Every teenager experiences an “autonomous” stage. Even for a single parent, instances of contempt and disregard can seem utterly overpowering at the moment. It may be simple to joke about them in a few years.
Due to a “tough love” letter she sent to her son last week, a mother by the name of Heidi Johnson has recently attracted a lot of media attention. The 13-year-old seems to have lost touch with his roots following just minor financial success. Over 150,000 people have shared the photo and explanation that Heidi put on Facebook.
Estella Havisham decided it was time for a “rude awakening.” She posted the following note on her son’s door:
Since you seem to have forgotten you are only 13, 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/lightbulbs or access to the internet, you will need to pay your own share of costs.
- Rent – $430
- Electricity – $116
- Internet – $21
- Food – $150
Also, you will need to empty the trash Mon, Wed, and Friday, as well as sweep and vacuum those days. You will need to keep your bathroom clean 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’d rather be my child again, instead of roommate, we can renegotiate terms.
The son of Heidi made it quite plain that he was above discipline, accountability, and evidently respect for his hardworking mother before he was given the order. After growing tired of his aggressive demeanor, Heidi made the decision to demonstrate to him the differences between living as a roommate and as a child.
Naturally, Heidi’s son didn’t react well to the news.
“He came home, saw the note, crumpled it on the floor, and stormed out of the apartment. I have always encouraged him to take a walk when he is upset so that he can collect his thoughts so when we try to talk, we are able to talk, and not just yell at each other. I do the same thing- sometimes, I just need to walk away and collect myself. I am not above admitting that. He was still livid when he got home. He decided to stage a “sit in” in my room, where he did laugh at me and repeat, “Really? What are you going to do? You can’t take my stuff, etc”. He was asked to leave my room, and when he could be respectful, and I was more calm, we would discuss it further. He went to his room, and 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. He earned his comforter and some clothes right back. I did leave him some clothes to begin with, just not the ones he would want to wear everyday. He also had some pillows and sheets, just not his favorite ones.” Heidi added.
According to Today, some social media users accused Heidi of publicly humiliating her son and criticized her for being a horrible parent, even though the public post received primarily positive feedback from other parents who could empathize.
Kevin Weinberg, a social media user who disagreed with the mother’s methods, wrote,
“[You’re] shaming your child and doing something to him that will last for the rest of his life, You are a terrible mother and you should have your child forcibly removed from your home.”
Heidi told Today that she “can’t let the negative comments that others make hurt [her] or take them too personally,” and instead, expressed gratitude for those who were brave enough to agree in the midst of the backlash, admitting that it does make her “a little sad at times that moms are so quick to judge the actions of another mother.”
“I do appreciate that other mothers defend me, They are the ones that have either been there before themselves or are able to take a minute and walk around in my shoes,” Heidi said.
Soon after her letter to Aaron went viral, Heidi addressed the criticism in a follow-up article and gave some context for the “tough love” letter’s origins. Aaron had allegedly been lying to his irate mother about doing his homework and earning money from his YouTube channel. As she referred to herself as a parent who loves her child, she shared some of her own parenting views as well as the challenges many parents encounter when raising a teenage son.
Although she admitted to feeling the negative effects of having her post go viral, she said she was determined to have a positive outlook and denied having remorse over the post. Like her previous post, Heidi’s explanation was met with both praise and criticism, but she remained unfazed.
“It’s out there, and I am not ashamed of what I wrote, If you have learned something from an experience that helps you to become a better person, there is nothing to regret, I have to believe that some greater good can come from my mistake of making that post public,” Heidi said.
After posting the note, Heidi claims that she “spent several hours one evening compiling some tools and ideas that she could use” in an effort to lend the other mother a helping hand.
Heidi said, “My post seems to have opened a door, and people feel safe coming to me and asking for advice, venting, or even just have someone bear witness to their experience by listening and opening up and sharing a piece of myself in return.”
“I have made loads of parenting mistakes, just as we all do,” Heidi admitted, hoping to inspire others to do the same without the fear of being labeled “You keep trying keys until you find the one that unlocks the door to what will work for your child.”