What did parents do before the internet? Now it is so easy for parents to check in with a community of other caregivers to see the best approaches to take while raising their children. This becomes even more useful for parents when they are in charge of teenagers, who are known to be rebellious and difficult to manage. One mom recently turned to Reddit to share a story about how she is trying to teach her daughters, ages sixteen and fourteen, to be kinder to people, including those who are out on the street because of homelessness.
However, the mom’s youngest daughter, 14, did not seem to take her mother’s lesson on kindness to heart. Instead, she acted cruelly to homeless people in her community, which caused mom to react decisively to put her teenage daughter in her place so she wouldn’t mistreat the homeless ever again.
“I (34F) am a single mother to two girls, ‘Jasmine’ (16F) and ‘Jessica’ (14F). Their dad died when I was pregnant with Jess, and I had to work hard. We hit rock bottom, and I was barely making paycheck to paycheck, but I managed to get a degree, become successful, and we live well. The point is, I know how [expletive] hard it is to be at the bottom of society, and my daughters know this, which is why I was livid at my daughter’s actions.”
Because the mother had struggled for years after losing her daughters’ dad, she hoped her daughters would be kind to other people who did not have it easy in life.
“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 [expletive] lazy and spending what you earned on substances.’”
The homeless man refused to take the abuse and confirmed that he was struggling financially, not with substance abuse.
“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.”
Mom was not willing to let her teen daughter treat this homeless man like dirt. She took immediate action.
“Along with finding the homeless man and making her apologize and help pay for a hotel room for a night for him (she paid £20), as well as signing her up to volunteer at a food bank – I decided to take her up on her offer of sleeping outside.”
Mom set up the punishment for her daughter.
“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).”
In the morning, it seemed like mom’s cruel punishment worked.
“In the morning, she was crying about how horrible it was to wake up on a cold mat and get disrupted sleep due to birds. After comforting her, I asked her if she would like to do that every day like the homeless man. It struck a chord with her, and she was crying over her actions, while even after the £20, she was rolling her eyes, and her apology was not sincere. 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.”