Parenting is a roller-coaster ride full of surprises. No matter how many children a parent has, raising each kid is like cruising on uncharted waters. Because each child is unique from one another, parents have to come up with versatile ways of handling and raising their children.
Some parenting ways may work for others, while some may not. Regardless, at the end of the day, no parent would wish harm to their child. And all of their actions are done out of parental love and concern.
One single mom reached her breaking point after her teenage son lied and was disrespectful. Sure, that’s not too surprising, as a lot of teenagers “have their moments.” But instead of just grounding her son and taking his phone – she decided to teach him a very big lesson in a unique way.
Heidi Johnson discovered her 13-year-old son, Aaron, had been fibbing about his homework. In return, the mom tried to restrict his internet usage, which got him upset. Aaron responded with tons of attitude and brought up how he “made his own money” (as a YouTuber). He then stormed out of the room.
So, frustrated Heidi picked up a pen and paper and wrote her 13-year-old son a letter. But it wasn’t just an ordinary letter – it was actually more of a bill!
“Dear Aaron, Since you seem to have forgotten you are only thirteen, and I’m the parent, and that you won’t be controlled, I guess you will need a lesson in independence. Also, as you threw in my face that you are making money now, it will be easier to buy back all the items I bought for you in the past. If you would like your lamp and lightbulbs or access to the internet, you will need to pay your share of costs.”
Mom then lists out the bills that she will want her son to contribute toward if he is adamant about being an “independent man” in the Arizona household. She asks him to pitch in just $116 for rent, an additional $21 for internet, and $150 per month for food. As any adult will realize, these expenses are very low compared to what they actually cost. However, mom was just giving her boy a reasonable option if he really did want to be independent.
“Also, you will need to empty the trash Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as well as sweep and vacuum those days. You will need to keep your bathroom cleaned weekly, prepare your own meals, and clean up after yourself. If you fail to do so, I will charge you a $30 maid fee for every day I have to do it. If you decide you would rather be my child again, instead of roommate, we can renegotiate terms.”
She concluded her perfect note with “Love, Mom” just to let it sink in that she is the one in charge and not the boy who has come into a little bit of money from his video uploads.
While most commenters seemed to be all for Team Heidi and applauded her efforts to discipline her son, there were some Facebook users who made it very clear that they did not agree with her tactics:
So, in response to her haters, Johnson recently posted a Facebook note on her wall, providing further background information on why she chose to write the letter and explaining the struggle of raising a 13-year-old boy. What’s more? She shared that her tough-love parenting philosophy did work after all:
I take no pleasure out of punishing my child; but I needed to make a lesson with a lasting impression. I needed for there to be a teachable moment in this belligerent chaos…Later that same night, he came back into my room and sat on the foot of my bed and asked if we could talk. He wanted to know how he could earn things back…He came home every day last week and we could check in with each other. If he didn’t have homework, he got right on top of his chores with maybe one reminder max.
According to Heidi, Aaron naturally wasn’t happy finding the letter on his door, and also discovering that many of his possessions had been taken. He immediately crumpled it up and walked off.
The mom made sure that both of them got some cool-off time (and there were some tears too). Heidi explained:
“…after about an hour, he had removed some electronics and items I missed that he felt he should have to earn back for his behavior. He apologized, and asked what could he do to make things better and start earning items back.”
That night, he did manage to earn some of his favorite clothes and comforter back.
It has been seven years since Heidi wrote this letter to her son, but the message still resonates. People are still reacting to, commenting on, and sharing Heidi’s letter.
Have you ever had to send your child a tough love message as Heidi did? How do you think your teenagers would react if they came home to find a note taped to their door listing chores and expenses?