” to do, the next natural step, so I did it. I picked the only thing I really liked at the time and thought no more about it. No one ever really taught me how important it was to do more research before deciding, I was raised in a sheltered household where “anything is possible if you follow your dreams!!!” That’s great and all but I was never taught to be realistic, I was sheltered and naive to what adult life was actually like.

I guess calm down, list out your concerns and what you’d like to see her think about, and see if you can have a more constructive conversation and let her know it comes from a good place, you just care about her future and her ability to have a good life.”

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.

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