US mum's controversial parenting style, including paying rent at 16, sparks intense debate online

Mum-of-three Fawna shared an insight into her controversial parenting style in a short clip that has since amassed almost 700,000 views.
Mum-of-three Fawna shared an insight into her controversial parenting style in a short clip that has since amassed almost 700,000 views. Photo credit: @tru_n8v / TikTok

As someone who is not a parent nor has any experience with children, I don't feel particularly qualified to pass judgement on how others choose to parent their offspring. All I know is there's no one-size-fits-all approach, and funnily enough, parents are also imperfect humans who are very capable of making mistakes.

In the weird world of social media, there is a plethora of mums and dads who brave the brutality of the internet to share how they choose to parent their child - and yes, some methods can prove controversial, such as the mums who feed their babies rare steak or plan to breastfeed their bubs until the age of six.

One parent who has divided TikTok's opinionated band of child-raising critics is mum-of-three Fawna, who shared an insight into her controversial parenting style in a short clip that has since amassed almost 700,000 views.

As a parent, Fawna requires her children to pay rent at the age of 16 and allows them to swear from the age of 13 - as long as it's not "disrespectful" towards adults and the word is used in the correct context.

To preface her clip, Fawna, who goes by the username @tru_n8v on the video-sharing platform, said she was prepared to lose some followers or be on the receiving end of "some hate" for her controversial views on parenting. 

She then begins to outline four of the household rules her three children are expected to follow under her roof.

"In my house, at the age of 13, you're allowed to cuss, as long as you use it in the proper context and you do not disrespect adults," she started.

"And yes, you will say ma'am and you will say sir, you will be respectful.

"When my kids were little, I would get their breakfast and everything ready in the morning and yes, they would be taken care of, they were f**king fine, happy and healthy, but none of them are allowed to bother me, talk to me, touch me, nothing until after I've had my first cup of coffee," she continued. "And yes, they followed that rule and yes, they're fine.

"At the age of 16, they're required to get a job, a driver's licence and they have to start paying rent," she went on.

Fawna explained that the money they are required to pay in 'rent' will be put aside until they're ready to move out. At that point, she will return the money she has collected from over the years, so her children each have a "nice nest egg" already saved to help them stride into the big wide world.

"At whatever point they decide they want to move out, I'll return all the rent they've paid to me over the months or over the years, and they'll have a nice nest egg to start."

And Fawna's prediction was right - her somewhat regimented parenting style has proved divisive and attracted criticism from viewers, with some particularly nettled by the prospect of asking young teenagers to pay rent.

"The only thing I personally don't like about the rent thing is that as a parent it's our job to provide for them," one said. 

"I wouldn't start the rent until they were 18, especially if they played sports or did performing arts stuff and couldn't keep a job, or they'd have to put leave of absences in during certain times of the year," another pointed out.

"I disagree with the ma'am/sir thing and I also disagree with the rent thing, only because I think you should teach your kids how to save their own money," a third added. "Let them learn instead of forcing them to do so. I don't think that children should be required to have jobs."

However, many were overwhelmingly supportive of Fawna's idea to charge teenagers rent from a younger age, praising it as a "genius" way to set them up for when they move out and to teach them responsibility.

"I like the rent idea. Makes them responsible with their $$," one chipped in.

"Rent rule is genius," said a second.

"I like [the rules] and I'm a teen," a third added.

"My mom made me pay rent at 17 while sharing a room with my sister. She paid her bills with that, however, the best educational experience for me," another shared, with a fifth weighing in: "The rent idea is actually amazing."

Instead of charging rent, one suggested setting up a savings account  for the child and requiring them to deposit a certain amount of money into it on a regular basis. Others questioned how much rent Fawna would be charging her children and if they will be aware from the get-go that the money will eventually be returned to them.

Fawna's other rules were also applauded, with one user noting that her "early morning boundaries" are a great idea for parents to protect their "own mental health".

"My daughter is 14 and we let her cuss as long as she doesn’t do it excessively or disrespectfully to us," another shared.

"Trust me, parents know when you decide to cuss 'disrespectfully', they are very different contexts," assured another user, to which Fawna replied: "Facts!"

Fans of Fawna's tips have been calling for more content on her parenting style, which she obliged with a second video. In the follow-up clip, which has gained almost 25,000 views, she detailed "alarm clock training", getting them comfortable in the kitchen from an early age, and teaching the children to do laundry so they're self-sufficient with chores from the age of 10.