Parents can all agree that their children should grow up learning something from them before leaving their homes.
But parents can dramatically disagree about what is reasonable for their kids to learn, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Heresafishingrod had decided with their wife to have their teenage son cook once per week, so he could learn his way around the kitchen before growing up.
But when the couple was criticized and even called “lazy,” the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they were asking too much of their son.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for giving my teenage son adult responsibilities?”
The OP’s teenage son had a few responsibilities in his home.
“My son (16 Male) makes dinner for the entire family one night a week. My wife and I trade off the rest of the week.”
“He also cleans his room, does his own laundry, and cleans his bathroom.”
The OP’s mother-in-law was critical of the arrangement.
“My MIL (Mother-in-Law) is staying with us and is annoyed that we make our son ‘do so much.'”
“She said we are stealing what should be ‘the carefree years of his childhood.'”
“The bathroom he cleans is the shared bath for both his room and the guest room.”
“My MIL declared she will clean this bathroom now, even though she is a guest, because my wife and I are ‘too lazy’ to do it ourselves.”
“My wife tried to argue with her, but I convinced her to let it be, because if she wants to create work for herself, God love her.”
Their argument worsened at dinnertime.
“The issue is with dinner tonight.”
“My son was putting some stuff in the crockpot, and my MIL got all fussy and said she would make dinner if my wife and I are ‘too lazy’ to do it.”
“My son got upset because he was excited to make this dish.”
“So my wife and I booted her from the kitchen.”
“Now she is in her room, pouting and complaining about us on her phone to all my wife’s relatives, and she’s saying how we are terrible, lazy parents that robbed our son of a happy childhood.”
“Are we a**holes?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP and their wife were doing the right thing by teaching their son the basics.
“NTA Please teach more teenage boys how to cook and clean for themselves! Especially since he gets excited about cooking?? How freaking cool!!”
“Let grandma pout, who cares.” – hardpassyo
“At major holidays, my brothers and I are expected to be in the kitchen making at least a dish or two. Our mom does the long dishes that have to simmer or slow cook. We do the prep and bake ones.”
“We all learned to cook early on. And to do our own laundry. And we all cleaned the toilet.”
“Doing these things makes you appreciate when somebody else does them. It keeps you from just p**sing everywhere, because you know what it’s like to clean that s**t up. When you’re used to doing your own laundry, you don’t act like an a** and expect your SO (significant other) to pick up your boxers and wash your shirts.”
“In short, learning to be a responsible adult… HELPS YOU BE A RESPONSIBLE ADULT.”
“NTA, OP.” – kevwelch
“My husband never learned to cook (his mom always kicked him out of the kitchen), and when he was learning, he also thought cinnamon fixed everything.”
“He was wrong most of the time, though cinnamon in lentils is actually pretty good, we learned.” – EnvironmentalEnd6298
“Well-rounded adults! Amen!”
“Cook enough to survive (crockpot/instapot lazy cooking is amazing too).”
“Basic car maintenance (Check oil and other fluids. Tire pressure and how to change a tire. How to put cables on a car battery… my friend put them on the plastic bits once.).”
“Basic sewing skills for buttons or tears in clothes.”
“Man… all the stuff we used to learn in home economics.” – PolyPolyam
“I was raised by a single mother who worked her ass off, so I’m not trying to badmouth her at all, she was and continues to be an absolute bada**.”
“Growing up my brother and I didn’t have any chores. My mom likes things very clean and done her way, and has always just preferred to do everything herself. She would clean my room for me while I was at school or away with friends for the weekend. She wasn’t trying to spoil us, but rather just saw it as saving her own sanity.”
“I learned how to cook a few things out of my own desire to do so, but overall when I moved out of home at 19 I didn’t know how to do d**k.”
“I’m 36 now and I’m still not great at keeping my home clean, and I definitely think it’s important for all people to have those skills/habits as early as possible.”
“He likes cooking, and the cleaning he does is just basically cleaning after himself, so I don’t see what the problem could possibly be.”
“Teach kids how to do shit. NTA.” – fokkoooff
“You’re being what is called a good parent. You’re preparing your son to care for himself. He’s only got a few more years to learn important skills about living.”
“The fact he enjoys it is a testament to loving parents. You encouraged your son to learn how to take care of himself and his family.”
“If that makes you a monster, then roar baby, roar. Cheers.” – ThenExamination6073
Others were concerned about the mother-in-law’s (MIL’s) meddling in the situation.
“I’m wondering if grandma would have the same reaction if OP’s child was a girl. Would it be ‘so much’ for a teenage daughter to help out?” – RubyCaper
“More teenage boys should be taught to cook (and he’s excited about it!) and clean. So their wives don’t have to teach them later!”
“MIL sucks and you are great parents. Tell her to keep her crappy attitude to herself or pound sand. NTA.” – TA122278
“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with teaching your 16-year-old how to adult. You’re not ‘stealing his youth’ (drama queen much grandma??)”
“You’re showing him that he needs to clean up after himself, that regular cleaning is necessary, how to cook, and who else is going to clean his room?? At 16, the thought of my mother poking around my bedroom horrified me so it’s great that he does his own room. And trust me, his future partner will thank you too.”
“If MIL can’t respect your and your wife’s parenting choices, I’m sure she’s more than welcome to cut her visit short.”
“NTA, OP, and good on you and your wife.” – SheDidWhaaaat
“If anything, that sounds like a pretty light chore list to me. Those are skills he needs as an adult.”
“I’d say let your wife argue with her. It isn’t MIL’s place to interfere.”
“At any rate. By saying what to do in your own house. MIL is no longer behaving like a good guest. She’s overstayed her welcome. Time to give her the ole heave-ho.” – Velocityg4
“NTA… these are completely age-appropriate tasks that will greatly help him in the near future. Your mother-in-law needs to respect the house rules if she wishes to stay.” – RoyallyOakie
“Absolutely NTA. That’s great parenting right there! One day, this 16-year-old child will be an independent young adult.”
“Knowing how to take care of your space and cook are basic skills we all need to know.”
“Plus, it’s easier to teach them the younger the kids are. I had chores and learned how to cook/clean as a child and I wasn’t robbed of a happy childhood.”
“Your MIL is delusional.” – ConnectionUpper6983
“NTA and the world needs more moms like you. When he’s in an adult relationship in the future, he’s going to be capable of holding the equal weight in the relationship because his future SO won’t have to treat him like a child and tell him to do the chores around the house.”
“You MiL belongs on the JustNoMIL subReddit.” – redditrealitytv
“NTA. I love the idea you let her create work for herself.”
“It seems like you are bringing up a dependant and responsible young man, good on you. Especially if this is routine and he’s actually getting excited to make this dish.”
“Seems like your MIL is just upset things aren’t done traditionally. I believe this is amazing parenting and will help your son long-term.” – liltigerbee
The subReddit loved the idea of the OP teaching their son about these basic skills now while he was still at home and able to learn them before moving out. The fact that he was excited about cooking was an added bonus.
The subReddit was completely against the mother-in-law, however, who was alarmingly against her grandson learning any of these skills, some suspected because he was a young man and not a young woman.