Mom Asks If Making Her Son Eat Off The Dirty Dishes He Refused To Clean Was Too Harsh A Punishment

She gave him a taste of his own medicine.

teen boy using dishwasher Lena Ogurtsova / Shutterstock

A mother on Reddit is wondering if she went too far with a punishment for her son who refuses to do his chores correctly.

The mom explained that her 17-year-old son 'hates chores' and purposely does them poorly.

Sharing her story to Reddit, the 45-year-old mom explained that her family alternates chores.

"Cooking, dishes, cleaning common areas are all done by each family member on different day," she wrote, a family routine she says her 17-year-old son isn't fond of. "My son hates chores," she wrote. "It’s been a constant battle."


According to the mom, her son's handling of the dishes is so bad that the family can't even use them when he's cleaned them.

“He overpacks the dishwasher so the dish detergent can’t even get on the dishes,” the woman wrote. “It just catches on whatever pan he shoved in front. He also doesn’t rinse the dishes at all, so they come out dirty and caked in food. If we want to eat the day after he does dishes, we end up having to hand wash them.”

person putting dishes in the dishwasherPhoto: Nathan Dumlao / Unsplash


RELATED: Distraught Mom Asks For Sympathy After Being Criticized When Her Son 'Destroyed Everything She Owned'

When the mother tried to talk to her son about the issue, he simply deflected and claimed that “the dishwasher sanitized them.” 

The situation came to a head one night when she came home from work to find the dishwasher filled with dirty dishes. Her husband offered to hand wash the dishes they needed for dinner, which she agreed to — but told him to not wash any for their son.

She told her son that he’d be eating off of the dishes he had "cleaned."

“He went pale and started protesting that it was gross,” she wrote. “I quickly cut him off and reminded him that the dishwasher sanitized them. Hubby backed me up. If he wants to eat tonight, he will eat off his dishes.”


Despite his pleas to reconsider, she would not back down. Dinner went by quietly, but he left the table visibly upset. However, her plan worked after all. The next time he did the dishes, they came out spotless. 

Though successful, the mom questioned her punishment, explaining that her son was "still furious."

"I do feel bad now that it’s over and done with," she wrote, but noted that she's "just sick of the weaponized incompetence."

RELATED: College Student's Mom Drags Him To Police Station After Recognizing Him As Suspect In Armed Train Robbery

People overwhelmingly agreed that the woman was justified in her punishment.

People on Reddit agreed that she handled the situation as well as anyone could, and the results proved that her plan was a good one.


“You probably should have done this long ago,” one commenter said. “If he doesn’t experience consequences he’s not going to grow up and be less selfish, and he is at an age where this is not going to be typical or understandable behavior very, very soon.”

According to experts, the most effective way to discipline teens is to use natural consequences, or consequences that fit the infraction, rather than punishment, which is exactly what this mother did. 



And while you can expect your teen to be angry at the fact that they have to face consequences for their actions, child and adolescent psychologist Caroline Fulton, PsyD, told VeryWell Family that discipline is good for your child in the long run.


"It’s hard to see your child be upset when you enforce a consequence or tell them they can’t do something," Dr. Fulton said, "but having clear and predictable limits actually creates an environment of safety and predictability."

RELATED: Mom Refused To Let Daughter Use Her College Fund To Support Her Boyfriend — Now She Thinks She Was Too Harsh

Jonathan Alfano is a writer who focuses on news and entertainment topics.