Every parent makes choices they later question. Thank goodness we have Internet strangers to tell us when we really messed up. A mother posting under the name u/coolestthrowaway4 wanted the commenters on r/AmItheA–hole is she messed up by making her daughter sleep in a tent as punishment for verbally abusing a homeless man.
She says she raised her two teen daughters, Jasmine and Jessica, all on her own after their dad passed away. It was a struggle and they often lived paycheck to paycheck, but she managed to make a success of herself.
“Point is, I know how f—king 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,” she writes.
Mom was shown a video by Jasmine of Jessica “cussing out” a homeless man.
“‘Stop asking me for money, you’d earn it yourself if you weren’t so f-cking lazy and spending what you earned on substances,'” her daughter told him. “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 OP says she made her daughter find and apologize to the man, and pay £20 towards a room for him for the night. She didn’t think that was enough and told her she was spending a night in the yard.
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.
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 everyday like the homeless man. It struck a cord 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.
Mom was proud of her daughter’s change of heart and mind, but her sister found out about the unusual punishment and told the OP that she went too far. She wanted to know whether that’s true. Overwhelmingly, she was told no:
Sometimes a harsh lesson is the right lesson.