One of the most crucial roles of a parent is to teach their children empathy and respect for others. This is especially true regarding how we treat our homeless neighbors.
When one mother discovered her daughter had yelled and cursed at a homeless guy, she devised a clever punishment to teach her a valuable lesson. On the other hand, her family thought she had gone too far.
In a Reddit post, the mother of two revealed that after her husband died, she went through a severe financial struggle and believed she had reached rock bottom. The mother expected her daughter to have more empathy for the homeless due to this event, which she shared with her children.
As a result, she was taken aback when her 16-year-old daughter Jasmine showed her a video of her 14-year-old daughter Jessica ranting at a homeless guy who had approached her for money.
The mother was furious and determined that, in addition to making her daughter pay £20 for the man’s hotel room, she would spend the night sleeping outside in the cold. She gave her daughter the option of taking away her phone, but Jessica preferred sleeping in a backyard tent.
Jessica had much more empathy for what the man was going through after this event and decided to cook meals for the homeless on her street.
Everything appeared to be resolved until Jessica told her cousin what had happened, and then the mom’s sister contacted her to express her dissatisfaction with the penalty.
The mother then shared her experience on Reddit to see if other users thought she had gone too far. Continue reading to see their reactions.
You never want to see your children cause harm to another person. In her Reddit post, the mother stated:
“Jasmine showed me a video yesterday of Jessica cursing a homeless man and telling him, ‘stop begging me for money; you’d earn it yourself if you weren’t so lazy and spent what you earned on drugs.’
When the homeless man grumbled about the cold (we reside in the North East of England), Jessica replied, ‘Yeah, people camp for enjoyment; even in December, you can’t complain; you’re experiencing someone else’s holiday.’ Fury was an understatement for my feelings, as I had raised an understanding daughter.”
She went on, “I closed her bedroom door, put a sign on it that said “Closed for the holidays,” built a tent in the garden, and filled it with blankets and the sleeping bag I used when I was a youngster camping in Norway on a family vacation (aka really bloody thermal).
I slept in the room closest to the garden that night, just in case something went wrong. She was hesitant, but she chose it over not having access to her phone until the Christmas holidays were over.”
Things changed after that. The mother continued, “She was crying in the morning about how dreadful it was to wake up on a chilly mat and have her sleep broken by birds. After soothing her, I asked if she wanted to do it daily, like the homeless man. It struck a chord with her, and she burst into tears over her actions… This afternoon, I returned home from work to find Jessica preparing a large supper for the homeless folks on the road near our house.”
The woman sought second opinions because her family thought she was wrong to make her daughter sleep outside. “My sister felt that my punishment was too severe, that the £20 and the food bank would have sufficed, and that I was acting impulsively because of my background. I’m now second-guessing myself “She penned a letter.
The vast majority of commenters supported the mother’s decision. As one user put it, “The fact that the OP gave her kid an option between a learning experience and a penalty (losing her phone for a break) made it even better. Her daughter could have just resented it if she had been forced to sleep in the tent without a choice, but it had a greater impact because she selected it.”
Someone another wrote, “It appears to have positively impacted her attitude. The awareness that you could wind up in that situation yourself if just a few things went wrong works wonders for people. I must admit, I’m laughing at the ‘closed for the holidays part. That was quite amusing.”
Others even stated that, if necessary, they would do the same with their children. A third reviewer said: “It not only taught her empathy, but you were able to teach her in a low-stakes environment. She isn’t fending for herself as an adult with no one to turn to.
She is roughing it as a child with a parent who would intervene if things become unsafe. Being a parent means teaching these lessons while you can still intervene if things go wrong. To be honest, this is the finest way to teach empathy. I’ll remember this if our kids ever do something similar.”
Do you believe the mother went too far? What would you do if you were in this situation? Please let us know, and please forward this to any family members with teenagers.