Heidi Johnson, a single mother of a 13-year-old, had had enough. Her son was rebelling against her “rules”, explaining that he was an independent person.
It’s a classic argument between parents and kids – the (definitely not grown) offspring start to feel they’re grown up and should be treated as such.
But this mom turned the tables to show him just want being an “adult” is all about.
How did her son react?
Well, the mom details the situation in a very heartfelt Facebook post…
After posting this on Facebook, she noticed the note went viral after receiving several comments and messages.
She clarified what happened and wasn’t put off by what online bullying came her way (of course, it’s the internet!).
I see that a lot of people have varying opinions on my letter to my son. It was originally intended for friends, but I clicked public on accident. It’s out there; and I am not ashamed of what I wrote. I am not keeping it out for likes, dislikes, or anything like that. People can feel free to read and take whatever they like from it. Though, I do feel like I may need to clarify a few things.
First, we make verbal contracts with our children all the time. “If you are really good and quiet in here, I will buy you a pack of gum as we leave.” “If you get your room picked up, you can go outside and play with your friends.” Contracts, bribery, tit-for-tat… whatever you want to call it, as parents, we all do some form of them.
In fact, the lesson worked and her son started earning his things back.
I know my parenting style doesn’t work for everyone. From the time he was little, I would have conversations with him on why behaviors were acceptable or not acceptable. I never just said, “Because I am the mom!” Some people didn’t like that. For me, I wanted him to understand it was a safety or respect thing. We never had to super childproof our house because he knew what he was allowed to touch, and what he wasn’t allowed to play with. I never had to worry about him playing with the water cooler or dog bowls.
I also get a child is going to be a child. A teenager is going to push their limits. They are in that developmental stage where one foot is starting to cross into adulthood, while the other is still firmly planted in childhood. He will be a legal adult in roughly 4 years. I cannot send this child into college or the workforce with the attitude of “I’ll get to it when I get to it” when a superior tells him to get a job done. That is the real world. I am even more forgiving than that. I will ask once.. and then give a warning. But when I am ignored time and time again, there are going to be greater consequences.
And people, let’s get serious! I am not going to put my 13 year old on the street if he can’t pay his half of the rent. I am not wanting him to pay anything. I want him to take pride in his home, his space, and appreciate the gifts and blessings we have.
I wrote him a “bill” to make a point. Nothing comes free. Someone is making a sacrifice some where down the line. When I realized he had lied to me about homework, I put time constrictions to his internet access. He, then, informed me I couldn’t control him. He was a free person. How dare I think I had any right to tell him what he could or could not do. He then decided to barge out of my room stating, “Well, I am making money now.”
She also listed her expectations for her son, because what is a relationship if we don’t understand what the other person needs from it?
1. Do you best in school! I don’t expect a perfect 100%, but I do expect that you do your best and ask for help when you don’t understand something.
2. Homework and jobs need to be done before you can have screen time.
3. Jobs are emptying the trash, unloading the dishwasher, throwing away trash you make in the kitchen, rinsing dirty dishes, making your bed daily, pick up bedroom nightly, and cleaning your bathroom once a week.
4. You must complete 2 chores a day. Each day of the week with the exception of Sunday had a room that we work on cleaning. He has to pick two chores for that room. For example, if it is the living room he can choose two of the following options: dust vacuum polish furniture clean windows mop the floor
5. Be respectful and kind with your words – no back talking, no cussing at me
6. Keep good hygiene.
7. Make eye contact when being spoken to, and be an active listener
8. Use proper manners.
In the end, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
“ And, you know what… this hasn’t hurt our relationship.
He and I still talk as openly as ever. He has apologized multiple times. He even removed some luxuries from his room that I missed.
And… he is trying harder.
Just because he is doing things better doesn’t mean he gets everything back in one grandeur leap of faith; he earns a little back at a time.”
Alright… so what do you all think? Have any thoughts about what’s going on here?
Let us know in the comments!