Everyone parents differently, and one of the decisions they ultimately have to make is how responsible or dependent they expect their children to be.
Some parents adamantly say that kids are kids and should be treated that way, but others believe in giving their kids increased autonomy while enjoying their childhood in other ways.
One couple shared the responsibilities they expect of their children on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
But Redditor chasewhit2003 also pointed out some of the criticism they and their wife had received for their choices.
So much so, the Original Poster (OP), frankly, wondered if they were parenting wrong.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for having my children do their laundry?”
The OP and their wife made a decision together about how to introduce chores to their kids.
“My wife and I have 4 kids. Ages 6, 8, 10, and 12.”
“When they each turned 5 years old, we taught them how to fold and put away their own laundry.”
“My wife or I operate the machines, but the kids assist in moving the washed clothes to the dryer.”
“When done, they put the clothes into a basket, fold them in the living room, and put them away.”
“We believe that it teaches them a skill early in life, helps them appreciate honest work, and frees my wife and I from doing 8-10 loads of laundry a week that just get dumped in the floor.”
But not everyone agreed with the couple’s choices.
“When our friends and family found out, they looked at us like we murdered our children.”
“‘They’re just babies, they shouldn’t have to do that,’ they said.”
“We’ve never passed judgment on anyone for the way they raise their kids, and don’t understand all the hate?”
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 thought the couple was doing their children a favor.
“My mom viewed laundry as her domain, and would not allow me to touch the machines while complaining about doing all of my laundry. Also wasn’t allowed to touch the snowblower or any yard work tools.”
“You will be shocked that when I went to college I had no capabilities at all. I feel like I am still dumb when it comes to cleaning and household maintenance many years after.” – callingallwaves
“To add to this; my relatives never taught me how to do things like washing clothes or dishes. I asked repeatedly, but they couldn’t be bothered and felt that my school should be teaching me this stuff.”
“I had to learn from the internet, and of course there’s always going to be mixed information online. I only know the basics, and I really wish they had taken the time to teach me. I literally only just found out that you can clear a drain with a solution of baking soda and vinegar, instead of spending £100 getting someone out to do it.”
“Teaching your kids how to do laundry is an absolute blessing to them. They might complain from time to time – heck plenty of adults still complain about chores – but they’ll be thankful when they’re an adult and know how to function effectively within their own household.” – StifferThanAB***r
“For real, when I started college the first few months so many people (mostly guys) asked questions about doing laundry (i.e. settings and soap amount). I was flabbergasted, and if I were in their shoes, be embarrassed beyond belief.”
“I would iron/fold my own clothes at like 7ish, and have been doing laundry (like 100% using machine, etc) fully since I was in 6th grade. The last time my mom washed anything for me was a towel like a year ago, because she was doing a mass towel day and just grab them all from the bathrooms lol.”
“OP, thank you for teaching your children to be productive members of society.” – GrandTheftBae
Others shared their own chore assignments.
“I must be a terrible mom. I had my almost 2-year-old putting my socks and underwear in a basket for me last night while we were putting away clean laundry.”
“Don’t get me started on how cruel it must be for my 10-year-old to have to vacuum daily… and the fact my 5-year-old has to put the toys away at night. I must be oh so terrible!”
“Kids need to learn these things. No, it’s not their ‘job’ to maintain the house, but they should be able to assist in light household duties. They don’t have to do it perfectly, they just need to try.” – thatkob***h
“I started my kids at 4 by teaching them slowly how to fold. By 5 they were doing it by themselves neatly and they learned to put it away neatly so it wouldn’t undo their hard work.”
“Heck, both kids would insist on helping by moving stuff from the washer to the dryer (always supervised) and genuinely proud of being a ‘big kid’ that helps mommy.”
“Definitely NTA. It’s great to teach them a necessary life skill plus gives them a small sense of pride of ownership and appreciate being self-sufficient. Unless OP is whipping them like circus animals, the judgemental people can put a sock in it! (Lol couldn’t resist the laundry joke)” – OwlHeart93
“My almost three-year-old has been putting her laundry in the hamper and helping me switch from washer to dryer since she was about a year and a half. She loves it and it gives her a sense of responsibility.”
“I also have her set up her place at the table and clear it after dinner. She helps clean up toys when she is in the mood and plays with the dishes in the sink when I’m washing dishes. She even has her own sponge that she rubs on the dirty dishes.”
“Kids like to learn. Mine gets lots of praise for doing her tasks and helping, even if it is a hindrance at times.”
“OP is NTA.” – mimisiku_
A few didn’t criticize the couple, but they wondered if 5 years old was too young.
“You seem like a good parent.”
“While I would say 5 is a bit young for laundry, as long as you at least, like, supervise for a while or make sure any and all dangerous chemicals are out of reach, it should be fine.” – D**n_Crow
“I think that 5yos might be a little on the young side for folding/putting away. We started at age 7 for that, then at age 12, my kid was required to take over all responsibility for his own laundry.”
“But if you’ve gotten 5yos to fold and put away well enough for your standards, I will say that I am impressed.”
“And you’re doing good here.” – PurpleMarsAlien
Though the couple received criticism from their friends and family, the subReddit was overwhelmingly there to support the OP’s parenting choices. By teaching their children young, the couple was preparing their children for their future responsibilities.