Social media went into a frenzy of rage when this Michigan mom posted photos of her 6-year-old son doing household chores. From washing the dishes to cooking his meal, the Internet could not stop freaking out over this mom making her son do these mundane tasks. Isn’t teaching your children responsibilities a good thing? Learning to cook and clean definitely makes adults more self-sufficient. So why did people all over Facebook and Twitter freak out?
The mother who posted the photos was 16 and Pregnant star Nikkole Paulun, who decided she wanted to show her family and friends how important it is to teach children responsibility. She also wanted to also teach her young son, Lyle, that these everyday chores aren’t just “women’s work.”
Her photos grabbed the attention of so many people over social media that she spoke to ABC News about them, as well as her decision to teach her son to cook, clean, and do laundry. “I really just want to make sure that he grows up to be somebody who is self-sufficient and that he’s not considered lazy,” Paulun stated, adding, “He’s going to be a hardworking man. You can’t have that if you don’t start teaching then when they’re young.”
Romper.com had experts weigh in on the matter and showed research that claimed giving your children chores came with benefits, especially if they start young. A 2002 study performed by Dr. Marty Rossman, which followed 84 children into their mid-20s, revealed that those who began to do chores at a young age had better academic success, better early career success, happier relationships, and more independence.
However, some people were not pleased with the photos. Some of the nasty comments posted under her pictures claimed that she was making her son be her “slave” by doing household work she didn’t want to do. But Paulun defended her photos and decision for Lyle to do simple chores by saying that she does chores as well and her son helps her along the way. She also said that Lyle earns an allowance when he does his chores. Paulun, who is a single mother of two, told CBS News that her son enjoys helping his mother out. “He doesn’t argue with me,” she said. “He knows, ‘I have to do this,’ and he does it.’”
In one photo where Lyle is seen putting dishes in the dishwasher and making his own meal on the stove, Paulun mentioned that it is important for her son to “know how to do laundry” and “not eat take-out every night.”
“Because one day he might be a single man, living on his own, who will actually know how to do laundry and not eat take out every night. Because one day he might want to impress a significant other with a meal cooked by his own hands,” Paulun said, adding, “Because one day when he has kids and a spouse, he’s going to need to do his fair share around the home. Because I live in a generation of people who complain that school didn’t teach us how to cook, do laundry, tie a tie, or pay taxes … Because it’s okay to let your child be a child but still teach them lifelong lessons along the way.”
Other critics accused Paulun of setting a double standard because she wouldn’t teach her young daughter to do “men’s work.” Again, Paulun had to defend herself and stated that she will, in fact, teach her daughter how to do “men’s work” like change a tire or do yard work. She also told ABC News that she was raised by a single mother who knew how to do “guy stuff.” Paulun stated, “She taught me and she’s still teaching me.”
It is very disturbing how much backlash these photos have received. Experts have also stated that giving children chores is “great for self-discipline and for building their confidence.” Paulun concluded, “Remember parents, a man who believes he shouldn’t have to cook or do chores was once a boy who was never taught any better.”