'Petty': Mom Making Teen Children Wash Their Own Clothes Sparks Debate

A mother's decision to make her teenage children wash their own clothes has gone viral and sparked a debate on how to better teach your children housework skills.

In a post shared on Mumsnet on Tuesday, the mother who goes by the username PangolinPie, explained that she expects her 14-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter to do their own laundry and hang it out to dry, and while her son is pretty good at it, her daughter is "atrocious".

"3 or 4 days ago she put a load on to wash which I moved, wet, into a basket and it has sat there ever since, mustering away. I COULD hang it up for her but there was no room on the dryer and anyway, she should do it, right?" she asked the Mumsnet community.

She then said that it would be easier to just give in and do their washing, especially for her daughter, who, incapable of fulfilling her mother's expectations, has started wearing pants more than once without washing them.

According to a guide by Good Housekeeping, some clothing items, like shirts, tights and blouses need more care than others, and therefore need to be washed after every single wear.

Other items, like pajamas, dresses, jeans, skirts and sweaters among others, can be worn up to three times before needing a good wash again. Sheets and pillowcases should be washed once every week.

The mother's confession divided the room, with some thinking it's a good way to teach your children basic chores, and others complaining that it borders on child neglect. One comment, from User135792468, read: "Yes, I think it's awful you can't be bothered to wash their clothes. Let's be honest, if it was to help them for their future, you would teach them and ask them to help occasionally. I think you're lazy."

Another user, Coughee, answered: "I feel like your daughter found your mumsnet account as that first reply was very teenagery! I don't think you're asking a lot. I do all our washing and it's not a massive chore so for one person to do their own washing is hardly onerous."

While some users, like Bananarama21, called the mother "petty" for not just doing a big family wash and helping her children, others pointed out how her parenting strategy is not very environmentally friendly.

RampantIvy commented: "It can't be very fuel or water efficient to have everyone do their own washing. I separate washing by color. If everyone in the house did their own washing the machine would be on several times a day instead of 3 or 4 times a week."

Other users chose to give their own advice on better strategies to teach kids how to do chores. HardRockOwl said: "I never understand these weird stand offs. Just pop her washing on? Or—if this really has to be a big learning tool for them—remind her that her washing is fine and would she hang it out? Some very odd parenting ideas."

BrieAndChilli said they think washing their clothes isn't the first chore they would choose for their kids of 11,13 and 15. Instead the entire family takes turns doing all kinds of chores except that. "They have to cook occasionally, lay the table, load the dishwasher, keep rooms tidy, empty all the bins, sort the recycling, put their own clothes away, weeding".

Messy laundry room
A mother sparked a debate when she confessed she expects her teenage children to each individually wash their own clothes. A stock image shows a messy laundry room. Getty Images