Saudi Woman Fines Children Who Skip Family Dinners

Women visit stands during a fair gathering families selling traditional crafts, clothes and food on January 20, 2016 in the Saudi Red Sea port of Jeddah. / AFP / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

JAFFA, Israel – Mona Yehya Yaman, a Saudi woman, has found an unconventional way to keep her nuclear family closely knit: She levies a 1,500 riyal (US$400) fine on her children and grandchildren who skip her weekly family dinner.

Her son, Ali, disclosed his mother’s methods in a speech he delivered while opening his ice cream parlor, and thanked her for her efforts to keep the family intact. She was given the honor of cutting the ribbon.

The story went viral on Saudi media, followed by the launch of the hashtag #Saudi_levies_1500_riyal_fine_on_skippers_of_weekly_dinner, leading many Saudi twitterati to reflect on the role of the family and ways to protect it.

“Thank Allah she’s not my grandmother, she’d have me bankrupt,” Gamdieh wrote.

“That’s a great idea, I wish we did it ourselves,” Nawaf wrote.

“Had my father done the same, he would have been the richest man on earth,” Osama wrote.

Another user disapproved: “Why does she need them there if they come reluctantly, and probably have their noses buried in their phones throughout. I wouldn’t do it. I’d want them to come because they want to see me, and if they don’t, they don’t have to come.”

Wasn was more impressed with the fine: “1,500 in one go, it’s not easy.”

“That’s a strange decision,” Taza tweeted. “If it is not motivated by your love for your mother, what’s the point?”

“Mommy, you know they won’t always pay, but you have a good heart and you sometimes forgive them, right?” another wrote.

“She must have become a businesswoman out of these fines,” Najlaa wrote. “She is probably a project manager or something.”