August 23, 2018

My son is angry because I can't afford the birthday gift he wanted.

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The following letter has been edited for clarity and coherence.

Dear AmoMama,

My 14-year-old-son wanted an iPhone for his birthday, and I couldn't give it to him. I am a single mother, and I work two jobs to keep us decently, living in a nice neighborhood, but the money doesn't stretch to everything.

A month ago he told me he wanted an iPhone just like his friends had, and I told him we couldn't afford it. He seemed to accept it but asked me to please see if I could swing it. He was so sweet, and I told him I would see what I could so.

I did try, but unfortunately, my car broke down and the repairs took all my reserves, and I had nothing left for the iPhone.


I bought my son a book I know he wanted and put $50 in an envelope for him to save towards his phone. I know my parents and his other grandparents always give him money and I thought he would understand.

He didn't. He was furious with me. He threw the book at me and tore the $50 bill in half. He called me a cheap bitch. He said I'm such a failure and that he wishes I was dead.

I can't believe my lovely boy has grown into this cruel person. I have failed completely as a mother. His values are so skewed. I have worked so hard, given him all I could, but it seems he has neither respect nor appreciation for my efforts.

How can I help my son? I don't want him to go through life like this, he will be bitterly unhappy. Has anyone out there any good advice for me? 

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