Dad Offers To Pay His Daughter Money For Every Hour She Attends The Gym
Being a parent means we sometimes have to bribe our children into doing something they may not want to. Who remembers offering stickers to their toddlers while toilet training or lollies to kids who promise to behave while out in public! Seriously, if you haven’t blackmailed your kids with something are you even parenting?
One concerned dad is doing a similar thing except his child is now 22 years old and struggling with her weight. So much so that the dad has offered to pay his daughter money each time she attends the gym.
You see it would work like an honour system – for every hour she worked out – her dad would pay her $15. The daughter lives away from home so the father is relying on his daughter’s honesty for the plan to work.
Writing his concerns on a discussion forum online the 53 year old dad is questioning whether his plan is a good one or whether it’s sending his daughter the wrong message. Here’s what he wrote:
I (53M) have grown increasingly worried about my daughter’s (22F) weight. It has gotten beyond the point of merely an aesthetic issue, and I have genuine concerns about her health.
She doesn’t live at home, as she recently started graduate school out of town. Our arrangement is that I pay for her tuition and rent, and she has a part time job that covers groceries, utility bills, spending money, etc. This works out well as I am happy to cover these expenses since she is in school. However, she often says that she wishes she earned more money, since she does not have a ton of spending money for leisure activities, clothes, etc.
I have tried to speak to her about her weight, approaching it as delicately as I could. She was actually quite receptive, and I could tell she was a bit hurt but she told me that she knew it was an issue that she should be addressing. However, currently she is not sufficiently motivated to do it, and is busy with her school and part time job so struggles to find time to go to the gym.
I suggested that if she started going to the gym, I would give her extra money. This is to serve as a motivator, but also for practical reasons as she can pick up fewer shifts at her job and have more time to go to the gym.
The deal is $15 per hour spent at the gym. This is working on an honour system since I trust her, and I did not think it would be appropriate to pay her by pounds lost (could encourage unhealthy eating and so on). My wife thinks this is a “disgusting” idea, but I think I am helping her by replacing her shifts at her job with “shifts” at the gym – and financially compensating this.
So, AITA (Am I The Asshole) for paying for my daughter to lose weight?
Is he the asshole? I mean, he’s offering the money so that his daughter can take less shifts at work so she can go to the gym. So in fact he’s doing her a favour, right? I mean I would love for someone to pay me to work out, wouldn’t you?
Lots of commenters agreed that the dad’s heart was in the right place and that his daughter should be grateful for his support.
“It’s nice that you’re so supportive and invested in your child,” one person remarked.
“Can I get in on this plan?” added another. “I’d love to get paid to workout!”
“I see nothing wrong with the arrangement that you both seem quite happy with,” said another. “Fifteen dollars is minimum wage age where I am, and so it makes a lot of sense to incentivize her with lost pay from the job. As long as you are not insulting or belittling her, which it does not sound like you are, then you are good in my book.”
While others thought this arrangement may cause some long term damage for his overweight daughter.
“Please please please please don’t do this,” said one person. “My mum has spent the last 10 years of my life trying to control my weight with bribes, with paying for a personal trainer, with all sorts. All it did was push a wedge between us.”
“I think your wife is right,” said another user. “My dad offered me a similar situation, I got to have a car, for free, if I lost weight, by a certain date. This situation has effected me negatively ever since. It made it very apparent that my father felt my body was not sufficient. Sure, I was receptive at the time he offered it like your daughter was, but only because I wanted the car, and because any other reaction felt inappropriate.”
“I did not lose enough of the weight, and the car was not enough of a motivator to make me do so,” the commenter added. “I personally think the motivation to change your body needs to come intrinsically.”
“The dad’s heart may be in the right place, but trying to fix a lifetime of unhealthy habits with a new gym routine is working from the wrong direction,” one person wrote. “The thoughts, feelings, and intrinsic beliefs she has about herself will still fuel damaging behaviour, be it continuing a poor relationship with food, or escalating to something else.”
And while exercise is a big part of weight loss an even bigger one is food consumption. It doesn’t matter how much you’re working out, if your diet is full of crap that weight ain’t going anywhere!
“You lose weight in the kitchen, not the gym,” offered one person. “It’s generally easier to create a calorie deficit through dietary change than through exercise. Going to the gym still has a lot of significant benefits, but it’s not necessarily sufficient for weight loss, depending on your diet.”
“Nutritionists are a hugely under appreciated resource, IMO,” wrote one person. “Not only can they work on a dietary and exercise plan with your daughter, they can act as a third party support system, and arm her with the info she needs to make healthier decisions going forward.”
The dad took the comments about the daughter fixing her diet on board and added on some extra information on his post. He let people know that he was well aware of her bad diet and hoped this arrangement would help with that matter also.
EDIT: A lot of comments about how her diet is the most important thing, rather than exercise. Which is definitely fair. We did also speak about her diet, but her lack of exercise is the facet that had the most clear barrier (lack of time and motivation) which is why that is what I am addressing. Hopefully her diet will improve as well, especially since she should have some extra money in her pockets for more expensive groceries from this arrangement.
What do you think? Is it ever a good idea to offer our kid’s money in exchange for them doing something like losing weight?