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'AITA for making my 12yo son take care of himself and his brother for a week as punishment?'

'AITA for making my 12yo son take care of himself and his brother for a week as punishment?'


"AITA for making my 12-year-old son take care of himself and his ten-year-old brother for a week?"

I came home about a month ago and caught my son yelling at his mom about his clothes. He was asking her how hard it was to make sure his clothes were cleaned. I took him to the laundry room and made him do laundry for the family. I taught him what clothes could go together and what should not.

My wife is a teacher and she works her a*s off to make sure we have a nice home to live in. She tells me what she needs me to do and I take care of it. Beyond my share of the housework I mean. Well, my kid needs to be punished and I thought of the best possible way to do it. I'm sending my wife to Mexico with her school friends over spring break.

I'm going to work from home that week and keep an eye on the kids. It won't be difficult because I'm putting the older one in charge of the younger one. He will be doing laundry, making breakfast and lunch for both of them and making sure the kitchen and dining room stay clean.

He said it's unfair to make him work over spring break. I asked him if he thought it was a full-time job to do all that I was expecting of him. He said yes it was a full-time job. I pointed out that his mother and I both have full-time jobs and still manage to do everything that he is whining about.

He called my mom to see if he could stay there for spring break. She tried to tell me I was being cruel to her poor baby. I asked her what exactly her and my father would have done to me if I had yelled at her for not doing my laundry? She said that it was a different time.

I said he could stay with her if she was willing to tell him, in front of me, all the punishment I endured when I lived at home. She said he could not stay there.

The internet shared their thoughts on the parenting technique.

miyuki_m wrote:

'He was asking her how hard it was to make sure his clothes were cleaned.'

NTA, but in addition to having him learn about the household tasks your wife normally handles, you also need to find out where he learned this behavior. Is he listening to i&^els on the internet? How could he possibly think yelling at his mother about his laundry was something he could or should do?

I think you have a deeper issue that you need to work on with your son. I also think if your older son has been exposed to misogynistic attitudes, you should make sure your younger son doesn't pick up on it, too. They both need to learn that women are partners, not maids, and that they need to pull their weight.

ETA: As parents, both you and your wife have a responsibility to teach your boys to be good citizens and good partners. If they are going to have successful, healthy relationships as adults, they need to learn how to take care of a household and contribute equitably.

Your sons should be completing household chores, not just during the week your wife is gone, but regularly until they move out. Assign age-appropriate tasks and rotate them so that by the time they move out, they have learned the skills they need in order to take care of their homes. I think your plan is a great start and I wish you luck!

shadow_dancr wrote:

NTA at all- In fact you're being a great role model & Dad (even if he doesn't thank you for it now and grandma is trying to guilt trip you).

YOU made it clear to us as the audience that you help with your share of the chores

(Hopefully) This likely means that both boys also have their share of age-friendly chores, if they don't yet- now Is the time to start! (For the younger- pick up toys, fold towels, put away silver ware, feed the dog, etc.) You can make chores or task cards to help break down each chore or room that says how to complete correctly.

Make age-appropriate ones for each out of index cards (can add pics for the younger one!) And give them a # of tasks or a room each day! They have been a great tool for my girl who is Autistic- 12 now & started at 3!

You're showing it is not okay to speak to his Mom with this disrespect and hopefully, during this week you reiterate that Mom has to do all of this on top of her full-time job, AND tell him to just imagine how she felt when he said that to her after her long day of work.

This one is a multi concern- (A) It concerns me that your son called his grandma to try to get around the punishment that had been given to him, that shows a lack of responsibility for what he did wrong, lack of understanding of what he did wrong, and lacks respect for your punishment authority

(B) Grandma was pushing against your punishment, and willing to let the punishment be set aside after it was communicated to your son- showing (to your son & you all) a lack of respect for both you & your wife. This is a problem & will keep happening until clear boundaries are set that undermining you as parents, or inferring you're being unfair won't be allowed.

(C.)Your wife deserves your mother's respect too and she should be appalled at the way your son spoke to his mom/ her daughter-in-law (telling him he said the crime he gets to do the time).

By setting clear boundaries with both of your sons & your Mother/ their Grandmother, making your son take responsibility for his words & actions, having your sons participate equally in the household chores & upkeep as people who LIVE IN THE HOUSE EQUALLY as we all should (cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, yardwork, etc.).

You being a caring & respectful husband who values his wife while knowing she needs time for herself (them seeing this too) - all of these things are going to combine into a great recipe for your boys being wonderful partners when they grow up. Well done sir 👏 👏👏👏👏🙌 🙌🙌🙌

Doormatjones wrote:

Loving that last paragraph and sentence. That's telling as far as your mom goes. I bet some people here are going to scream 'parentification!!!!' but one week as a punishment for how he's acting seems more than fair.

One could also agree with your comment about being an AH for letting it get that far but...I'm hesitant to call someone an AH when they're aware and fixing it so, NTA. Everything sounds fair here, and your Mom needs to stop being a hypocrite.

I think you are NTA at the moment, but a lot depends on how you implement this. I think it's very nice that you are sending your Wife on vacation for a week. And I do not think that the amount or nature of the responsibilities that you are putting on your 12-year-old are unreasonable - keeping two rooms clean, doing laundry, and making two meals for him and his younger sibling.

Keen_Eyed_Emissary wrote:

I do think that you should consider approaching this in a more educational manner than a punitive one, and to treat it as a genuine and earnest learning experience for your son, rather than simply a punishment. That might mean that you need to be patient and make sure he understands what the expectations are with the laundry; how it should be treated and taken care of.

He may need assistance with preparing meals and using the stove, and possibly help if he's making something with a higher level of complexity than oatmeal.

My only concern is that there might be a tendency to say 'too bad, figure it out' if he has a genuine issue with something. As long as you're willing to be patient and provide genuine instruction, I don't think there's an issue, and it could be real learning experience for him and his sibling.

It's unanimous, OP is NTA here, he's a parent doing his best to guide his son towards a different mindset. Hopefully, this week of responsibility helps show his kid just how much work it is to run a house.

Sources: Reddit
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