The infamous Reddit AITA thread strikes again! And this time, an anonymous mom took to the forum to share a true parenting conundrum this week... and the internet has some strong feelings on the issue.
"I (34F) am a single mother to 2 girls, 'Jasmine' (16F) and 'Jessica' (14F)," the mom began by writing. "Yesterday, Jasmine showed me a video of Jessica cussing a homeless man out and telling him, 'stop asking me for money, you'd earn it yourself if you weren't so f****** lazy and spending what you earned on substances.' When the homeless man complained about the cold (we live in NE England), Jessica responded 'Yeah people camp for fun, even in December, you can't complain, you're living someone's holiday.' Fury was an understatement for what I felt, as I thought I had raised an empathetic daughter."
The mom was particularly hurt by this disgusting behavior as she's dealt with home insecurity in the past. She demanded that "Jessica pay for the homeless man's hotel room for the night, plus signed her up to volunteer at a food bank."
But then, the mom took her punishment a step further - and here is when things got controversial.
"I decided to take her up on her offer of sleeping outside. I locked her bedroom door so she couldn't go in, put a sign on it saying Closed for the holidays, pitched a tent in the garden and filled it with blankets and the sleeping bag I used when I was camping in Norway on a family holiday as a teen (aka really bloody thermal). I slept in the room closest to the garden for that night so I was nearby if anything was to go wrong. In the morning, she was crying about how horrible it was to wake up on a cold mat and get disrupted sleep."
While the punishment was harsh, the mom explained that it did seem to work. "This afternoon, I came home from work to Jessica making a big meal to donate to the homeless people who live on the road near our house. I was proud of how she turned over a new leaf."
The problem is, Jessica had told her cousin about the punishment and the mom's sister (Jessica's aunt) was not happy about it. This led the mom to second guess her punishment, hence taking to Reddit to ask whether she was in the wrong.
But as overwhelming as it seems, the internet was on her side.
"NTA, you sound like an amazing parent," wrote one. Another agreed, writing: "Not only did it teach her empathy, but you were able to teach her in a very low-stakes way. She isn't roughing it as an adult with no one to turn to. She is roughing it as a child who has a parent who would step in if it got dangerous. We teach our kids things so they grow up to be good people. The point of being a parent is to get these lessons across when you're still able to step in if it goes haywire. Hence low stakes. This is the best way to teach empathy, frankly. I will be using this if our children ever do something similar."
What do you think of this unusual punishment? Was the mom wrong - or did she teach a valuable lesson?