Would this offend you?

So, I was talking to someone early. They were catching me up on their kin. They were telling me one of their siblings isn’t paying child support, despite having the money to do so. I don’t want to get into particulars, but they have more than enough money to pay if. They’re choosing not to. I said what came to mind. That their sibling was a deadbeat. They got highly offended. They told me they don’t care if their sibling never pays child support. I’m not allowed to call their sibling a deadbeat. :eek:

So, this is my question to dopers. Would you be offended if someone called your sibling (of either sex) a deadbeat parent if they had the funds for court odered child support, but were choosinng not to pay it?

The term “deadbeat” seems to have shifted over the years. It used to refer to someone who was poor, unemployed, feckless etc. and had a serious negative connotations. Nowadays it seems it also has a much narrower definition in that it refers to a parent (usually a male) who can’t or won’t pay child support. Did you specifically call him a “deadbeat” or a “deadbeat dad”? I guess the latter may be factually correct but is still a bit unpleasant. The former is definitely an insult and I would be offended.

I think you probably could have been more tactful.


“What do you call it, then?”

I’d probably shrug my shoulders and say something like, If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck but I probably wouldn’t have said deadbeat in the first place. I have lots of practice smiling and nodding at stories of inane relatives.

Yes. Deadbeat is far, far, far too soft a term - sibling or not, if s/he’s doing that then s/he’s an arsehole, not just a “deadbeat”.

(oh alright- serious answer, no I wouldn’t, but only 'cause I’d agree that sibling was in the wrong)

I called him a deadbeat dad.

If the person you were talking to is so blase about his/her sibling NOT paying child support, I don’t think I’d care if he/she got offended or not.

Seriously, if one of my siblings were doing that, I’d be too embarrassed to be telling people about it.

Depending on how its said, it could be one of those, “I can call HIM that, but no one else better!” type things.

I guess if someone was sharing that type of information with me, I would just assume they were doing it to complain and that calling the sibling a “deadbeat” wouldn’t be wrong. However, if they were sharing that information but was offering some type of explanation for why it wasn’t wrong, then I’d probably keep my judgment to myself. Not so I don’t offend them, but so that I don’t waste my time arguing with them.

OK, I know nothing of US family law or U.S. child support customs but is there really no situation where a guy who does not pay child support is not a complete asshole?

What if she walked away from the marriage with more than enough for her and the child? What if she’s re-married to a billionaire? What if custody was contested, she won, and started refusing visitation? What if she’d gamble or drink it away?

I mean I know we can’t assume things that we don’t know about this situation, and we really do know very little (nothing) about this particular divorced couple, but I can think of several scenarios where I wouldn’t be handing over any money.

I can’t think of a situation where I would offer my opinion on someone’s sibling unless they specifically asked me to. In the OPs shoes, I would have just said something like ‘Oh, that’s a shame,’ and seen where the conversation led from there.

A parent here can not legally refuse visitation. Times when the non custodial parent can visit are in the divorce decree. Even if the non custodial parent is a psycho, they can still get supervised visits.

Any other concerns a non custodial parent might have should be dealt with through the court system. Not vigilante justice.


If you aren’t ashamed of the bad behavior of yourself or your family or friends, you deserve to be offended.

Instead of labeling people’s associates, attachments, spouses, etc… when they choose to reveal unpleasant inside stuff to me, I comment on the actions. (yeah yeah, hate the sin … I know).

That way, I haven’t called their unmedicated bipolar mate a monster. Things might get better.

As for the deadbeat dad sibling, I would probably have to comment. Hey, they brought it up, right? But instead of labeling the offender, I likely would have said something like, “Whoa, that’s not good. What reasons does he have? How does the kid fit in with those reasons?”

Or, I might have ignored it and chosen not to talk much to that person about deeper things, just keep it all superficial.

Said to me about my sib, would I have been offended? No. But I’ve had lots of practice dealing with how the world sees certain family members.

How well do you know these people? I’d definitely think deadbeat but I probably wouldn’t say it out loud.

Yes. But only the OP will know if this was some weird stealth brag or not.

This. If I had a deadbeat sibling, I wouldn’t be spreading the news around the neighborhood. I probably wouldn’t tell my friends, except, perhaps, my best friend. And I would think he was a deabeat anyway, so who would I be to argue?

You’re probably accurate in calling said parent a deadbeat but I’m not surprised that familial bonds would lead to the associate being offended. There was nothing to be gained by saying it so next time I’d hold my tongue no matter how justified I felt.

The question is not whether a custodial parent deserves to be paid money, as whether a non-custodial parent has the responsibility to provide for a child. The child’s right’s are (theoretically) paramount.

Oh, the OP. I’d think it was silly of the sibling to want to defend the brother, but would not make a fuss about it. Whether I say it aloud or not, the guy’s a deadbeat.

I second this.

There’s too many variables to say for sure, along the lines of Isamu’s comment. However if you were certain of your position, the diplomatic thing to have said is, “Hmm, I find it very hard to side with (your sibling) on this one.”

There’s so many other polite things that could have been said that I can understand the offense, but it would be a forgivable offense.