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“I Woke My 15-Year-Old Up at 2am to Clean Up the Mess He Left in the Kitchen to Teach Him a Lesson”

There is nothing more infuriating than coming home to find that your family have used every pot, plate and piece of cutlery you own, and left them strewn around the kitchen for someone else – you – to clean up! One mum decided she’d finally had enough of her 15-year-old’s midnight kitchen capers when she returned home from a work function at 2am to find a mess. Instead of cleaning it herself or going to bed and leaving it until the morning, she decided to get Jack up out of bed to clean the kitchen and wash up the dishes he’d so kindly left for her! But, her husband didn’t agree with how she’d dealt with the situation.

My son Jack (15) is a late night eater. He will go into the kitchen around midnight make food and leave the kitchen a mess. It’s a problem we thought we got him to clean up by now. It’s awful to wake up and the kitchen is a mess. I hate it. He has plenty of quick food but wants a hot meal so he is making spaghetti at midnight. I don’t get it

I went out for a work function and when I came back at 2 am the kitchen was a mess. He won’t clean up after himself so I woke him up and had him clean the kitchen and do the dishes. He came back form school and we got in an argument about him being tired and how I can do the dishes if it bothers me.

My husband thinks I am a jerk also and I don’t know at this point. Is it seriously that hard to clean up after yourself.

The comment section was full of praise for the woman’s parenting choice

NTA. You tried other methods. Now he loses sleep if he doesn’t want to do what he’s supposed to. Sucks your husband isn’t on your side. His fatigue is related to the choices he made and the consequences of those choices. (November-8485)


But Jack is well on his way to becoming one with the help of your husband.

Jack will eventually go to college and cohabitate, or he might decide to move in with some friends or a romantic partner.

Jack does not want to be the lazy asshole leaving messes behind for people to clean up.

Jack also needs to learn some respect because unless he somehow gave birth to you, unsure why he feels comfortable enough even allowing his mouth to tell you “if you don’t like it you can do them yourself”

In what world does a 15 year old who doesn’t pay a mortgage or support that house even think he can speak that way to you? Even after asking repeatedly for him to clean and he didn’t, when he finally faces some consequences- he has a fit?

No. (NeighborhoodShort607)


Nta. He’s 15, plenty old enough to understand consequences for his actions. (Relevant_Birthday516)

NTA. Him telling you that you can do it if it bothers you tells me that he still needs to work on being considerate. The fact that your husband agrees with him is a bigger problem. (South-Negotiation-26)

NTA – Your son is clearly the asshole here and I think you have to do things like this to bring him back around. I would do the same thing.

A few years ago I rented a room out to a guy who was about 20 years old, he was always leaving things in the sink which was inconsiderate and annoying. One day he left stuff in the sink and went to work. I then took all the dirty dishes out of the sink and put it on the floor next to his bedroom door. He was very unhappy but didn’t do it again for a few months. After a few months he left stuff in the sink again and I put it next to his door again. I don’t recall him doing it again after that. (RandomA55h013)


NTA. I was leaning a bit towards E.S.H as sleep is important, especially for students, but he brought this on himself. It could have been avoided if he cleaned his own mess on time. If you’re not too tired to cook, you can damn well clean up after yourself. (BearCavalryCorpral)

That’s called good parenting.

I only wish you could check the kitchen every night and keep doing this until he learns to clean up after himself.

NTA (Dana07620)

Other people thought that maybe the father’s misogynistic views were rubbing off on their son.


I am curious if your husband thinks cleaning up the kitchen is your job. Maybe your son got his attitude problem from his father?

Is it feasible for your son to cook himself some meals to freeze and then he only has to microwave them at midnight? (Purple_Paper_Bag)


This comes off as kind of sexist like that it’s your job to do these things. Does your husband agree with your son that you should have done them since you had a problem with them not being done? Why exactly does your husband think you are a jerk? (TheBlueLady39)

NTA, you have a male chauvinist problem. You need to sit the boys (husband included) and tell them how real men act. This is not ok. (Igottime23)

But, not everyone thought that the mother had made the right call, suggesting that it was too extreme to deprive him of sleep when he has to get up for school.

Waking him up at 2a on what sounds like a school night is pretty questionable parenting behavior IMO.

It would be more reasonable to have him wake up 15 mins earlier than usual, and to do the cleaning then. Or deduct from his allowance.

Sleep is a part of health and a basic need. Punishing with interrupting a kid’s sleep seems like an emotionally immature power move. (Severe_Cress2089)


ESH. He does not need to be acting like that- he’s old enough to do his dishes if he’s old enough to cook with them. That said- if he’s hungry enough to want to eat in the middle of the night I’d suspect given his age he’s about to have/is having his last growth spurt, which means he’s desperately in need of food, and so long as he learns to clean up after himself it shouldn’t matter what he eats. His behavior needs to be adjusted for sure, but while the parenting strategy of dragging him out of bed at 2am might feel satisfying, it is one of those things that does more to soothe your temper than actually accomplish what you want. He’s not five, and responding to discipline issues with the same strategy parents use on a five year old will only cause more trouble. School is more important than dishes, even if it feels better to parent him with a stick than with a carrot. You gotta figure out a punishment that isn’t going to leave him nodding off in algebra class. (Jennysparking)

What do you think? Was this an example of good parenting or did she take things too far?

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Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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