This mom’s genius response goes viral.

*Featured image contains photo by Kindel Media

There’s no handbook for raising children, and despite our best efforts, some kids can be a handful. It can be hard to know how to handle certain situations, and sometimes parents rely on their communities — in real life and online — to help navigate it all.

That’s why one mom’s response to her son’s rude behavior has gone viral. Not only are some parents applauding the letter she published, but they’re also taking inspiration from it.

Enough Is Enough

handwritten letter

Back in 2015, a mother named Heidi Johnson had enough of the way her then 13-year-old son was talking to her. She decided it was time to do something about it, so she wrote him a letter.

“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,” she wrote. “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.”

The mom then explained that if her son, Aaron, wanted access to lights and the internet (he was making money as a YouTuber at the time) he would need to start paying his share of the costs.

Johnson then listed out what she expected her son to pay:

Rent: $430

Electricity: $116

Internet: $21

Food: $150

She added that he’d also need to empty the trash three nights a week, vacuum and sweep, and clean the bathroom weekly. Going forward he was also responsible for cleaning up after himself and cooking his own meals. A failure to do any of that would result in a $30 maid fee daily.

“If you decide you would rather be my child again instead of a roommate, we can renegotiate terms,” she concluded.

Accidentally Going Viral

Johnson took a snapshot of the note and posted it to Facebook, intending to share it with her friends.

“The child is going to have a rude awakening today after the words he exchanged with me last night,” she captioned the post. “Not only will he find this on the door, but his mattress stripped, and the toys and clothes that I bought confiscated. He will have three options. Buy his own, rent his clothes at $3 a day, or renegotiate his terms of being a child. Mama’s done playing games and being a doormat.”

What Johnson didn’t mean to do was to set the post to public. But she did, and when she woke up the next day, she had more than 100 new friend requests. She was confused at first, but then when she saw some of the comments from people who supported her or whom she had inspired, she left it public.

“Stand proud as a parent, teach them from your experience and get respect.”

“It’s just that time in life, we all go through it to some degree. Stand proud as a parent, teach them from your experience and get respect, I love it,” wrote one person.

“More parents should try this, then the kids might have an idea of what it costs to live. Way to go,” wrote another.

Learning a Lesson

Not everyone agreed with the mom’s parenting style, but in the end, she said it made a difference. “When I ask him to do something, he does it,” she shared in the same post a week later.

She added that her son earned his comforter and some clothes back right away, even though she did leave him with some clothes, pillows, and sheets — just not the ones he would want to wear every day. She also explained that there have always been consequences to actions in her house, but things are changing as her son ages.

“As he gets older, he also gets more responsibilities because he is old enough to handle more. That seems to be where he wants to dig his heels into the ground more,” she continued. “He wants the perks of growing up without the responsibility that comes with it.”

In another update, Johnson explained that she hated having to discipline her kid like that, but that’s just part of being a parent.

“I take no pleasure out of punishing my child, but I needed to make a lesson with a lasting impression,” she wrote. “I needed for there to be a teachable moment in this belligerent chaos. I also knew I had to trust my instincts, as a mother who has known her child for 13 years, that I knew this was for the best and that we would work through it.”

It Takes a Village

Whether you agree or disagree with Johnson’s tactics, at the end of the day, we can all agree that parenting is hard, and no one ever really knows if they’re doing the right thing. What we do know is that we’re all just trying our best, and sometimes that is the right thing.

One of the reasons this story went viral is because of how Johnson took a stance and tried to parent her son. But another and very relatable reason this resonated with people is because parenting is hard and we all have to do things we don’t like when trying to teach our kids to be good people.

So the next time you feel alone or stuck as a parent, remember Johnson and her note. Because at the end of the day, all parents will have their ups and downs. But so long as you lead with love and trust your instincts, odds are you and your kids are going to be okay.