Parents defend mom's "creative" punishment for teen son

Parents around the world are coming to a mother's defense after a letter detailing a "creative" punishment for her 13-year-old son went viral.

The mom wanted to teach her son, Aaron, a lesson familiar to kids his age: If you want to be treated like an adult, you have to start acting like one.

To make a point, she took away his clothes, comforter, Legos, stuffed animals -- even the lightbulbs in his room. If he wanted them back, he'd have to pay: rent: $430; electricity: $116; Internet: $21; food: $150. He would also have daily chores.

"I guess you will need a lesson in independence," Aaron's mom, who wants to be referred to as Estella, stated in a Facebook post. "If you decide you would rather be my child again, instead of roommate, we can renegotiate terms."

A screenshot of the letter that went viral on Facebook.
Estella Havisham

Estella told CBS News she came up with the punishment after her son walked in the door from school a few weeks ago and told her he didn't have any homework. Later that night, he ran into her bedroom, searching for colored pencils to "color something for school."

"That's it. You are not getting your computer, you're not going to have access to the TV," she recalled scolding him. "He sat at the end of my bed, and just started lipping off: 'You can't take that away from me. You can't control me.'"

The 13-year-old, who makes a few bucks here and there from his YouTube channel, fired back at his unemployed mom: "Well, at least one of us is making money!"

Estella, who has been unable to work due to health issues, said that was the straw that broke the camel's back.

"I wrote the letter to make a point on a lot of different things," she explained. "First off, you're my child, you don't get to talk to me that way. Secondly, you're treating me more like a roommate -- and not a very good roommate."

When Aaron read the letter, he stormed off, took a long walk and eventually circled back to his mom's room to apologize for his behavior: "I'm so sorry, mom. I'm really sorry. I was wrong. I was out of line. What can I do to start earning my stuff back?"

As Aaron completed his chores, Estella slowly began giving him his items back, including his precious Internet.

"I know that he knows it wasn't about making him pay money; it was about having gratitude," she said.

In the end, Aaron wasn't the only person who learned a lesson. Estella said she did, too.

"Don't be afraid to be creative -- think outside the box sometimes," she advises. "That's where I have the most success."

More than 160,000 people shared her letter and nearly 14,000 commented.

Some agreed, others disagreed with her parenting tactics. But in the end, both Aaron and Estella received praise.

"We need more parents like you," one Facebook user commented.

"I wish I were standing next to you. I would hug you sooo tight! And Aaron, kudos to you sir, for being mature enough to work with your mom on this," another replied.

Despite getting some harsh criticism online, the mom knows she made the right decision.

"My advice: You know your child best, don't second guess yourself," she said. "If you've made a decision for a consequence for your child, you know that's the right decision."