When a six-year-old boy whipped out his own wallet to pay for food, his mother decided to brag about his behavior online. However, others weren’t impressed. Instead, she was met with backlash and scolded for her “bad parenting” and the lesson she was teaching her young son.
Nikkole Paulun, a proud Michigan mother-of-two, strives to raise her children to become respectable adults, and her 6-year-old son’s behavior made her think she was on the right track. But, not everyone agreed. Although Nikkole was impressed with her young son, who whipped out his wallet and did something surprising for a boy his age, others thought it was an example of “bad parenting” as they questioned what Nikkole was teaching her son.
The controversy was sparked when Nikkole admitted in a Facebook post that her 6-year-old son Lyle is required to earn his own money by doing chores around the house. Then, he takes that money and does something that would melt most hearts. However, as the saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished,” and proving just that, his mother quickly received backlash for what Lyle did.
The young gentleman takes his mother out on a date and pays for dinner with his chore money. “Once a month my 6-year-old son takes me out on a dinner date,” Nikkole admitted. “He opens doors for me, pulls out my chair, talks about his day & asks me how mine was, pays the bill with money he earned by doing chores, and even tips the waiter/waitress.”
Nikkole was obviously proud of her son as she shared the story, along with a photo of him pulling money from his wallet to pay the bill, and she thought he was learning something important. “By doing this I am teaching him how to treat a lady & how to take her on a proper date. How to show that he respects the woman he loves (right now that would be mommy),” she explained.
The pair puts away their electronics and talks to one another during their date as Nikkole teaches Lyle about manners, the value of money, and how to treat other people — things many children and even adults lack today. “I’m teaching him proper table manners and that it’s rude to sit on your phone on a date,” she wrote. “He learns the value of money and how to manage it. He learns how to do math as we add up what we want and make sure we have 15% of it to leave for a tip.”
Although Nikkole admitted that Lyle “is young,” she believes “this is something he should learn now,” she said. “It’s never too early to teach your child how to properly respect others, especially women,” Nikkole added. “It’s extremely important to me that I teach my son how to show respect. Too many men these days have no idea how to treat women or how to take them on a nice date. It’s nice to know my son won’t be one of them.”
While many people applauded her, praising the way she was raising her son, there were those who condemned Nikkole Paulun for what she was doing, saying it was a bit extreme and sending the wrong message. “Can we stop imposing all these expectations on children that they must want to be in a relationship and it has to be heterosexual?” Saara Belliveau responded.
“Why not teach your son about cultivating strong friendships, or generosity to those that don’t have as much as him (volunteering with him, etc)? That’ll serve him better in his life than any traditional dating crap,” the frustrated social media user added.
Others said Lyle should be spending his money on candy and toys, not on his mother. Some even accused Nikkole of “controlling him” and told her she should let him be a kid. Another suggested a different lesson for her son. “She should also be teaching him how a woman is supposed to treat him. Men have feelings too,” Roscoe J Deering wrote.
Of course, there were plenty who came to Nikkole’s defense, telling her she was doing a good job as a mom and applauding her for teaching by example. Due to the immense backlash, however, Nikkole felt the need to defend herself, explaining that Lyle chooses to spend his money on her and isn’t forced to do so but rather enjoys it.
“He prefers to spend his money doing something special with me than to spend money on toys,” Nikkole explained. “He already has his game station, toys, and things he wants,” she furthered, listing things we can assume she provides for him in addition to clothes, shelter, and food.
“I give him extra money to be able to do this,” Nikkole clarified. “Having a special day for just us two is something he truly cherishes and looks forward to, as well as using his money to pay the bill.”
Indeed, it seems Lyle is getting a lot of bang for his buck, as he receives many things money can’t typically buy. Yes, he’s learning manners and how to respect others, but he’s also making memories and receiving his mother’s undivided attention.
All of that sounds like things our children could use more of. Although everyone parents differently, I can’t condemn Nikkole Paulun and her methods. It sounds like she’s trying to do a good job, and if Lyle is happy, why can’t we be happy for him too?