School of Life Advice Day 25 Money-hoarding Dad

The Question:
I’m livid. My wife just spent a small fortune on our daughter’s high school prom dress. I know this occasion only comes along “once in a lifetime,” as my wife says, but I’m going to spend a “lifetime” paying for an outfit she’s only going to wear once! I suggested to my wife months ago that our daughter should get a job and pay for some of her clothing if she chooses to be extravagant. It caused quite a battle. I don’t mind paying for clothes but it always seems to be that they goes to the mall every other weekend like it’s a social occasion. I’d rather be putting that money toward college tuition, or our retirement! Doesn’t a dad have a say in this kind of thing? — DADDY’S PETTY GIRL

My Answer:
How did we miss the part is missing where your house was foreclosed, you are unemployed, broke, homeless and out on your lilywhites, in the street? Mortgage costs aren’t being mentioned either. Would your daughter, in this situation, take back the prom dress and get a job to help out? You know the answer. You have led her to believe she has a right to share in the good things the family has. Is she taking too much? Has her share been reduced? These sorts of negotiations regularly come up at annual meetings of the stockholders. Someday she will own the company and be the one to nix that gold-plated walker. Here we’re talking perspective. After the prom it’s time to disclose the assets in a sit-down session with all the members and full disclosure. It’s all about perspective. (Maybe screen The Solid Gold Cadillac)before the meeting. A film for the whole family!)
He begins with an extreme exaggeration: ‘A small fortune,’ putting into perspective all his other complaints. But perhaps wife and daughter are being extravagant despite his stinginess, (though there is nothing at all about poverty, here). It’s all about what is being purchased with what he seems to see as HIS money to be allocated according to HIS wishes. That ol’ control freak thing again that pops up when there’s a grasping parent involved. In the interests of full disclosure, no, I was never in such a situation nor am I now but unfairness is unfairness wherever it rears its head. Don’t tell me this is the FIRST time he’s complained about the cost of raising a kid, drumming what an expensive nusciance she is, over an dover throughout her childhood. Braces, outgrowing her shoes, class trips, allowances. This is set up to sound like an Archie comics situation between Veronica Lodge and her Dad but underneath it sounds a lot more like Silas Marner, (the BEFORE edition).

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