As any parent knows, raising children is not easy. It is especially difficult once those children get to their teenage years. Boundaries are pushed and sometimes parents have to push back in order to enforce the rules that are in place for a reason. One mother and son recently had a boundary-pushing encounter with each other that ended up going viral on accident.
Mother Heidi Johnson had found that her 13-year-old son Aaron had lied to her recently about completing some homework assignments that she had asked him about. Aaron had just recently become popular and the site Youtube and started making money, which led to him becoming distracted. He cited his “work” as a reason why his homework did not get completed. In fact, he had begun to feel a little more entitled to things now that he had started making a little money from his job. Heidi decided to nip that right in the bud before it grew any bigger.
Heidi decided since Aaron wanted to act like an independent adult, then she was going to treat him like one. She drafted a letter in which she spoke to him like she would to a roommate and left it on his door. She posted the letter to her friends and family on Facebook, not realizing her settings were set to public. The letter went viral being shared over 160,000 times.
In her letter Heidi told her son that since he threw it in her face that he is making money now, he is more than welcome to buy back the items she has bought him in the past. He is also welcome to pay towards rent, internet, food, and electricity if he would like to have those items as well as his lamps and light bulbs back. She also detailed a list of chores she expects from him, or he will be charged a daily maid fee if they are not complete. She ended the letter telling him that whenever he decides that he would like to be her child again, rather than a roommate, she would be happy to renegotiate those terms.
Heidi said that Aaron read the letter, crumpled it up, and left to take a walk. She knew that after he had processed it and calmed down a bit that they could have a better discussion about their situation. She was right. Her son came back an hour later and the two worked together to draft a contract that gave guidelines as to what was expected from Aaron around the house as far as chores, doing his homework, and other tasks. Heidi and Aaron managed to work through their issues and resolve them without raising their voices or resorting to anger. Heidi managed to stay calm and come up with a way to reach her child in such a manner that would get through to him without threats or punishments. This is definitely a parenting style to be applauded.