Connect with us

Fed-Up Mother Wrote ‘Tough Love’ Letter To Her 13-Year-Old Son – Now It’s Going Viral For All The Right Reasons

Off The Record

Fed-Up Mother Wrote ‘Tough Love’ Letter To Her 13-Year-Old Son – Now It’s Going Viral For All The Right Reasons

Disobedient teenagers are typically punished by having privileges revoked, such as access to media, communication devices, clothing, and social activities.

A single mother named Estella Havisham had finally had it with her son’s behavior and resolved to take drastic action.

In 2015, she addressed her then-13-year-old son Aaron a letter in which she explained that if he persisted in showing contempt for her authority, he would need to take on more “adult” tasks.

Though some have complained that she was too harsh, the majority of people are in favor of her usage of tough love.

The letter depicted below served as a rude awakening for Aaron.

Dear Aaron,
Since you seem to have forgotten that you are only 13 and I’m the parent, and that you won’t be controlled, I guess you will need to learn 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 share of costs:
Rent: $430
Electricity: $116
Internet: $21
Food: $150.
Also you will need to empty the trash Mon, Wed & 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 would rather be MY CHILD again instead of a roommate, we can negotiate terms.” (1)

Inadvertently Going Viral

Originally, Estella hadn’t planned on sharing the photo of the letter online at all. She had intended to share it with only close relatives.

When she found out what had happened, she chose to leave it up because it was encouraging other parents to be firm with their own defiant teens. (1)

How to Raise Kids to Be Respectful

It’s not a simple effort to bring up children to be responsible, productive members of not only your family and community, but of society at large.

This is far more than just being a little tough on someone once in a while.


Children of all ages benefit from having clear and consistent rules and expectations put in place for them. They can learn the foundations of self-discipline through this.

For instance, if you insist that they do not watch television until their homework is complete, they will be better prepared for life without parental supervision in college. (2, 4)

In addition, you should have a plan for disciplining your kids if they break the guidelines you’ve set up. Like a warning system where the consequences for their actions are progressively harsher.

You must always stick to that method; there can be no exceptions.

If you punish children for breaking a rule on one day but not another, they won’t learn anything from it. (2, 4)

Acknowledge Proper Conduct

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of constantly scanning the horizon for signs of misbehavior, to the point where excellent behavior is essentially ignored.

Show your child or teen some love whenever they go above and beyond what is expected of them.

This includes being helpful to others, doing tasks without being prompted, and more. (5)

An easy “thank you” can go a long way toward making your kid feel like you notice when they succeed, not only when they fail.

“Thank you for clearing the table without being asked, it really makes my evening better” or “that was so kind of you to hold the door for that person, I’m happy I have such a thoughtful daughter/son.” (5)

Your expressions of gratitude need not be limited to words alone. If we have a habit of taking things away as a form of discipline with our kids, it’s only fair that we give them something back when they perform well.

These need not be fancy or costly either.

Reward them with small gestures that show you recognize and value their efforts, such as arranging a sleepover with their best friend or take them to the movies – little things that say “I see what you did, I appreciate it, and I want to reward you for it.” (5)

Lead By Example

Even at a young age, children start to imitate and copy their parents’ behavior and speech.

Being an example of the kind of person you hope your child will become—one who is respectful of others, works hard, and expresses their emotions rationally and clearly—begins with you. (2, 3, 4)

Show your children that you can be disciplined: “Today I was supposed to clean the kitchen, but I procrastinated. Now that it’s the evening, I have to clean it before I sit down to relax, even though I am tired.”

Consider this alternative:

  • If you raise your voice and scream when you’re mad, they probably will, too.
  • Your children will mimic your behavior toward others (such as customer service representatives) if you are rude to them.
  • Your children will emulate your messy habits if you don’t set a good example.

Keep an Open Mind

The prospect of being a parent is terrifying. You want to shield your child from harm and nurture their development into a good adult.

As a result, you may find yourself enforcing rigid rules on your child that leave little space for growth.

Give them a chance to show to you that they are worthy of more independence and freedom, and you will be rewarded with their undivided attention.

Children and teenagers, in particular, will fight against overly prescriptive rules that limit their freedom of choice. (2)

Give kids some instructions and tools to keep them safe instead than penalizing them before they’ve done anything wrong.

Let them know that they can always reach out to you, even if they are second-guessing themselves.

Do penalties lie in wait? Sure, but they can be in far more trouble if they are too frightened to even call you when things go wrong. (2)

Show affection before resorting to discipline, such as when picking them up from a party because they overindulged in alcohol and are now sick.

It’s unlikely that yelling at them while they throw up outside the car window would make much of an impact, no matter how angry you are.

The following morning, sit down with them and explain why their actions were reckless and potentially harmful, and then explain the consequences they will face. (2)

Spend Time With Your Kids

Spending quality time with your kids is important at any age, but it’s especially important while they’re small.

If you and your son share a passion of musicals, for example, you could make it a yearly tradition to see one together.

If your daughter shares your enthusiasm for the great outdoors, consider planning a camping or hiking trip. (2, 3)

Spending time with the children Having fun together is an excellent way to foster a respectful and caring bond between you and your partner.

Once trust has been established, they will be more likely to follow the guidelines you’ve established. (2, 3)

Promote Hobbies That Serve a Positive Purpose

Volunteering is one of the best ways to instill compassion and generosity in youngsters.

Volunteer with your kids as soon as possible and encourage them to do the same.

In addition to being a great way to bond as a family, this will also show your kids the value of thinking of others before themselves. (4)

The Bottom Line

Even if you’re the world’s greatest parent, your kids will still disobey you and get into problems from time to time

If you show your children love and respect and are willing to bend when you’re wrong, they will do the same for you.

They’ll have a rough patch in their teens, but they’ll grow up to be kind, respectable, and useful members of society.

Now Trending:

Please SHARE this amazing article with Family and Friends!

  1. This angry mum’s note to her teenager has gone viral and it’s easy to see whyWrites ‘Tough Love’ Letter To Her 13 Year-Old Son – Parents Everywhere Applaud Her.” Independent. September 18. 2015.
  2. Nine Steps to More Effective Parenting.” Kids Health
  3. 7 Tips for Raising Caring Kids.” Harvard
  4. How Parents Can Raise a Good Child.” Very Well Family. Katherine Lee. December 14, 2020.
  5. 7 Ways to Raise a Well-Rounded Kid.” Parents. Amy Capetta. July 14, 2015
Continue Reading
To Top