Internet Divided Over ‘Mean’ Mom Making Her Teenage Kids Do Own Laundry

A mom-of-two sparked heated discussion around the topic of housework after revealing she has made her two children “responsible” for managing their own laundry.

Kids may not appreciate being given chores around the house but studies suggest these tasks can have a positive influence on their overall development.

This was perhaps best highlighted in a study published in the Australian Occupational Therapy Journal earlier this year, which saw researchers from La Trobe University quiz over 200 parents of children aged 5 to 13 on the topic.

A teenager and a woman with laundry.
Stock image of a teenager and a woman with laundry. A mom has sparked debate online after detailing how she has stopped washing her teenage children’s clothes.
Visivasnc/Getty

The parents were asked questions about what chores they have their children do, along with questions created to evaluate their kids executive functioning.

What they found was that the children tasked with self-care chores like making meals and other care chores like serving food to someone else were found to perform better academically. They were also more adept at problem solving.

In the case of the mom posting to Mumsnet under the handle WhoWants2Know, the decision to task her two kids, aged 14 and 12, with sorting their washing was one born out of frustration.

“Up until now, I have washed and dried all the clothes, folded them and put them on a separate shelf for each child to put away, which they forget,” she said.

“This summer, the piles have grown, and the kids dig through them and drag everything about. Then they can’t find their clothes and get angry at me because they can’t find what they want to wear.”

After the “millionth” argument about her “losing their clothes,” she told her kids she “didn’t want to do all the work” and proceeded to hand them each a laundry basket and some pegs to hang their clothes up with.

The move did not go down well with her two teenagers but their mom is unsure. “They feel like I’m being mean and making life difficult, but is it really that much to ask of teens?” she wrote. “I asked at work and one of my colleagues said her 20 something child still brings laundry home for her to wash!”

The conflicting advice received at work mirrored much of the discussion online, with Mumsnet users offering little in the way of consensus on when is best to hand over duties of this kind.

Catch21 said “I do the washing for my teens (eldest is 16). They’re responsible for putting their dirty clothes in the washing basket and putting away their clean clothes.”

KiraKiraHikaru, meanwhile, had an entirely different system. “My 8 year old brings her basket down,” she said. “My husband washes and dries it, then she takes it up and puts it away.”

NotContent offered a contrasting experience though. “I wash for my 16 year old but training her to bring down dirty things and put away clean stuff!” they said. “My mum still washes my things when I go and stay with my parents!”

Elsewhere, Thelonggame appeared to have developed a happy medium with their family. “I did all the household laundry until my girls left for uni, so they were 18,” they said. “But from teenagers they were responsible for putting laundry in the basket, or it didn’t get washed, and would hang it out/bring it in when asked and put their own clean stuff away.”

However, Thighdentitycrisis painted a vivid picture of what can sometimes happen if a teenager is left to sort their own laundry, commenting: “Mine was 16 I think- left it until everything was dirty, bedroom stank of unwashed teen clothes. It was grim. I have a feeling he still does that to an extent.”

Newsweek was not able to verify the details of the case.

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via [email protected]. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

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