Mum questions 'extreme' punishment to teach daughter a lesson: 'I'm second guessing myself'

The teen was distraught after spending the night outside.
The teen was distraught after spending the night outside. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

How far should you go when punishing your kids?

One mum is worried she went too far when teaching her 14-year-old a lesson about empathy by making her sleep outside in a tent for a night after she was caught abusing a homeless man.

"I am a single mother to two girls, 'Jasmine' (16F) and 'Jessica' (14F)," the woman posted on Reddit. "Their dad died when I was pregnant with Jess, and I had to work hard."

The woman explained that they struggled financially when the girls were younger, which made her even angrier that her daughter would act the way she did.

"I managed to get a degree, become successful and we live well," she fumed. "Point is, I know how f---ing hard it is to be at the bottom of society."

"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---ing 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 woman found the homeless man and made Jessica apologise to the man, as well as helping to pay for a hotel for the night for him.

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The mother said her daughter has 'turned a leaf' since the punishment.

Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The mother also signed her daughter up to volunteer at a Foodbank - and she had one last punishment in mind. The mother gave her daughter the option of taking her phone away until Christmas or sleeping outside, with the teenager choosing the latter.

"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," she wrote. "I slept in the room closest to the garden for that night, so I was nearby if anything was to go wrong."

The punishment struck a chord with Jessica, who was distraught after "waking up on a cold mat and get disrupted sleep due to birds". 

The mother was proud of her daughter for turning over a new leaf and happy the punishment had the desired effect - until her sister told her the punishment was "too harsh." 

"(She said) the £20 and the food bank would have done the trick, and I was acting irrationally due to my past," she stressed. "Now I'm second guessing myself."

But other redditers had no doubt the punishment was justified and congratulated the mother for her tough stance.  

​"Sounds like the apology and £20 wasn't enough," one person pointed out with hundreds others agreeing.

 "Walking a mile in their shoes taught her empathy."