'Am I being too harsh?' Parents lock up daughter's 'designer clothing' after she was caught bullying

The girl said she feels like she's in prison.
The girl said she feels like she's in prison. Photo: Getty Images

Deciding on an appropriate punishment for kids can be difficult.

The parents of a 15-year-old girl are questioning their unique discipline technique after the teenager revealed to relatives it feels like she's 'in prison'.

Taking to Reddit, the dad explained his daughter, Lily, is an exceptional student and generally well-behaved. However recently, she was caught bullying another girl at school, prompting her parents to come up with a suitable punishment.

"Like my wife, Lily loves fashion, and has a huge collection of designer clothes," he explained. "We don't mean to spoil her, but she is generally well behaved and very academically talented."

The dad continued saying they offered her two punishments to choose from.

"One, no phone and no contact with her friends for however long we decide," he said. "Two, no nice clothes for the same amount of time. She chose the second."

"My wife padlocked her wardrobe but took out a few plain tracksuits and t shirts that she rarely wears," he said, saying his daughter was 'understandably very upset' about the situation, as she likes to dress up for even a '10-minute trip to the shops'.

The teenager loves fashion.

The teenager loves fashion. Photo: Getty/iStock

"She hates this punishment but still prefers it over the first one we offered," he said.

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However, the poster was shocked to learn just how much it was affecting his daughter after his sister rang him up to say that Lily has been calling her in 'floods of tears' about not being able to wear her clothes.

"Lily told her that she feels like she's in prison because she isn't allowed to wear what she wants," he wrote. "My sister said Lily had 'never sounded so upset'".

"She tried to say that clothing is an 'expression of her personality' and that Lily feels vulnerable and insecure in the clothes we made her wear."

The concerned dad explained that while they don't intend to stop the punishment, his sister's call made him question their approach.

"Obviously, Lily needs to be punished for what she did, but I don't like the idea of making our daughter feel upset and vulnerable," he admitted. "Was this punishment too harsh?"

Redditers agreed the punishment wasn't too harsh at all, with many of them saying if anything, it should have been harsher.

"Not being able to wear nice clothes for BULLYING A CHILD?? pshhh Y'all even let her PICK her punishment for f--'s sake," one user wrote. "Up your game dude."

"What kind of weak a-- punishment is this? This is how you punish a kid when they act out at dinnertime, not when they lead a lynch mob against someone who can't defend themselves," noted another.

Others were concerned the punishment did not relate to the crime. 

"The parents should find out why she decided to bully this individual, then teach her and punish accordingly. A random punishment that's not even related to what she did is not going to change the core motivations behind her behaviour," she one.

"You should make her write an apology to the victim of her bullying and educate her on the long term damages of being bullied."

The OP later commented to assured users having her clothes taken away wasn't the only punishment.

"Well, she's had to spend a week in the school's isolation unit (where the most disruptive and badly-behaved kids are sent), though that will end tomorrow," he explained.

"The school were also very clear that her academic abilities saved her, and that any such behaviour again will result in expulsion."