Who’s the Boss? Sorry, Kids. It Isn’t You.

Jeff Opdyke

I picked up my 14-year-old son from school two weeks ago. I smiled at him. He laughed…and then he got mad.
That morning, an orthodontist had slapped braces on my teeth. I smiled to show my son, who is just weeks away from getting his braces off. While at first he thought it was funny that Dad had braces too, he quickly realized I’d gotten the clear braces; his are full-metal jacket.
“How much extra was that?” he asked. I told him $500. “Why didn’t I get those? Why do I have to get the ugly braces and you get the ones that don’t look as bad?” He was miffed, and raised the topic again with his mom that night.
Later, as I thought more about it, I started to realize that something is wrong with this picture. Why does my son believe — no, assume — that he and I should spend the same amount of money on our respective braces?