Mom Makes Daughter Sleep In A Tent Outside After Mocking A Homeless Person

When it comes to teaching our children life lessons, everyone has a different way of doing things. Some people believe in "harsh" lessons when it comes to teaching their children about how to be grateful for what they have. However, while some parents agree with harsh methods to teach important and powerful lessons, not all parents do.

Recently, one mom opened up on Reddit about her decision to make her daughter sleep in a tent.

Unsplash | Cristofer Jeschke

While some might read that and automatically think it's going too far to force a child to sleep in a tent outside, there is some background to the reason behind why this mom chose this specific punishment.

The mom explained on Reddit that she is a widow who has struggled a lot with being a single mother raising her children.

Unsplash | Micheile Henderson

"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 paycheque to paycheque but I managed to get a degree, become successful and we live well," she said.

For that reason, the mom was furious when she saw a video of one of her daughters speaking harshly and negatively at a homeless person asking her for money.

Unsplash | Ev

"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.'

"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,'" the mom said in her post.

The mom had a few different ways she wanted to teach her daughter a lesson in gratitude.

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"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," she wrote.

The mom set up a full tent and everything outside in their backyard.

Unsplash | Steve Halama

"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. She was reluctant to do it, but chose it over the option of not having access to her phone until the Christmas holidays are over," she said.

Her daughter did not do well sleeping outside in the cold.

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"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 would she 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," the mom added.

And, her daughter learned a really valuable lesson and it got her to change her ways.

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"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," the mom said.

Apparently, the very same day, the mother's sister came over and after talking, she told the Reddit user that her punishment was "far too harsh" for her daughter.

Therefore, the mom asked if she was "too harsh" for making her daughter sleep outside in the tent as a punishment for being so ungrateful and disrespectful to homeless people.

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Many people said that it was not harsh, as it taught the daughter "empathy."

"This. I would also like to point out that OP also gave her daughter a choice- either a learning experience or a punishment (losing her phone for break), and I feel like that made it even better. Her daughter could have ended up just resenting it if she’d been forced to sleep in the tent with no option, but because she chose it it had more impact," one person said.

Many people were quick to point out that the "punishment" was more of a life lesson.

Unsplash | Aarón Blanco Tejedor

"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," one parent commented.

Another Reddit user pointed out that the mom took precaution, as well, making sure the daughter was safe.

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"The proper cold weather outdoor camp gear and you staying within view from the garden window made this a safe way to teach your daughter some perspective. It worked wonders. Be proud of yourself," they said.

Others said that the "punishment" fit the "crime."

Unsplash | Joshua Rawson-Harris

"It does sound kind of extreme at first blush, but it sounds like it was proportional to her attitude. The money and the food bank did not do the trick of having her actually consider what it's like to be in that man's shoes, and clearly sleeping in a tent in the cold did," another user pointed out.

There were Reddit users who also felt her sister should "butt out" of her parenting.

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While the Reddit user's sister felt the punishment was "too harsh," many pointed out that it's "not her business" how the OP parents her daughter.

"Please tell your sister to keep out of your parenting," one user posted.

There were a select few Reddit users who felt the punishment was "wrong."

"You’re not teaching her empathy you’re just teaching her to do shit you want so you’ll leave her alone. she wasn’t making food for them because she “turned over a new leaf” she was doing it because you literally signed her up to do it," one person commented on the thread.

Many parents felt that this was a great example of parenting done "right," as it was a lesson and not a punishment.

"This is solid gold, fantastic parenting. Especially because you weren't trying to simply punish her, you were ensuring she experienced what it is she was abusing the man who was homeless for. It's such an important lesson. Sometimes even if we think we're raising empathetic children, it's hard to learn without experience. Also, you now know it worked out because of your daughter's reaction and thoughtfulness afterwards. Good for you, and good for Jessica. It's lovely to know there's a bit more empathy in the world now," one person added.

What are your thoughts? Too harsh, or a great way to teach a teenager a lesson?