The mom of a 13-year-old boy in need of some tough love is standing firm after a strict note she wrote to her son about discipline, respect and responsibility went viral on the internet.
Heidi Johnson posted a letter she wrote to her Facebook account for her friends and family in an attempt to vent some frustration and get a laugh out of a stressful situation with her son. She failed to set the post to “private” and was unprepared for the onslaught of negative comments she received calling her a bad parent.
The letter set some tough standards for the hardheaded teenager who told his mom he didn’t have to follow her rules and could live on his own now that he’s earning some spending money. Johnson’s letter spelled out that from now on her son would have to pay his half of the bills: rent, $430; electricity, $166; internet, $21; and food, $150. Furthermore, Johnson made it clear that her son had to do his share of the chores, such as keeping his bedroom and bathroom clean, vacuuming, taking out trash, and even preparing his own meals. A $30 “maid fee” would apply if he failed to perform the duties.
Johnson’s son was understandably upset when he read the letter and crumpled it up and threw it away. He stormed out of the apartment to take a walk and clear his head. When he and his mom had both settled down enough to have a productive discussion, the teenager reflected on his bad behavior and brought his mom some of his electronics. He apologized for his bad behavior and asked what he could do to try to earn the items back.
Although she was upset in the moment, Johnson said she wasn’t really serious about making her son pay his half of the bills. “It’s out there; and I am not ashamed of what I wrote … 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,” Johnson said in another Facebook post.
Since the letter went viral, Johnson said she and her son are getting along much better and he is earning his possessions back by acting responsibly. Johnson set down some non-negotiable rules, such as doing well in school, finishing homework before downtime, listen when talked to, use good manners, use respectful language, practice good hygiene, and do daily assigned chores.
“You know what … this hasn’t hurt our relationship. He and I still talk as openly as ever. He has apologized multiple times … and … he is trying hard,” Johnson said.