"Am I an A**hole for paying for my daughter to lose weight?" That's the question one concerned father has posed to social media after his wife labelled the idea "disgusting."
In a post to Reddit, the 53-year-old shared that he had grown "increasingly worried" about his 22-year-old daughter's weight. "It has gotten beyond the point of merely an aesthetic issue, and I have genuine concerns about her health," he wrote.
The dad explained that his daughter no longer lives at home as she recently started graduate school. "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," he noted, adding that he is happy to cover these expenses while she is in school.
"I have tried to speak to her about her weight, approaching it as delicately as I could," the dad continued. "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."
According to the poster, however, his daughter lacks the motivation to do so and struggles to find the time to go the gym.
"I suggested that if she started going to the gym, I would give her extra money," he wrote. "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."
At the moment, the father pays $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),' he said. " 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."
Unsurprisingly, opinions on the strategy were divided.
"No one ever lost weight/got off drugs/got healthy/broke up with someone bad for them/stopped drinking because someone else told them they should/paid them to," one commenter wrote, adding, "You have to decide for yourself."
Many focused on the need to address diet and not just exercise. "It's more important that your daughter looks at and adjusts her diet rather than just going to the gym all the time," one commenter wrote. "Nothing crazy like fad dieting, a crash diet, etc - Sustainable, long-term changes. Things like removing sugary drinks, portion control, and counting her calories and then sticking to it. Dieting is going to play a much larger role in healthy weight loss for her than time spent at the gym."
"I see nothing wrong with the arrangement that you both seem quite happy with," reflected another. $15 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."
One young woman shared that she had a similar deal with her own father - and consequently, is passionately against it. Not only did it affect her negatively long term, it also simply didn't work.
"I think your wife is right," she wrote. "My dad offered me a similar situation, I got to have a car, for free, if I lost weight, by a certain date. It made it very apparent that my father felt my body was not sufficient. I did not lose enough of the weight, and the car was not enough of a motivator to make me do so."
Ultimately, it damaged her relationship with her father.
"You can't undo what you've said, but you can address it in a positive and healthy way, and that's what I would suggest," she said. "I don't know your personal relationship with your daughter, but in the future, it's best not to address her weight unless she brings it up first, in my opinion.