Mom’s Tough Love Letter to Teen Son Went Viral and Parents Everywhere Are Applauding

I used to love to tell people, "If there’s anything in the world you want to know about, seriously anything, ask my son because he knows everything about everything.” I said it in jest, but the fact is, most parents have felt the profound frustration of dealing with teenagers who think they know everything. 

There’s something audacious about a child thinking they’re wiser and smarter than their parents they’re totally dependent upon. And when they start making their own money, kids can get a little edgier in their disrespect. And biologically, this is natural. They’re not setting out to be disrespectful deliberately. It’s their way of slowly starting to grow up and distance themselves from their parents. With that said, it’s no less frustrating for us as parents. After all, teens a hundred years ago would be looking towards working full-time and maybe even marrying by the time they’re 17 or 18, and in many cases, even younger. It’s a different world now and thankfully, most cultures have seen the wisdom of encouraging kids to grow up much more before settling into a life of work and family. However, like many things I can think of, the brain and biology are slow to catch up with society, so these biological urges for independence are still there.

As a parent, how do you handle it when your kid starts to demand independence to the point of being disrespectful? One mom who lives in Italy found a great solution. When Heidi Johnson of Venice, Italy wrote a "tough love” letter to her son, it quickly went viral. When her son started making a little money of his own, he apparently decided to assert his independence. Mom quickly pointed out to him that he was still quite dependent on her, but that this was about to change. In the letter, she pointed out that he would need to start contributing to all of the resources he uses in the house, including rent, utilities, internet, and especially food. He also would be required to start taking on equal household duties.


The story took off, with most parents applauding Heidi. Nothing about this letter is unreasonable or abusive. However, some folks still took issue with it, suggesting that she was being a bully or dictator and criticizing her for "publicly shaming” her son. She did a follow-up to the letter explaining that she meant to share it with friends and family, not send it out to the masses on Facebook. She also explained that he’s making money via his YouTube channel.  Here’s a copy of the contract she and her son ended up with. I don’t think this is unreasonable at all.



Everyone has a different parenting style. It’s best to find something that works for you and your family. A little tough love can go a long way. You can read her follow-up message with an explanation on Facebook.